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Louisiana Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring Program – habitat mapping


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Enwright, N.M., SooHoo, W.M., Dugas, J.L., Lee, D.M., and Borrok, P.S., 2018, Louisiana Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring Program – habitat mapping: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


The Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring (BICM) program was developed by Louisiana’s Coastal Protection Restoration Authority (CPRA) and is implemented as a component of the System Wide Assessment and Monitoring (SWAMP) program. The program uses both historical data and contemporary data collections to assess and monitor changes in the aerial and subaqueous extent of islands, habitat types, sediment texture and geotechnical properties, environmental processes, and vegetation composition. Examples of BICM datasets include still and video aerial photography for documenting shoreline changes, shoreline positions, habitat mapping, land change analyses, light detection and ranging (lidar) surveys for topographic elevations, single-beam [...]

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Barrier islands provide numerous invaluable ecosystem services including storm protection and erosion control for the mainland, habitat for fish and wildlife, salinity regulation in estuaries, carbon sequestration in marsh, recreation, and tourism (Barbier and others, 2011). These islands are very dynamic environments due to their position at the land-sea interface. Storms, wave energy, tides, currents, and relative sea-level rise are powerful forces that shape barrier island geomorphology and habitats. The BICM habitat products developed through this effort will provide a powerful tool for tracking changes to barrier island habitats over time. As previously mentioned, the BICM program has developed two habitat classification schemes which include a detailed 15-class habitat scheme and a general eight-class habitat scheme. The detailed scheme was developed specifically for this habitat mapping effort and builds off the general scheme used in previous BICM habitat mapping efforts (Fearnley and others, 2009). The additional classes developed in the detailed scheme are primarily used to further delineate various dune habitats, separate marsh and mangrove, and distinguish between beach and unvegetated barrier flat habitats. To enhance comparability between this effort and previous BICM map products, we have crosswalked the detailed classes produced in this effort to the general habitat classes previously used by Fearnley and others (2009). In other words, the general habitat classes included in these products were not directly interpreted using aerial imagery and lidar elevation data. Thus, we recommend only using these general habitat classes for analyses that include previous BICM habitat maps (1996-2005). For more information about the BICM program, see Kindinger and others (2013).


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  • USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center

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Changes to the individual data releases within this collection were made on May 18, 2020. See individual data release landing pages for a description of the revisions.

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DOI doi:10.5066/F7XP7440

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