NEARC Fall 2016 has ended
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Technical Session [clear filter]
Tuesday, October 18


Technical Session. Unmanned Aircraft System Use [Drones] for Natural Resource Research and Management in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System
AUTHORS: Susan Bickford, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve

ABSTRACT: The use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) within the National Air Space is fraught with controversy including safety and privacy concerns and complex regulatory rulemaking. But the social and ecological benefits of their use are enormous, from disaster response and search and rescue missions to wildlife surveys and shoreline erosion studies. The twenty-eight Reserves that comprise the National Estuarine Research Reserve System have been struggling individually with the issue of UAS missions for several years.This year, a UAS Roadmap was published as a resource for all of the Reserves and their partners. This Roadmap explains this complex situation clearly and concisely and provides resources that enable each Reserve to progress at their own pace with developing UAS projects. Proof of concept projects that focus on precision and accuracy of the resulting products are scheduled to occur at five Reserves within the next year. This will also enable clear procedures and protocols to be established that will ensure safety and privacy considerations and adherence to current regulations are built into mission planning at all levels. This talk will give an overview of the current UAS situation and showcase its use in fulfilling Reserve missions across the United States.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 10:30am - 11:00am
Nauset V


Technical Session. Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on the New England Winter Sport Industry
AUTHORS: William Hansen, Worcester State University

ABSTRACT: The winter sport industry is an important part of the New England economy as well as an integral component of the New England psyche. The impacts of climate change has caused great uncertainty in the industry and will require economic and technologic innovations to deal with the fluctuations in the length of the winter season, temperature variation and snow pack fluctuation. To examine in detail the continuing changes at the largest ski resort in Massachusetts, the Earth Science program at Worcester State has entered into a cooperative monitoring and assessment program with Wachusett Mountain ski resort and the Mass Department of Environmental Conservation. Continuous monitoring weather stations and soil probes will be installed on Mount Wachusett and vegetation and small mammal surveys will be conducted to examine the environmental and physical changes that have occurred and will occur.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 11:00am - 11:30am
Nauset V


Technical Session. Mapping Across the Divide – Creating a Seamless Coastal Zone Soil Survey
AUTHORS: Maggie K. Payne, USDA NRCS; Jim Turenne, USDA NRCS

ABSTRACT: Current and accurate maps are an important tool for making use and management decisions regarding land and water resources. With ongoing concerns of sea level rise and coastal change, accurate information about the structure of the coastal upland and nearshore subaqueous environments is an important tool in planning for the future of these areas. The National Cooperative Soil Survey has is responsible for documenting the nation’s soil resources to be used in making land use interpretations. In recent years, the need for coastal resource assessments has led the soil survey to update the mapping in certain areas to include more detailed information on the soils of coastal uplands, salt marshes, and subaqueous soils beneath shallow water (generally < 5 m). Seamless maps of the coastal and shallow subtidal soil types have been created and interpretations are in development including flooding hazard, dredge disposal concerns, mooring field construction, shellfish habitat suitability, and eelgrass replanting suitability. Methods for mapping these soils include use of LIDAR and bathymetric data as well as a significant element of field data collection and lab analysis.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 11:30am - 12:00pm
Nauset V


Technical Session. Mapping the Difficult Stuff: Automated Feature Extraction of Wetlands, Vernal Pools, and Logging Roads
AUTHORS: Sean MacFaden, Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne - University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Laboratory

ABSTRACT: Automated feature extraction of small, irregularly-distributed landscape features has long been a challenge for remote sensing-based land-cover mapping. Natural features such as vernal pools and wetlands may be obscured by vegetation or easily confused with other landscape elements, complicating feature discrimination and reducing classification accuracy. Anthropogenic elements such as previously-unmapped logging roads are similarly difficult to identify and then isolate from other linear features. The growing availability of high-resolution imagery and LiDAR is changing this dynamic, however, especially when these datasets are combined with object-based image analysis (OBIA) techniques. In a series of projects in Vermont and other northeastern states, we developed OBIA modeling routines that improved capture of these difficult-to-map features, using LiDAR-derived digital elevation models (DEMs) to first identify candidate features and then evaluating them with a combination of object characteristics and contextual criteria. The high-resolution DEMs were essential to mapping workflows, permitting characterization of fine-scale landscape transitions with compound topographic indices (wetlands), slope-derived depressions (vernal pools), and geomorphometric indices such as landform and dissection (logging roads). Overall, modeling focused on over-prediction (errors of commission are much harder to diagnose) and was efficiently performed on large geographic extents (county-sized) using the enterprise processing capabilities of OBIA software.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Nauset V


Technical Session. Planning for the Flood: How New England Is Creating More Resilient Electrical Infrastructure Using GIS
AUTHORS: Kelsey Gabriel, Lee Curtis, George Andrews, Melissa Kaplan - BSC Group, Inc.

