Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 10, 2010
Publication Date: June 29, 2010
Citation: Sriharan, S., James, E.H., Yang, C. 2010. Spatial information technologies for climate change impact on ecosystems: detecting and mapping invasive weeds in the Rio Grande River system of south Texas. Meeting Abstract. CDROM.
Interpretive Summary: Not required.
Wetlands and aquatic ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change. Exotic invasive weeds are a serious problem in the Rio Grande River system of Texas. The river extends 3,040 km from its source in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado to the mouth at the Gulf of Mexico on the United States-Mexico border in extreme south Texas. The Mexico-Texas portion of the river is severely infested with exotic invasive weeds such as waterhyacinth, hydrilla, saltcedar, giant reed, Eurasian watermilfoil, and wild taro. These invasive plant species have displaced much of the original native vegetation. Remote sensing techniques offer potentially timely, cost-effective means of obtaining reliable data for these areas. Scientists at the USDA ARS Laboratory in Weslaco, Texas, in cooperation with the scientist at Virginia State University, have been conducting research on the utilization of aerial photography and videography integrated with global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS) technologies for detecting and mapping exotic invasive weeds in the Rio Grande system from the mouth of the river in extreme south Texas to El Paso in west Texas. This paper reviews the results of several aerial remote sensing studies conducted from 2002 to 2006. Our findings indicated that approximately 1,285 river-km of the Rio Grande was plagued by infestations of waterhyacinth, hydrilla, saltcedar, giant reed, Eurasian watermilfoil, and wild taro. The aquatic species Waterhyacinth and hydrilla infested approximately 225 river-km in the extreme southern portion of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The wetland species saltcedar infested approximately 460 river-km from Lajitas to near El Paso in west Texas. Giant reed infested approximately 600 river-km along the Rio Grande from near Laredo in south Texas to near Presidio in west Texas. Eurasian watermilfoil occurred along a 66 river-km area from below Amistad Reservoir near Del Rio to north of Eagle Pass in southwest Texas. The joint use of these technologies provides valuable information on the distribution of invasive weeds in the Rio Grande system along the Texas-Mexico border.