Monitoring Wetland Habitat Restoration in Southern California Using Airborne Multi spectral Video Data



Remote sensing provides a complementary approach to field sampling to assess whether restored wetland areas provide suitable habitat for the Light-footed Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris levipes). Habitat requirements for the clapper rail are specified by the composition of vegetation species and their spatial extent in its nesting home range. A major salt marsh construction project has been completed at the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge (“the refuge”), San Diego County. In this paper we describe the application of image classification techniques to high-spatial-resolution digital video imagery (0.8-m pixels) to delimit patches of different marsh vegetation at the refuge. Using maps of vegetation types derived from multi spectral imagery, we estimated the area occupied by each vegetation type in potential clapper rail home ranges. Preliminary field-checking results indicate that this approach is an accurate, noninvasive and cost-efficient means of providing ecological information for restoration monitoring in southern California's remnant wetlands.