Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Land Cover/Use Data
Created by the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program
The Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (LTRMP) was authorized under the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-662) as an element of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Environmental Management Program. The LTRMP is being implemented by the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC), an office of the U. S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the five Upper Mississippi River System states, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin, with guidance and Program responsibility provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The mission of the LTRMP is to provide decision makers with information to maintain the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS) as a viable large river ecosystem given its multiple-use character. The long-term goals of the Program are to understand the system, determine resource trends and impacts, develop management alternatives, manage information, and develop useful products.
In 1989, the LTRMP began collecting aerial photography, photographing the entire UMRS floodplain in both true color and color infrared (scale, 1:15,000). In the years since, color infrared photography has been collected for selected regions of the river. In entire floodplain was flown in 1994, low resolution .jpg images of the photos are available through the aerial photographs Web pages. The UMESC plans to photograph the entire UMRS floodplain again in 2000, georectify the images, and place them online as well.
The LTRMP has field stations collecting data within six study reaches of the UMRS. The Mid- Continent Science Center (MESC) was contracted to interpret and computerize 1989 photography of LTRMP study reaches, and four other project areas. In 1991, LTRMP personnel began interpreting aerial photography. MESC interpreters used a minimum mapping unit of <1 acre and a minimum of 10% vegetation cover; LTRMP interpreters use a minimum mapping unit of 1 acre and a minimum of 10% vegetation cover.
Photography is interpreted to delineate three feature types: land cover/land use, percent vegetation cover, and tree height. Examples of how photographs are interpreted follow:
1. Working within an area of forested islands, no aquatic vegetation.
The interpreter first locates then marks the land/water interface. Each island is studied to see if more than one land cover/land use type is present. If multiple types are present, the interpreter analyzes the area to see if the trees are growing in a mixture or if unique stands of trees are present. Each polygon is then labeled with the appropriate vegetation code followed by a character describing the percent of the island covered by the trees (i.e., canopy closure). The average tree height is then calculated and recorded.
2. A sand bar/dredge spoil island sparsely vegetated with grass.
As with the previous example, the interpreter first marks the outer boundary of the sand bar. If all of the vegetation is localized within one region of the sand bar and the area is large enough to be mapped, a boundary line is drawn around the vegetation. If the vegetation is so sparse that it does not cover at least 10% of the sand surface, the grasses are ignored and the area is mapped as sand. If the grasses cover more than 10% of the sand surface, the area is mapped as grass and the percent vegetation cover is noted. Vegetation height is recorded only when trees are present.
3. A transition zone containing a mixture of various rooted and floating vegetation, emergents, and submergents.
The area containing the mixture is first separated from its surrounding features. The mixture is then analyzed to see if the region contains a uniform mixture of plants or several distinct regions of different plant mixtures. Each polygon is labeled with the appropriate vegetation code, then the percent vegetation cover is noted. LTRMP interpreters do not analyze plant mixtures to determine plant dominance. Therefore, the sequence in which mixed vegetation types are listed is arbitrary and does not represent plant dominance.
Average size and size ranges of the mixed plant beds vary within the UMRS, and are site specific. It should be noted that while LTRMP interpreters use a small minimum mapping unit, sometimes the mixed vegetation beds are very large. Example: Within UMRS Pools 7 and 8, the mean size of a mixed vegetation polygon is 2-5 acres, but they range in size from <1 acre to 178 acres. Single polygons >50 acres in size have been created for
and polygons >150 acres have been created for
LTRMP photo interpreters use a genus-level classification scheme. A 13-class generalized classification scheme was also developed for regrouping the data. A numeric classification scheme is then used to relate the two classification schemes. An explanation of LTRMP vegetation codes follows.
- Each LTRMP generalized vegetation group has been assigned a number that is a multiple of 100. Example: Open Water is 100, Submergents is 200.
- Each vegetation type was then assigned a numeric value that related it to the 13 vegetation groups. Example: The submergent Myriophyllum (Water Milfoil) is 202.
- Vegetation types unique to historical coverages have been assigned values of 50 or above. Example:Sagittaria latifolia (Broad Arrowhead) is 751. The 700 portion of the number signifies that Sagittaria latifolia is an Emergent, while the 51 signifies that this vegetation class is not in use by LTRMP photo interpreters.
