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Specific accomplishments during the year included a study to streamline the National Environmental Policy Act processes within the Survey, completion of studies summarizing natural resource and energy development policies and regulations for each of 40 States; completion of oilspill analyses for the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, and Norton Basin Outer Continental Shelf lease areas; and participation with approximately nine bureaus and agencies by providing Survey expertise and assistance in National Environmental Policy Act projects. Significant support during the year was provided to the Office of Surface Mining in the preparation of environmental impact statements and the review of mine reclamation plans, to the Bureau of Land Management in the preparation of environmental impact statements for various coal leasing projects, and to the Minerals Management Service for assistance in preparation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge environmental impact statement.
Earth Sciences Assistance Office
During fiscal year 1982, the Earth Sciences Assistance Office continued to develop, interpret, and demonstrate applications of earth sciences information in support of planning and decision making for land and related resources. Major emphasis was placed on geologic related hazards warnings and preparedness activities and interdisciplinary earth sciences applications studies.
Significant advances were made during the year in the development of more positive and effective hazards warning and preparedness procedures. The Earth Sciences Assistance Office, with cooperation from a number of Federal, State, and local agencies, intiated a program of emergency response and planning workshops to assist State and local officials to deal with specific potential geologic hazards. The first of these
workshops, held at Shasta, California, in November 1981, focused on potential hazards from future volcanic eruptions at Mount Shasta. Approximately 100 State and local officials attended the workshop to learn more about the specific nature of hazards to life and property that can be expected in the event of renewed eruptive activity at Mount Shasta, one of a number of active volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest. The specific information provided and the emergency planning initiated at workshops of this type are expected to stimulate and encourage early and effective response to imminent geologic threats as they are identified in the future.
Two major interdisciplinary projects supported by this Office and conducted by the Water Resources and Geologic Divisons were completed successfully in fiscal year 1982. The Puget Sound Project in Washington and the Culpeper Basin Project in northern Virginia together produced more than 120 basic and interpretive geologic and hydrologic maps and reports aimed primarily at describing the earth science constraints and opportunities for land and related resource use in the project areas.
Earth Resources Observation Systems Office
The Earth Resources Observation Systems Office, which was established in 1966 by order of the Secretary of the Interior and is administered for the Department by the U.S. Geological Survey, is the focal point for most of the Department's Earth resource-oriented remote-sensing activities. The mission of the Earth Resources Observation Systems Office is to develop, demonstrate, and encourage applications of techniques using remotely sensed data to the resource and environmental inventory and management responsibilities of the
This image of northwestern Arizona, acquired from NCAA-6 on April 7, 1982, has been processed to show greeness of vegetation in relative shades of gray. Brightness indicates higher levels of standing green vegetation, especially near sites A, B, and C. Digital Line Graph data (roads and State boundaries) from the National Mapping Division provide a geographic reference.
Department of the Interior. A realinement of functions during fiscal year 1982 has resulted in the transfer of this Office to the National Mapping Division.
Monitoring Vegetation Over Large Geographic Regions for Wildfire Management
A cooperative project with the Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observation Systems Office, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) evaluated the use of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer data for monitoring areas of herbaceous vegetation. Bureau of Land Management fire managers require estimates of fire fuel and a means for monitoring vegetation growth, maturing, and curing (time of greatest fire potential).
The NOAA-6 and NOAA-7 satellites carry radiometer sensors that provide land cover information on a daily basis. These satellites are in sun-synchronous, near-polar orbits. Their images have a ground resolution of over 0.6 mile.
From March through April 1982, radiometer images were acquired for northwestern Arizona and registered to a digital geographic reference map base containing road patterns and State boundaries. The time intervals showed the spring growth cycle from dormancy through maturing of the annuals. Images were processed for five different days and analyzed to determine their usefulness in wildfire management decisions. The investigation showed that the data can be used to estimate the date when the vegetation becomes mature, document relative amounts of standing green vegetation for northwestern Arizona, and follow seasonal growth of annual grasses.
Land Cover and Terrain Mapping for the Kenai and Togiak National Wildlife Refuges. Alaska
A cooperative project between the Earth Resources Observation Systems Office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Refuges Division has developed land cover and terrain digital data bases and maps for the Kenai and Togiak National Wildlife Refuges and surrounding areas.
The principal sources of raw data utilized to develop the land cover and terrain information to be incorporated in the comprehensive plans were digital Landsat multispectral scanner data and digital elevation model data. Digital terrain information was utilized to improve the overall representativeness and accuracy of the final classification. The results of this modeling activity are habitat maps that permit wildlife biologists to assess and inventory areas as suitable or critical for particular species. The methodology demonstrated in this project has been adopted as the approach that will be used in the development of plans for the remaining 14 National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.
