Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019UT258B

Use of sUAS for mapping wetland flow paths and consumptive use on the San Rafael River, Utah

Institute: Utah
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-03-01 End Date: 2020-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,979 Total Non-Federal Funds: $19,294

Principal Investigators: Alfonso Torres-Rua

Abstract: Utah Water Research Laboratory (UWRL) at Utah State University (USU), along with the Utah Division of Water Resources (UDWR) proposes to expand the current assessment of wetlands morphological changes (changes in riparian habitat for fish) along with Tamarisk consumptive water use (evapotranspiration estimates of this invasive vegetation) towards better understanding and improvement of natural habitat improvement projects executed by UDWR. For this project, additional intensive data collection of high-resolution imagery using small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) along with ground measurements of evapotranspiration rates and water surface temperature will be collected in a section of wetlands located in San Rafael River, Utah. For the aerial mapping, USU developed sUAS called AggieAir, will capture information at sub-meter resolution in different spectral bands (visible, near infrared, and thermal). For morphological change analysis, accurate positioned imagery will be derived to UDWR for historical comparison of wetland features changes. For estimation of water consumption by already existing invasive vegetation (Tamarisk), the twosource surface energy balance model developed for intensive agricultural settings and developed for high-resolution information will be evaluated and compared against Landsat derived evapotranspiration products. The information and results obtained in this project will be available to Utah state water agencies and will help them to consider further analysis other wetland locations within the state.