2011 - A Remote Sensing Algal Production Model to Monitor Water Quality and Nonpoint Pollution in New England Lakes

Grant Award Year: 
Principal Investigator: 
Dr. Mi-Hyun Park
Research Description: 
Lake Champlain, like many New England lakes, experiences eutrophic conditions, algal blooms and degraded water quality when agricultural and urban runoff are discharged and (harmful) algal blooms have become an increasing problem over the past two decades. This requires frequent monitoring of algal bloom distribution and propagation to identify major drivers and to implement mitigation practices. This study will employ remote sensing to monitor the spatial and temporal distributions of algal blooms and to develop algal production models in Lake Champlain, with application to other New England lakes. Satellite image data can be used for regular, synoptic coverage of algal production over large areas with better spatial and temporal resolution compared to in situ monitoring. The satellite algal production model will be calibrated and validated using available in situ water quality time-series data. In addition, land use, meteorological, hydrological and water quality data will be analyzed to identify the major drivers of algal blooms in the Lake Champlain Basins. The remote sensing model resulting from this study will provide a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional field studies in similar lakes.