Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017CA371B

Optical and Thermal Remote Sensing of Turfgrass Response to Different Deficit Irrigation Strategies in Central and Southern CA

Institute: California
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $24,946 Total Non-Federal Funds: $13,768

Principal Investigators: Amir Haghverdi

Abstract: The US west is generally arid and subject to droughts, yet is home to some of the largest cities across the nation which makes urban irrigation management a key component of any water conservation plan. Given the current drought conditions in CA it is crucial to develop irrigation strategies to keep landscapes alive with minimum water while sustaining a desired landscape quality, which is the main objective of this study. Turfgrass is a large component of urban landscapes that provides valuable recreation area and ecosystem services. Recent advancements in thermal imaging using smartphone-attached cameras and affordable handheld devices may provide the opportunity for widespread adoption of remote sensing based techniques for urban irrigation management. This proposed turf irrigation research project conducted at the University of California, Riverside and at the Kearney Agriculture and Research Station in Parlier for two years will help us determine the efficacy of multiple deficit irrigation strategies on two warm-season turfgrass species (bermudagrass and buffalograss). Warm-season grasses are selected for this study due to their superior drought, heat, salinity and wear resistance. We will monitor turf response to multiple levels of water stress under drought conditions using soil moisture sensors, two smartphone-attached thermal cameras and one handheld optical sensor. The collected data will be used to estimate two crop indices: (i) NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) and (ii) GWSI (Grass Water Stress Index). The temporal dynamic of crop indices and soil moisture data will be studied to discover potential patterns explaining the impact of different irrigation management regimes on turf health and quality. Through our extension and outreach activities we disseminate the results of our study among a diverse body of clientele and promote adoption of efficient turf water conservation strategies.