Merrick & Company Wins Engineering Excellence Award: Bald Eagle Habitat Hyperspectral and LiDAR Project
“This was a great project to demonstrate how the fusion of three disparate remotely sensed data sources can solve real world problems such as assessing the location and condition of bald eagle habitat,” says Brian Raber, head of the GeoSpatial Solutions Business Unit at Merrick. “We’re all proud of the success of the project and have concluded with our client that the approach is technically feasible for the remaining 735 miles of the river.”
According to ACEC, “Projects from all over the world are rated on the basis of: uniqueness and originality; future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public; social, economic, and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs, including schedule and budget.”
The remotely sensed data provided by Merrick was used to generate digital elevation models (DEM) of bald earth and the canopy for the basis of this study. Color digital aerial photography and hyperspectral imagery were overlaid onto the LiDAR DEMs to model three-dimensional land cover and vegetation species delineation for conservation planning and environmental impact assessments. The final results of this 22 square mile prototype project indicated that this new method of fusing remote sensing technologies is technically feasible. Merrick demonstrated that this integration methodology of remote sensing technologies will increase the accuracy and reduce the schedule of the congressionally mandated Missouri Mitigation project.
The 1986 U.S. Congress created the Water Resources Development Act to authorize construction of the Missouri River Mitigation Project to mitigate fish and wildlife habitat losses resulting from past channelization and flood control. Presently, the area to be mitigated is about 261 square miles, which extends approximately 735 linear miles from Sioux City, Iowa, to the mouth of the Missouri River near St. Louis, Missouri.
Learn more about ACEC of Colorado at www.acec-co.org.