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Early Season Invasives Mapping 2001 - 2010, Washington County, Utah, USA


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Miller, M., 2018, Early season invasives mapping 2001 - 2010, Washington County, Utah, USA: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


Invasive annual plants such as red brome (Bromus rubens), cheatgrass (B. tectorum), and African mustard (Malcomia africana) can have profound impacts on dryland ecosystems. Potential impacts include the alteration of fuel loads and fire regimes, as well as the competitive displacement of native plant populations. Both of these impacts can significantly degrade habitat quality for wildlife and can have important socioeconomic consequences for human society. To design science-based strategies for mitigating these impacts, managers need information on the relative abundance of invasive plant populations over time and across complex landscapes characterized by multiple management jurisdictions, a range of urban and wildland settings, and [...]


Point of Contact :
Terry Arundel
Originator :
Mark Miller
Metadata Contact :
Terry Arundel
Publisher :
U.S. Geological Survey
Distributor :
U.S. Geological Survey - ScienceBase
USGS Mission Area :
SDC Data Owner :
Southwest Biological Science Center

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To address an information need, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS Zion National Park and Canyonlands National Park), and the Nature Conservancy collaborated in a project to examine the landscape-level dynamics of invasive annual plants in Washington County, Utah, through the analysis of satellite imagery. Early season invasive annual plant populations were detected and mapped over a sequence of years (e.g., 2001-2010) through application of a mapping algorithm developed in conjunction with cheatgrass studies conducted in the vicinity of Canyonlands National Park (Kokaly 2010a,b). The mapping algorithm compares spring and summer Landsat imagery, and models the abundance of brome grasses and other spring weeds as a function of the seasonal difference in vegetation greenness. A comparison of field data with remotely sensed data in 2006 found the Landsat-based model to be 86 percent accurate in classifying cheatgrass abundance in the Canyonlands area. For the Washington County study area, a comparision of field data collected in summer 2010 with April and July 2010 Landsat images indicated that the mapping algorithm was 90 percent accurate in classifying and mapping the abundance of early season invasive plants. These results indicate that this technique promises to be an effective tool for mapping invasive plant dynamics both on the Colorado Plateau and in the Mojave Desert. A similar multi-temporal image analysis technique has been used to map dynamics of invasive grasses at the scale of the Great Basin (Bradley and Mustard 2006). Information provided by this project will be valuable for management of fuels, fire, sensitive plant and animal populations, and wildland ecosystems. These data were developed to map the extent and distribution of early season invasives (ESI) across Washington County, Utah from 2001 through 2010. They will serve as a means for resource managers, stakeholders, and partners in the ecoregion and at the local level for the management of fuels, fire, sensitive plant and animal populations, wildland ecosystems, and socioeconomic issues.


Unless otherwise stated, all data, metadata and related materials are considered to satisfy the quality standards relative to the purpose for which the data were collected. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty.



  • USGS Data Release Products
  • USGS Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC)



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DOI doi:10.5066/P9QEJGD8

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