Mapping and monitoring of invasive phragmites in the coastal Great Lakes using radar imagery

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



Great Lakes coastal wetlands are increasingly at risk due to anthropogenic influences such as the introduction of non-native species and require monitoring for effective management. Of particular concern is the non-native common reed, Phragmites australis, which has significant impacts on ecosystem services. Currently there is no comprehensive of the extent of Phragmites infestation in the Great Lakes region. In a project funded through USGS Great Lakes Science Center and US Fish & Wildlife Service as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, we have applied our methods using L-band SAR data to mapping Phragmites across the U.S. side of the entire Great Lakes basin from the shoreline to 10 km inland. The method uses multi-temporal synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from ALOS PALSAR and ground reference data to map known and potential Phragmites locations with a minimum area of 0.5 acres. Multiple dates of PALSAR dual polarization data are used to capture seasonal variations and exploit band ratio differences between Phragmites and other wetland species such as Typha (cattails). Ground reference data has been collected at over 600 wetland locations across the entire. The project will result in a comprehensive map of potential Phragmites locations for the U.S. side of the coastal Great Lakes.

Publisher's Statement

© 2011 The authors.

Publication Title

IAGLR 54th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research