Light Detection and Ranging in the Walker Basin

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DEES Minor, Timothy B 07/01/2010 - 06/30/2011 DOI - Bureau of Reclamation

Project Description

In support of water rights research and data funded under section 208(a)(1) of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2006 (Public Law 109-103; 119 Stat. 2268), the Desert Research Institute (DRI) will acquire Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) data of the Walker Basin. These data will be used in phase II of the Walker Basin Project to provide high resolution digital terrain models (DEMs) to a Decision Support Tool (DST) designed to support water right acquisitions. The LiDAR data will also be used to support ongoing restoration activities in the Basin, as well as vegetation density and distribution research. A LiDAR collection system is an airborne system that uses a scanning mirror to generate a swath of light pulses. Ranges are determined by computing the amount of time it takes light pulses to leave an airplane, travel to the ground and return to the sensor. The system's precise position and attitude, mirror angle and the collected ranges are used to calculate 3-D positions of terrain points. LiDAR technology offers fast, real-time collection of 3-D points that are quickly employed to generate very high resolution DEMs. This Statement of Work (SOW) identifies the specific areas of interest in the Walker Basin where the LiDAR data will be acquired, and contains specific task descriptions for acquiring, processing and analyzing the resultant data package. Study Area Within the Walker Basin, LiDAR data will be collected over six specific sub-areas (see Figure 1). These regions, collectively, represent 912 km2 (352 miles2) of surface area. These areas were selected because they represent features of interest for various researchers on the Walker Basin Project; agricultural areas, riparian zones, and phreatophyte vegetation. LiDAR acquisition under this project will collect data as far as the Wabuska gage station in northern Mason Valley, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has already collected similar LiDAR data from Walker Lake up to the Wabuska gaging station. The USFWS LiDAR will overlap with the proposed LiDAR collect to ensure seamless coverage of the Walker River corridor from Mason Valley down to Walker Lake.