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Open AccessArticle

Land-Cover Changes to Surface-Water Buffers in the Midwestern USA: 25 Years of Landsat Data Analyses (1993–2017)

1
Pegasus Technical Services, Inc., c/o U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH 45219, USA
2
Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA
3
National Research Council, c/o U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA
4
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
5
Department of Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(5), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12050754
Received: 14 January 2020 / Revised: 20 February 2020 / Accepted: 21 February 2020 / Published: 25 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancements in Remote Sensing of Land Surface Change)
To understand the timing, extent, and magnitude of land use/land cover (LULC) change in buffer areas surrounding Midwestern US waters, we analyzed the full imagery archive (1982–2017) of three Landsat footprints covering ~100,000 km2. The study area included urbanizing Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri regions and agriculturally dominated landscapes (i.e., Peoria, Illinois). The Continuous Change Detection and Classification algorithm identified 1993–2017 LULC change across three Landsat footprints and in 90 m buffers for ~110,000 surface waters; waters were also size-binned into five groups for buffer LULC change analyses. Importantly, buffer-area LULC change magnitude was frequently much greater than footprint-level change. Surface-water extent in buffers increased by 14–35x the footprint rate and forest decreased by 2–9x. Development in buffering areas increased by 2–4x the footprint-rate in Chicago and Peoria area footprints but was similar to the change rate in the St. Louis area footprint. The LULC buffer-area change varied in waterbody size, with the greatest change typically occurring in the smallest waters (e.g., <0.1 ha). These novel analyses suggest that surface-water buffer LULC change is occurring more rapidly than footprint-level change, likely modifying the hydrology, water quality, and biotic integrity of existing water resources, as well as potentially affecting down-gradient, watershed-scale storages and flows of water, solutes, and particulate matter. View Full-Text
Keywords: Continuous Change Detection and Classification (CCDC); development; Landsat; land use/land cover (LULC) change; p23r31; p23r32; p24r33; random forest; size class; surface-water buffers; time series; wetland Continuous Change Detection and Classification (CCDC); development; Landsat; land use/land cover (LULC) change; p23r31; p23r32; p24r33; random forest; size class; surface-water buffers; time series; wetland
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MDPI and ACS Style

Berhane, T.M.; Lane, C.R.; Mengistu, S.G.; Christensen, J.; Golden, H.E.; Qiu, S.; Zhu, Z.; Wu, Q. Land-Cover Changes to Surface-Water Buffers in the Midwestern USA: 25 Years of Landsat Data Analyses (1993–2017). Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 754.

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