101 Lemnaceae - Duckweed (floating) - Duckweed has been assigned an Open Water classification because of its mobile tendencies; Duckweed goes wherever the wind takes it.
102 Azolla - Water Fern
201 Lemnaceae/submergents - Duckweed/submergent vegetation mixture
202 Myriophyllum - Water Milfoil
203 Zosterella - Water Star Grass
204 Vallisneria/Zosterella - Wild Celery/Water Star Grass mixture
205 Myriophyllum/Zosterella - Water Milfoil/Water Star Grass mixture
206 Vallisneria/Potamogeton - Wild Celery/Pondweed mixture
207 Myrioph/Potamoget/Vallis - Water Milfoil/Pondweed/Wild Celery mixture
208 Potamoget/Vallis/Zost/Cerat - Pondweed/Wild Celery/Water Star Grass/Coontail mixture
209 Elodea - Waterweed
250* Vallisneria/Potamoget/Heteran - Wild Celery/Pondweed/Water Stargrass mixture. Note: The name of this class was established by the classification of the GREAT data. Since then, the genus Heterantha has been changed to Zosterella.
251* Ceratophyllum - Coontail
252* Lemnaceae/Ceratophyllum - Duckweed/Coontail mixture
253* Lemna/Ceratophyll/Potamogeton - Duckweed/Coontail/Pondweed mixture
254* Potamogeton - Pondweed
255* Vallisneria - Wild Celery
* This class was assigned a historical classification number (50's) because at the time it was assigned its number, this class was only utilized within the GREAT river study coverages (1970's).
301 Brasenia/submergents - Watershield/submergent vegetation mixture
302 Nelumbo/Nymphaea/submerg/Lemn - American Lotus/White Water Lily/submergent vegetation/Duckweed mixture
303 Nelumbo/submergents - American Lotus/submergent vegetation
304 Nelumbo/submergents/Lemnaceae - American Lotus/submergent vegetation/Duckweed mixture
305 Nymphaea/Nelumbo/submergents - White Water Lily/American Lotus/submergent vegetation mixture
306 Nymphaea/submergents - White Water Lily/submergent vegetation mixture
307 Nymphaea/submergents/Lemnaceae - White Water Lily/submergent vegetation/Duckweed mixture
308 Nymphaea/Myriophyllum - White Water Lily/Water Milfoil mixture
309 Nelumbo/Myriophyllum - American Lotus/Water Milfoil mixture
310 Nelumbo/Nymphaea/Myriophyllum - American Lotus/White Water Lily/Water Milfoil mixture
311 Nymph/Ceratoph/Myriophyl/Lemna - White Water Lily/ Coontail/Water Milfoil/Duckweed mixture
312 Nymphaea/Ceratophyllum/Lemna - White Water Lily/Coontail/Duckweed mixture
313 Nuphar/submergents - Yellow Water Lily/submergents mixture. Note: Nuphar and Nymphaea cannot be differentiated on aerial photography. Nuphar is used in areas where it is known to occur; otherwise, Nymphaea is the default water lily genus.
314 Nuphar/Nympheae/submergents - Yellow Water Lily/White Water Lily/submergents mixture
401 Nelum/Nymph/Sag/Sparg/sub/Lemn - American Lotus/White Water Lily/Arrowhead/Bur Reed/submergents/Duckweed mixture
402 Nelum/Nymph/Ponted/sub/Lemn - American Lotus/White Water Lily/Pickerelweed/submergents/Duckweed mixture
403 Scirpus/Nelumbo/submergents - Bulrush/American Lotus/submergents mixture
404 Scirpus/Nymphaea/submergents - Bulrush/White Water Lily/submergents mixture
405 Zizania/Nymphaea/Nelumbo/sub - Wild Rice/White Water Lily/American Lotus/submergents mixture
406 Pontederia/Nymph/Nelumbo/sub - Pickerelweed/White Water Lily/American Lotus/submergents mixture
407 Sagit/Ceratophyllum/Lemnaceae - Arrowhead/Coontail/Duckweed mixture
408 Nelumbo/Sagittaria/submergents - American Lotus/Arrowhead/submergents mixture
409 Nelumbo/Nymphaea/Sagittaria/submergents - American Lotus/White Water Lily/Arrowhead/submergents mixture
410 Nymphaea/Zizania/submergents - White Water Lily/Wild Rice/submergents mixture
501 Brasenia - Watershields
502 Jussiaea - Water Primrose
503 Nelumbo - American Lotus
504 Nelumbo/Lemnaceae - American Lotus/Duckweed mixture
505 Nelumbo/Nymphaea - American Lotus/White Water Lily mixture
506 Nuphar - Yellow Water Lily - Note: Nuphar and Nymphaea cannot be differentiated on aerial photography. Nuphar is used in areas where it is known to occur; otherwise, Nymphaea is the default water lily genus.
