More Accessible Monitoring: Using Freely-Available Aerial Photos and Software to Map Changes in River Migration and Vegetation

Riverside vegetation, or “riparian buffers”, provides wildlife habitat, maintains water quality, and reduces flood damage. Human activity can negatively affect these services, and monitoring this vegetation over time can be costly and resource-intensive. Researchers at SUNY ESF have developed a new way of mapping river channels and vegetation that uses open-source remote-sensing software, using the Genesee River in New York to develop this method. Their method greatly improves our ability to monitor this important resource over time with over 90% accuracy.

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