ABSTRACT: Climate change research continues to show that storms are intensifying, sea levels are rising, and areas are becoming more susceptible to flooding. As a result, National Grid is taking a proactive stance to implement flood protection measures at substations in MA and RI to allow the continuous, reliable delivery of electric service in light of future increases in flooding and storm events. In order to identify the high risk substations in MA and RI, BSC prepared various map sets including hurricane storm surge locations, sea level rise and coastal impact, limit of moderate wave action, and environmental resources. This preliminary GIS effort assisted National Grid in their planning, design, and permitting of temporary flood protection measures. BSC is now working to provide site specific inundation mapping, including sea level rise and storm surge, as National Grid begins to design permanent flood protection measures. These maps will take into account site specific criteria including topography, mean high water line, high water marks, and tides. Different scenarios, such as variations in sea level rise and hurricane categories, will be evaluated to create the resilient design solutions.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Nauset V


Technical Session. New Horizons: A Tour of Engineering Applications of the NRCS SSURGO Soils Data
AUTHORS: Ian Sleeper, Terracon Consultants Inc.

ABSTRACT: The NRCS Soil Survey Database is a rich and detailed dataset with wide applications across many fields; however, the data is held in a complex relational database format which can be confusing to casual or unfamiliar users, and can continue to surprise even experienced users with its breadth and depth of information. Several years of experience with SSURGO data has brought to light several interesting uses that provide insight into both the wealth of data available and the capabilities and uses of a relational database to represent complex three-dimensional attribute information. Some uses include slope stability risk modeling, engineering project development overviews, pre-field-task planning, and other thematic mapping and analysis applications. These uses highlight the value of the SSURGO data in the application of geotechnical and environmental engineering (due to the nature of experience and educational background), but the data is equally applicable to other study areas such as Forestry, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Municipal Planning, and others, given the proper background knowledge.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Nauset V
Wednesday, October 19


Technical Session. National Hydrography Requirements and Benefits Study
AUTHORS: Dan Walters, US Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: The National Hydrography Requirements and Benefits Study (HRBS) was performed to establish a baseline understanding of national business uses, needs, and associated benefits for national hydrography data, and to inform the design of an enhanced future program that balances requirements, benefits, and costs. The study was sponsored by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and was completed in May 2016. Study participants included 21 federal agencies, non-profits, private and commercial entities, and local, state, and tribal governments from across the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and American Samoa. An analysis of the results found that an improved national hydrography program has the potential to help users realize an estimated $602.5 million in annual program benefits if all reported requirements were met. This presentation will provide a review of the HRBS and USGS plans for using the results.

Wednesday October 19, 2016 10:30am - 11:00am
Nauset III


Technical Session. Examining the Scallop Fishery Through Biological, Regulatory, and Landings History
AUTHORS: Sharon Benjamin, NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Social Sciences Branch / Integrated Statistics, Inc.; Min-Yang Lee, NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Social Sciences Branch; Dvora Hart, NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Population Dynamics Branch

ABSTRACT: This study describes the Atlantic Sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) fishery using metrics of biological productivity and fishing activity over a 20 year study period. Distant ports and fishing communities are connected at sea by shared fishing grounds; we describe the extent to which ports in the Northeast United States have utilized similar areas of the ocean in the Atlantic Sea Scallop fishery from 1996-2014. During this time period, spatially delineated regulations have become increasingly important in the scallop fishery. To better understand intra-port competition, we integrate multiple data sources, including: an index of fishing activity overlap among ports; biological data on scallop populations; and the scallop fishery's management history. We used a novel mapping method to improve upon the single reported point, and built a comprehensive, high-resolution dataset of fishing activity for commercial fisheries in the Northeast US. We conclude that regulatory changes in available fishing grounds – and thus in access to exploitable biomass – impact fishing behavior among scallop fishing ports. Competition among ports is sharpened when exploitable biomass is limited due to environmental factors, overfishing, or regulatory closures. This multifaceted approach helps us better understand implications of regulatory as well as environmental change in regional fishing economies

Wednesday October 19, 2016 11:00am - 11:30am
Nauset III


Technical Session. Farm GIS for Animal Welfare, Water Health, and Aesthetic Enjoyment
AUTHORS: Mike Doyle, Hilltop Northeast Enterprises, LLC

ABSTRACT: When we moved into a farm in Brimfield, MA we knew we wanted animals. We also knew we were moving to a piece of sloped land that went directly into a eutrophic pond. This piece of land has since become about as GIS'd as most Superfund sites. We have analyzed impacts from every proposed land use, and have used visualizations for specific projects to minimize any possible detrimental views.

Wednesday October 19, 2016 11:30am - 12:00pm
Nauset III