Hydrographic densification of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Matthew Baker, Department of Geography and Environmental Systems.

The Clean Water Act of 1972 regulates the pollution entering the waters of the US.  However, the vast majority of headwater streams are not represented on existing USGS maps derived from 1:24,000 contours. Thus, most pollution events and many impacts to the stream network are not well documented or understood. This project seeks to use 1-m LiDAR data from across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to develop 1:2400 maps of stream channels.  Such data has existed for years but until recently, the algorithms for mapping channels over such extents was antiquated, unwieldy, and error prone.  Novel approaches form extracting channel networks have vastly increased capacity, but these approaches remain process intensive, and embarrassingly parallel. Our efforts seeks to employ the HPCF to accelerate and augment map development and subsequent updates. Robust mapping technologies will dramatically enhance scientific understanding and inform conservation, management and policy decision making.