Great Lakes Research Center Seminar Series: W. Charles Kerfoot of the Lake Superior Ecosystem Research Center & Department of Biological Sciences,
Michigan Technological University

LiDAR and MSS Applications For Coastal Ecosystem Research & Restoration Projects

Description: Due to its high spatial resolution and excellent water penetration, LiDAR and multi‐spectral imaging (MSS) has great promise for resolving shoreline environmental issues. Grand (Big) Traverse Bay on the Keweenaw Peninsula has provided an excellent Great Lakes example of the consequences of mine discharges into coastal environments. Although coastal discharge is currently advocated by mining in ocean environments as the "out of sight, out of mind" alternative to "tailing impoundments", modern improvements in remote sensing can track coastal discharges. For over a century, waste rock migrating from shoreline tailings piles has moved along extensive stretches of the Keweenaw coastline, damming stream outlets, intercepting wetlands and recreational beaches, suppressing benthic invertebrate communities, and threatening critical fish breeding grounds. Here we use LiDAR and MSS imagery to estimate the time course and mass of tailings eroded into Grand Traverse Bay and to quantify underwater tailings spread across benthic substrates. We show that the coastal detail from LiDAR and MSS opens up numerous applications for ecological, ecosystem, and geological investigations. Initial studies aided the establishment of an authorized $8‐9M USACE Stamp Sand Restoration Project in Grand Traverse Bay.

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