507 Nymphaea - White Water Lily
508 Nelumbo/Nymphaea/Lemnaceae - American Lotus/White Water Lilly/Duckweed mixture
509 Nymphaea/Lemnaceae - White Water Lily/Duckweed mixture
601 Nelumbo/Nymphaea/Sagittaria - American Lotus/White Water Lily/Arrowhead mixture
602 Nymphaea/Sagittaria - White Water Lily/Arrowhead mixture
603 Nymphaea/Scirpus - White Water Lily/Bulrush mixture
604 Sagittaria/Nelumbo - Arrowhead/American Lotus mixture
605 Nymphaea/Zizznia - White Water Lily/Wild Rice
701 Acorus - Sweetflag Grass
702 Carex - Sedges
703 Cyperus - Flat Sedge
704 Decodon - Water Willow
705 Echinodorus - Burheads
706 Eleocharis - Spike Rush
707 Lythrum salicaria - Purple Loosestrife
708 Pontederia - Pickerel Weed
709 Sagittaria - Arrowhead
710 Sagittaria/Lemnaceae - Arrowhead/Duckweed mixture
712 Sagittaria/Scirpus/Sparganium - Arrowhead/Bulrush/Bur Reed mixture
713 Sagittaria/Sparganium - Arrowhead/Bur Reed mixture
714 Scirpus - Bulrush
715 Scirpus/Sagittaria - Bulrush/Arrowhead mixture
716 Scirpus/Sparganium - Bulrush/Bur Reed mixture
717 Sedge meadow - A very wet meadow dominated by sedges. Other emergents may be mixed within.
718 Sparganium - Bur Reed
719 Typha - Cattail
720 Typha/Sagittaria - Cattail/Arrowhead mixture
721 Typha/Scirpus - Cattail/Bulrush mixture
722 Typha/Scirpus/Sparganium - Cattail/Bullrush/Bur Reed mixture
723 Typha/Sparganium - Cattail/Bur Reed mixture
724 Zizania - Wild Rice
725 Equisetum - Horsetail - To date, only a handful of polygons have been recognizable on aerial photos. All were located within UMRS Pools 5a and 6.
726 Dead Emergents - NOT IN USE!! This category was added in 1993 to map emergent vegetation beds containing standing crop killed by the 1993 flood. This class was only used during the interpretation of 1994 aerial photography.
