The Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring (BICM) program was developed by Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and is implemented as a component of the System Wide Assessment and Monitoring Program (SWAMP). The program uses both historical data and contemporary data collections to assess and monitor changes in the aerial and subaqueous extent of islands, habitat types, sediment texture and geotechnical properties, environmental processes, and vegetation composition. Examples of BICM datasets include still and video aerial photography for documenting shoreline changes, shoreline positions, habitat mapping, land change analyses, light detection and ranging (lidar) surveys for topographic elevations, single-beam and swath bathymetry, and sediment grab samples. For more information about the BICM program, see Kindinger and others (2013).
The U.S. Geological Survey, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center provides support to the BICM program through the development of habitat map products using aerial imagery and lidar elevation data and assessing change in habitats over time. These data provide a snapshot of barrier island habitats and can be combined with other past and/or future maps to monitor these valuable natural resources over time. The current effort of this habitat mapping program includes developing habitat maps for 2008 and 2015/16 for the following BICM regions: 1) West Chenier; 2) East Chenier; 3) Acadiana Bays (only Marsh Island); 4) Early Lafourche Delta; 5) Late Lafourche Delta; 6) Modern Delta (only Chaland Headland and Shell Island); and 7) Chandeleur Islands. Additionally, a habitat change analysis will be conducted comparing reaches mapped in 2008 and 2015/2016.
The BICM program has developed two habitat classification schemes which include a detailed 15-class habitat scheme and a general eight-class habitat scheme. The detailed scheme was developed specifically for this habitat mapping effort and builds off the general scheme used in previous BICM habitat mapping efforts (Fearnley and others, 2009). The additional classes developed in the detailed scheme are primarily used to further delineate various dune habitats, separate marsh and mangrove, and distinguish between beach and unvegetated barrier flat habitats. To ensure comparability between this effort and previous BICM map products, we have crosswalked the detailed classes to general habitat classes previously used by Fearnley and others (2009).
Kindinger, J.L., Buster, N.A., Flocks, J.G., Bernier, J.C., and Kulp, M.A., 2013, Louisiana Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring (BICM) program summary report: Data and analyses 2006 through 2010: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1083, 86 p., accessed April 3, 2017, at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2013/1083/
Fearnley, S., Brien, L., Martinez, L., Miner, M., Kulp, M., and Penland, S., 2009, Louisiana Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring Program (BICM), Volume 5: Chenier Plain, South-Central Louisiana, and Chandeleur Islands, Habitat mapping and change analysis 1996 to 2005, Part 1: Methods for habitat mapping and change analysis 1996 to 2005: New Orleans, University of New Orleans, Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences.
Barbier, E.B., Hacker, S.D., Kennedy, C., Koch, E.W., Stier, A.C., and Silliman, B.R., 2011, The value of estuarine and coastal ecosystem services: Ecological Monographs, v. 81, p. 169–193. https://doi.org/10.1890/10-1510.1