Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018WI372B

Linking groundwater and nutrients to monitor fen ecosystems using airborne imaging spectroscopy

Institute: Wisconsin
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,214 Total Non-Federal Funds: $46,968

Principal Investigators: Eric Booth, Steven Loheide

Abstract: This project proposes to utilize a full-range imaging spectrometer to develop a methodology for linking groundwater and available nutrients to monitor fen ecosystems. We hypothesize that spectral characteristics from the remotely-sensed images are related to biophysical traits – such as leaf nitrogen, phosphorus, and water content – and will be important for distinguishing between fen and non-fen areas as well as varying levels of fen floristic quality. Existing vegetation sampling data provide estimates of floristic quality to which the spectral biophysical characteristics can be compared. In addition, we will leverage existing hydrological data to determine the relationship between groundwater discharge and biophysical traits derived from spectral properties. The resulting novel methodology will be used to 1) monitor fen quality in areas that may be influenced by changes in the groundwater regime, and 2) observe subtle changes in groundwater conditions across a landscape. We will focus our data collection on six fen sites that are currently being intensively monitored for vegetation, hydrology, and soil chemical and physical properties as part of a project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Paired sites are located in southeastern Wisconsin, the Madison area, and the Central Sands. One of each pair is relatively pristine and the other shows adverse impacts due to a decrease in groundwater inputs.