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Landsat-based monitoring of annual wetland change in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, USA from 1972 to 2012 Public Deposited

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  • n Oregon’s Willamette Valley, remaining wetlands are at high risk to loss and degradation from agricultural activity and urbanization. With an increased need for fine temporal-scale monitoring of sensitive wetlands, we used annual Landsat MSS and TM/ETM+ images from 1972 to 2012 to manually interpret loss, gain, and type conversion of wetland area in the floodplain of the Willamette River. By creating Tasseled Cap Brightness, Greenness, and Wetness indices for MSS data that visually match TM/ETM+ Tasseled Cap images, we were able to construct a complete and consistent, annual time series and utilize the entire Landsat archive. With an extended time series we were also able to compare annual trends of net change in wetland area before and after the no-net-loss policy established under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act in 1990 using a Theil-Sen Slope estimate analysis. Vegetated wetlands experienced a 314 ha net loss of wetland area and non-vegetated wetlands experienced a 393 ha net gain, indicating higher functioning wetlands were replaced in area by non-vegetated wetland habitats such as agricultural and quarry ponds. The majority of both gain and loss in the study area was attributed to gains and losses of agricultural land. After 1990 policy implementations, the rate of wetland area lost slowed for some wetland categories and reversed into trends of gain in wetland area for others, perhaps representative of the success of increased regulations. Overall accuracy of land use classification through manual interpretation was at 80 %. This accuracy increased to 91.1 % when land use classes were aggregated to either wetland or upland categories, indicating that our methodology was more accurate at distinguishing between general upland and wetland than finer categorical classes.
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  • Fickas, K. C., Cohen, W. B., & Yang, Z. (2016). Landsat-based monitoring of annual wetland change in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, USA from 1972 to 2012. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 24, 73-92. doi:10.1007/s11273-015-9452-0
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  • Funding for this research was provided by the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station.
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