Hyperspectral Airborne Remote Sensing for Assesing Water Quality and Clarity in the Great Bay Estuary of New Hampshire


Development of numeric criteria for water quality management to ensure ecosystem health is one of the goals of coastal resource managers. US EPA guidance for these criteria promotes maintaining eelgrass habitat with minimum water clarity based on a conceptual model of phytoplankton shading eelgrass. Eelgrass is critical habitat in Great Bay, New Hampshire USA, and its protection is central to NH Department of Environmental Services nutrient criteria development. However, data collected during a multi-year boat sampling effort shows little correlation between water clarity and phytoplankton abundance. The UNH Coastal Observing center established the Great Bay Coastal Buoy in 2005 as part of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) to provide a comprehensive suite of observations. Buoy light attenuation measurements suggest that factors unrelated to nutrient enrichment may be responsible for the majority of the eelgrass shading (e.g., sediment resuspension and CDOM). Here we discuss how airborne hyperspectral remotely sensed information collected during 2007 has been used to expand on the temporally rich buoy data to provide spatially rich information relevant to the goals of regional coastal managers.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Ocean Sciences Meeting

Conference Date

Mar 2 - Mar 7, 2008

Publisher Place

Orlando, FL, USA

Document Type

Conference Proceeding