USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Remote sensing of Lake Tahoe's nearshore environment

Principal Investigators:
Geoff Schladow, University of California-Davis
Erin Hestir, North Carolina State University

Proposal [pdf]

Final Report [pdf]

Please contact Dr. Geoff Schladow with questions regarding the final report.

Project Summary

The goal of this research was to investigate the extent to which remotely sensed data could be used to retrieve fine particles, chlorophyll, and CDOM concentrations from the water column in the near shore, and to map the distribution of periphyton (attached algae), aquatic macrophytes (submerged plants), and clam beds in the near shore of Lake Tahoe. If fully feasible, this would provide a powerful and cost-effective methodology for long-term monitoring of the nearshore.

To accomplish this it was first necessary to create a spectral library of bottom reflectance in the near shore that included GPS locations and in situ bottom reflectance spectra of different densities of clam beds, different densities and species of aquatic macrophytes and periphyton, and different densities of sediment grain sizes. However, the development of a cost-benefit analysis for using remote sensing for nearshore monitoring is not meaningful at the present time. The lack of adequate discrimination of different bottom types with current remote sensing products and the noise inherent in the in-water constituent concentrations means that the full suite of benefits are not presently available.