Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

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Project Intro
Meeting Notes
Historical Veg
T-Sheets Extent
CASI Imagery






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Columbia River Estuary

Current and Historic Landscape Scale Assessment

Jen Burke (ODFW), Kim Jones (ODFW), Dan Bottom (NMFS), Si Simenstad (UW) in cooperation with LCREP, CREST, Oregon Natural Heritage Program (potential), and Earth Designs Consulting, Inc. 


This assessment will spatially quantify in a GIS the changes in shoreline, channel structure, and floodplain habitat of the Columbia River estuary (Bonneville Dam to the mouth) from the late 1800s to contemporary.   


The primary contact for this project is: 

Jennifer Burke 

ODFW Aquatic Inventories Project 

28655 Hwy 34 

Corvallis, OR   97333 

(541) 757 - 4263 x264 

FAX:  (541) 757 - 4102 



Source of Funding: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  

Project Leader:  Ed Casillas, NMFS 

Duration: 18+ months from 2001 to 2003, yearly contract  


Due the size of the estuary and the level of detail we hope to achieve, our efforts will concentrate initially on a small area (to be determined) in the tidal fluvial region of the estuary.   Focus area will be determined based on available historic and contemporary data and whether it is representative of a larger hydrogeographic area.  The intent is to establish a protocol to be used throughout the estuary once the initial analysis is complete.  Previous mapping efforts in the estuary and the Willamette will be incorporated into the project if possible.  All parties involved in the lower Columbia River mapping efforts will devise a common classification scheme for the historic mapping and contemporary imagery.   


Historic Assessment            (pre or early 1900s) 

Sources of data 

             Historic T-Sheets – channel structures and shoreline 

                        T-Sheets from the late 1800s have been scanned for digitization.  The spatial extent and quality of the maps are unknown at this time since the digital format has not yet been received.  T-sheets will need to be digitized. 

            GLO surveys reports and maps– historic vegetation

                        John Christy (Natural Heritage Center, TNC) has completed the portion from Sandy River to Kalama as part of the Willamette Basin Atlas project.  The data are currently digitized and available.  Bruce Sutherland (LCREP) is currently seeking funding for Christy to expand the GLO reconstruction.

             Floodplain maps – FEMA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

                        Establish the outer extent of the floodplain in digital format.  Will probably use a protocol similar to Willamette Basin Atlas depending on the available data from the Corps.  Should already be in digital format.  Bob Peak (COE) to be contacted.  

Ancillary sources of data

            Bathymetry of Columbia River estuary from U.S. Coastal Survey Charts 

Historic soils survey data 



Reconstruct the boundaries and historic vegetation of wetland habitats through the reconciliation of the T-sheets and GLO survey data.  Establish the floodplain boundary from the floodplain maps.  Place all layers into a common map extent with line and polygon features.   Quantify error and certainty. 


Contemporary Assessment 

 Sources of data 


            Landsat multispectral and panchromatic imagery 

Source: LCREP and Earth Designs, Inc. 

                        Merged 25 m MSS and 15 m Panchromatic Landsat 7 imagery with supervised and unsupervised classification conducted by Earth Designs (funded by LCREP) 

             CASI imaging spectrometer system 

Source: LCREP and Earth Designs, Inc. 

                        Compact Airborne Spectragraphic Imager - 19-band hyperspectral data collected at 1.5 m spatial resolution.  Use of this imagery will depend on the areas covered.   

            Floodplain map – use same as above 

            Land use coverage 

            NWI maps - USFWS            

                       Identify wetland and diked areas 

            NRCS soil survey maps 

                        Identify hydric soils displaced from flood activity 

             Map of flood control structures 

                        Identify areas that were formerly part of the floodplain 



       Establish current map of fish/floodplain habitat in a common map    environment.   


As of 02/06/2002 : 

In progress 

·             Inventory of available data sources 

·             Obtain literature of similar project in the Fraser River estuary and San Joaquin - Sacramento estuary 

·             Obtain relevant digital data 



·             Site selection in the tidal fluvial region of the estuary 

·             Classification scheme common to different data sources 

·             Digitizing of the historical habitat at a resolution superior to past efforts 

·             Contemporary fish habitat and floodplain map 

·             Spatial and statistical analysis of changes in channel structure, shoreline sinuosity, continuity of fish habitat, and habitat types 

·             Assessment of error and certainty of results



ODFW - Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 

NMFS – National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Science Center, Newport, OR 

UW – University of Washington, School of Fisheries, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 

LCREP – Lower Columbia River Estuary Program 

CREST – Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce 

TNC – The Nature Conservancy 

COE – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers