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A Riparian Ecosystem Data Explorer for Monitoring the Lower Colorado River: Integrated and Dynamic Web-based Delivery of Actionable Information; Pamela Nagler

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2021 Conference
 
A Riparian Ecosystem Data Explorer for Monitoring the Lower Colorado River: Integrated and Dynamic Web-based Delivery of Actionable Information
Pamela Nagler1*, Armando Barreto-Muñoz2 and Kamel Didan2
 
1U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center, Tucson, AZ, 85721 USA; pnagler@usgs.gov
2University of Arizona, Biosystems Engineering, Tucson, AZ, 85721 USA; abarreto@email.arizona.edu, didan@email.arizona.edu
 
Intensification of drought across the Colorado River Basin is causing ecosystem stress and catastrophic transformations that result in increasing challenges for resource management. Over the past two decades, riparian plant species on the Lower Colorado have declined drastically, suggesting further deterioration of biodiversity, wildlife habitat and key ecosystem services. Researchers from the USGS and University of Arizona have built an interactive, searchable Lower Colorado River Data Explorer for the purpose of allowing users to monitor riparian ecosystem health and changes due to defoliation events from the Tamarisk leaf beetle, Diorhabda Spp. End users may currently identify and search twenty years of data for their areas of interest from Hoover Dam into the delta in Mexico. The searchable online system is being expanded to include additional rivers, their uplands and even the non-riverine borderlands ecosystems, with the main purpose being to evaluate trends in the landscape. These dryland ecosystems have been resilient despite myriad pressures related to drought, and other anthropogenic changes. The Data Explorer provides interactive access to greenness, phenology and water use riparian-zone, time-series information including plotting tools for remotely sensed measurements of vegetation index (VI), daily evapotranspiration (ET, mmd-1) and annualized ET (mmyr-1). These data are provided at two spatial resolutions: 250m Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and 30m Landsat Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI2), as well as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for comparison with older studies that use NDVI instead of the current EVI2. In order for our research and outreach to evolve and become a fully functional and an operational service for scientists, land, water, cultural, and resource managers, and the general public, the Data Explorer requires: a) adequate data storage, b) processing resources, c) web and tool developer time, and d) long-term hosting. This Data Explorer provides integrated data delivery and decision support; it was developed with a modular design so it can accept new data and models as they are developed and is responsive to stakeholder needs for updated information.  

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