Digital Mapping of Drainage Basins and Drainage Lines
An Earth Resources Observation Systems Office project to describe the physical characteristics and hydrologic conditions of drainage basins within the Black Hills of South Dakota was initiated during 1982. A computer technique for mapping drainage lines and drainage basins was developed. Digital elevation data acquired from the Survey’s National Mapping Division were the only data needed. Drainage basins are delineated by the highest elevation values above a predetermined location. The analyst indicates the point designated as the terminal location for the basin under consideration. Although the new technique has not been fully tested, it has provided a rapid accurate method of producing drainage lines and basin maps from digital elevation data. These maps are useful in studying basin parameters for gaged basins and for siting new stream gages to measure stream flow.
Determination of Irrigation Potential of the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Indian Reservations
The Bureau of Indian Affairs assists in the management of large Indian-owned acres that are used for agricultural cropping and grazing. Part of this responsibility is to be aware of existing resources, to plan and implement programs for their efficient utilization, and to monitor changes resulting from resource management.
For an Earth Resources Observation Systems Office and Bureau of Indian Affairs cooperative project, several types of data such as soil fertility, land slope, current land
uses, and Land ownership, were digitized, merged, and integrated to determine which reservation lands were most suitable for producing irrigated crops. Models were developed to estimate and map irrigation potential. These maps were used by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in planning and management decision making.
Side-Looking Airborne Radar Program
The Survey’s Side-Looking Airborne Radar, which was initiated in fiscal year 1980, involves evaluating this technology for geologic and cartographic applications. During 1980 and 1981, airborne radar data, including multi look and stereographic coverage, were acquired for approximately 60,000 square miles in the Alaska Peninsula and in northern Alaska. By the close of 1981, a summary report of 20 investigations ("Evaluation of Radar Imagery for Geologic and Cartographic Applications," U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 81-1358) had been published.
During fiscal year 1982, data of the Aleutian Arc were acquired. in addition, the Survey, in consultation with State Geologists, selected and has contracted to fly five project areas within the contiguous United States. Total airborne radar acquisition for these six projects will exceed 75,000 square miles by the end of calendar year 1982. Research to assess the application of the airborne radar technology to earth science issues is ongoing.
The data acquired by the Survey as a result of this program are available through the Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57198.
Thematic Mapper Simulator Data
The Thematic Mapper, carried on board Landsat 4 which was launched July 16, 1982, is a new remote-sensing system designed for better resolution and data characteristics than previously available. In preparation for applications of these data, simulated data to approximate Thematic Mapper data were acquired by aircraft and evaluated for three areas within the Uinta Basin of eastern Utah and northwestern Colorado. The areas are composed of broad exposures of rocks of Pennsylvanian to Tertiary age and contain a variety of hydrocarbons. Initially, Thematic Mapper Simulator
data were registered to a topographic map base to facilitate comparison with geologic maps. Several image processing techniques were applied to the data to enhance spectral differences so that the rock types could be identified.
The area covered by the 1:250,000-scale topographic quadrangle was one region for which specially processed false-color composite images were prepared. On two of these color composites, 17 of 18 sedimentary formations in this quadrangle were distinguishable. The increased spectral and spatial resolution of mapper data provides improved data from which specialists can discriminate the rock types in this hydrocarbon-rich area. As these results indicate, Thematic Mapper data may prove to be extremely useful for rapid mapping of potentially valuable areas containing minerals and energy resources.
Digital Image Mapping
Spatial data, such as Landsat image data, can be combined with other types of data, such as cartographic information. Having both sets of data in digital form facilitates combinations by computer. The Earth Resources Observation Systems Office initiated a laboratory project in mid-1981 to develop a system that will register digital Landsat data to a digital cartographic data base and register one Landsat scene to another. This system was in the final stages of testing in early fiscal year 1982. The project includes the production of Landsat multispectral scanner false-color image maps compatible with and registered to 1:250,000scale map quadrangles, such as the Las Vegas quadrangle.
The first step in registering the images was to select control points from the quadrangle maps and to generate a mapping grid. The images were then alined with corresponding map portions.
Once the four images used to produce the quadrangle were alined, they were merged to produce a digital mosaic. Individual photographic negatives for three wavelength bands were then generated, enlarged to the correct scale, and composited photographically to produce a final false-color mosaic.
The accuracy of the Las Vegas mosaic approaches established standards. The system will be useful for producing image mosaics of large areas for geologic interpretation and mapping and for other earth science investigations.