727 Scirpus/Zizania - Bulrush/Wild Rice mixture
728 Typha/Sagittaria/Scirpus - Cattail/Arrowhead/Bulrush mixture
729 Typha/Sagittaria/Sparganium - Cattail/Arrowhead/Bur Reed mixture
730 Typha/Sagittaria/Scirpus/Sparganium - Cattail/Arrowhead/Bulrush/Bur Reed mixture
731 Typha/Lythrum - Cattail/Purple Loosestrife mixture
732 Scirpus/Lythrum - Bulrush/Purple Loosestrife mixture
801 Leersia/Carex/Polygonum - Cutgrass/Sedges/Smartweed mixture
802 Leersia/Carex/Sagit/Polygonum - Cutgrass/Sedges/Arrowhead/Smartweed mixture
803 Leer/Phalar/Scirp/Lythr/Phrag - Cutgrass/Reed Canary Grass/Bulrush/Purple Loosestrife/Common Reed mixture
804 Leersia/Sagittaria - Cutgrass/Arrowhead mixture
805 Sagittaria/Phalaris - Arrowhead/Reed Canary Grass mixture
806 Sagittaria/Polygonum - Arrowhead/Smartweed mixture
807 Sag/Sparg/Typ/Scirp/Leer/Phrag - Arrowhead/Bur Reed/Cattail/Bulrush/Cutgrass/Common Reed mixture
808 Scirpus/Leersia - Bulrush/Cutgrass mixture
809 Scirpus/Carex/Leersia/Polygon - Bulrush/Sedges/Cutgrass/Smartweed mixture
810 Scirpus/Phalaris - Bulrush/Reed Canary Grass mixture
811 Scirpus/Phragmites - Bulrush/Common Reed mixture
812 Scirpus/Polygonum - Bulrush/Smartweed mixture
813 Scirpus/Typha/Phalaris - Bulrush/Cattail/Reed Canary Grass mixture
814 Sparganium/Leersia - Bur Reed/Cutgrass mixture
815 Typha/grasses/forbs - Cattails intermixed with a variety of grasses and forbs.
816 Scirpus/grasses/forbs - Bulrush intermixed with a variety of grasses and forbs.
817 Sagittaria/Scirpus/Leersia - Arrowhead/Bulrush/Cutgrass mixture
818 Carex/Grasses/Forbs - Sedges intermixed with a variety of grasses and forbs.
819 Typha/Lythrum/Phragmites - Cattails/Purple Loosestrife/Common Reed mixture
820 Lythrum/Grasses/Forbs - Purple Loosestrife intermixed with a variety of grasses and forbs.
821 Sagittaria/Leersia/Polygonum - Arrowhead/Cutgrass/Smartweed mixture
822 Scirpus/Leersia/Polygonum - Bulrush/Cutgrass/Smartweed mixture
823 Scirpus/Leersia/Phalaris - Bulrush/Cutgrass/Reed Canary Grass mixture
824 Typha/Leersia - Cattail/Cutgrass mixture
901 Ambrosia - Ragweed
902 Grass - Used to delineate areas of mixed grasses. Abandoned/set aside fields are also placed within this class.
903 Hay meadow - Lowland (temporarily wet) areas, regularly cut and baled for hay.
904 Pasture (heavily grazed areas) - "Hay fields" regularly pastured with cattle or similar livestock.
905 Leersia - Cutgrass
906 Leersia/Polygonum - Cutgrass/Smartweed mixture
907 Meadow - Upland areas regularly cut and baled for hay.
908 Mixed forbs and/or grasses - Class used to describe a mixture of many different Grasses and Forbs. Note: Photo interpreters should not intermix the use of this class and class 900. Class 900 is to be used only for regrouping purposes.
909 Nettles - any nettles
910 Phalaris - Reed Canary Grass
911 Phalaris/Polygonum - Reed Canary Grass/Smartweed mixture
912 Phragmites - Common Reed
913 Phragmites/Phalaris - Common Reed/Reed Canary Grass mixture
914 Polygonum - Smartweed
915 Polygonum/Nelumbo - Smartweed/American Lotus mixture
916 Rdside-levee/grass/forbs/shrub - Any roadside ditch or levee. Example of a roadside: Delineation of a north/south roadway would begin on the far west side of the western ditch and go to the far eastern side of the eastern ditch. Both ditches and the road are included within the same polygon.
917 Sand-prairie - A very sandy area covered with very dry-soil grasses.
918 Spartina - Cord Grass
919 Vines as dense overgrowth - Any live stem vine growing as a dense covering.
920 Polygonum/Eupatorium - Smartweed/Eupatorium mixture
921 Dead Grass - NOT IN USE !!! Added in 1993 to map vegetation beds of standing crop killed by the 1993 flood. This class was only used during the interpretation of 1994 aerial photography.
