Mapping the U.S. and Canadian coastal Great Lakes wetlands and stressors

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

Publication Date



A project funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to produce an international contemporary baseline map of wetland type, extent and adjacent land use of the coastlines of the Great Lakes is nearly complete. For monitoring landscape scale indicators of wetland health and for planning the collection of field data in coastal ecosystems, a consistent and contemporary baseline map that crosses political borders is needed. The international wetlands map is being produced using a fusion of multi-season ALOS PALSAR Lband and Landsat data. Multi-seasonal data from these complementary sensors allows the detection and classification of not only generic wetland types and land use classes, but also detection of large stands of problematic plant species including Phragmites australis and Typha spp. The maps are produced with a Random Forests classifier using training data derived from field work and air photo interpretation. A randomly selected subset of training data is reserved for validation to evaluate map accuracy. The basin-wide maps will provide the first ever international Great Lakes coastal land-use land-cover map suitable for coastal wetland assessment and management. Long-term monitoring of coastal Great Lakes wetlands is needed for management and decision support to keep our Great Lakes ecosystems healthy.

Publisher's Statement

© 2014 The authors.

Also presented at the Annex 7 – Habitat and Species Subcommittee In-Person Meeting - U.S. EPA Offices - Federal Metcalfe Building, November 5-6, 2014.

Publication Title

IAGLR 57th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research