Extracting Bankfull Widths and Stream Slopes from New England Rivers

—Daniel J. Okuniewicz Jr. (Mentor: Anne Lightbody)
Daniel Okuniewicz

The chief characteristic of this project was extracting measurements for New England rivers—specifically, bankfull widths and stream slopes—using high-resolution elevation data collected with remote-sensing technology in order to help increase the fidelity of remote-sensing measurements to field measurements. Remote sensing, such as the high-resolution lidar used in this study, is a highly useful emerging technology. Extracted river measurements are useful for determining transport characteristics of sediments and pollutants, gas exchange rates with the atmosphere, and flood risk. For this project I selected study sites from streams and rivers in the New England region; at those sites I compared bankfull widths extracted from remote sensing elevation data to previously collected field measurements in order to validate the remote sensing data. The results of this project indicate that remote sensing data is useful, but not yet up to par with field measurements at individual measurement locations. However, remote sensing dramatically increases the speed and scale of measuring river characteristics along the entire river length.

Read full article