Using Geographic Information Systems for the Functional Assessment of Texas Coastal Prairie Freshwater Wetlands Around Galveston Bay
Description: The objective of this study was to deploy a conceptual framework developed by M. Forbes using a geographic information system (GIS) approach to assess the functionality of wetlands in the Galveston Bay Area of Texas. This study utilized geospatial datasets which included National Wetland Inventory maps (NWI), LiDAR data, National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery and USGS National Land Cover data to assess the capacity of wetlands to store surface water and remove pollutants, including nitrogen, phosphorus, heavy metals, and organic compounds. The use of LiDAR to characterize the hydrogeomorphic characteristics of wetlands is a key contribution of this study to the science of wetland functional assessment. LiDAR data was used to estimate volumes for the 7,370 wetlands and delineate catchments for over 4,000 wetlands, located outside the 100-yr floodplain, within a 2,075 square mile area around Galveston Bay. Results from this study suggest that coastal prairie freshwater wetlands typically have a moderate capacity to store surface water from precipitation events, remove ammonium, and retain phosphorus and heavy metals and tend to have a high capacity for removing nitrate and retainremove organic compounds. The results serve as a valuable survey instrument for increasing the understanding of coastal prairie freshwater wetlands and support a cumulative estimate of the water quality and water storage functions on a regional scale.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Enwright, Nicholas
Partner: UNT Libraries