922 Grass/forbs/shrubs - A variety of grasses and forbs intermixed with shrubs.
923 Leersia/Phalaris - Cutgrass/Reed Canary Grass mixture
924 Leersia/Phalaris/Polygonum - Cutgrass/Reed Canary Grass/Smartweed mixture
1001 Acer - Maples
1002 Acer/Populus and/or Salix - Maples/Cottonwood or Willow mixture
1003 Amorpha - False Indigo
1004 Betula - Birches
1005 Brush - Any small shrubby species
1006 Carya/Nyssa - Hickory/Sour Gums
1007 Cephalanthus - Button Bush
1008 Forest-mesic (moist soil sp.) - Plant communities occurring at low elevations. Forest-mesic can contain any combination of the following: Acer, Acer/Populus and/or Salix, Carya/Nyssa, Fraxinus, Betula, Brush, Cephalanthus, Conifers, Populus, Salix, Salix and/or Populus, Salix and/or Populus - grass, Quercus, Taxodium, Taxodium/Nyssa, and Ulmus.
1009 Forest-upland (dry soil sp.) - Plant communities occurring above the floodplain. Forest-upland can contain any combination of the following: Acer, Betula, Brush, Conifers, Fraxinus, Juniperus, Plantation, Populus, and Quercus.
1010 Fraxinus - Ash
1011 Plantation - Any group of planted, cultivated trees. Examples include apple orchards, Christmas tree farms, and stands of planted pines.
1012 Populus - Cottonwood
1013 Quercus - Oaks
1014 Salix - Willows
1015 Salix and/or Populus - Willows and/or Cottonwood
1016 Salix and/or Populus - grass - Willows and/or Cottonwood mixed with grasses
1017 Shrub/grass/forbs - Shrub/grass/forbs mixture
1018 Shrub/Scirpus - Shrub/Bulrush mixture
1019 Taxodium - Bald Cypress
1020 Taxodium/Nyssa - Bald Cypress/Sour Gum
1021 Ulmus - Elm
1022 Conifers - Naturally occurring cone-bearing trees (unplanted)
1023 Juniperus - Eastern Redcedar
1024 Populus/Acer/Ulmus/Fraxinus community - Populus/Acer/Ulmus/Fraxinus is found principally in bottomlands and floodplains bordering rivers and streams in the central U.S. The principle components are American elm, green ash, eastern cottonwood, and silver maple, occurring singly or in combination. Major associates may include hackberry, American sycamore, black willow, river birch, and boxelder. The dominant species named above may or may not be present in a particular stand, but it is not possible to conclusively determine exact species make-up from aerial photos. This community is found on low floodplain elevations where flooding is frequent and soils may be poorly-drained.
1025 Quercus/Carya community - Quercus/Carya bottomland/forests in which species of oak and hickories dominate. Common dominant species include pin oak, bur oak, pecan, shellbark hickory, and shagbark hickory. Major associates include locust, persimmon, sycamore, silver maple, cottonwood, elm, ash, boxelder, and dogwood. Quercus/Carya communities are found on relatively high floodplain elevations where flooding is infrequent and soils are well-drained.
1026 Salix community - Salix communities include pure stands of sandbar willow, black willow, peachleaf willow, or a combination of the species. There are no associates, since this is an early successional community that is quickly replaced by more shade tolerant species such as silver maple or boxelder.
1027 Populus community - Populus communities are pure stands of eastern cottonwood without associates. This is an early successional community that will be replaced by more shade tolerant species, such as silver maple, boxelder, and elm.
1028 Salix/Populus community - Salix/Populus are mixed communities found near the water's edge on newly formed substrates such as mud bars, points, and shorelines. Young stands are often so dense that other species are excluded. Older stands are eventually invaded by shade tolerant species such as silver maple, elm, and boxelder. These stands may also contain other water-tolerant woody vegetation such as swamp-privet, water locust, swamp holly, and buttonbush.
1029 Quercus/Nyssa/Taxodium community - Quercus/Nyssa/Taxodium communities are dominated by tupelo gum, sweetgum, oaks, or bald cypress. The soil is often water-logged to within a few inches of the surface during the growing season. Standing water is common and often supports beds of duckweed, smartweed, and other forbs.
1030 Acer/Tilia community - Acer/Tilia communities are dominated by silver maple and American basswood. Common associates include elm, ash, cottonwood, and boxelder.
1031 Upland Forest community - Upland Forest are communities found in higher reaches of the floodplain that are rarely flooded and consist of species not commonly associated with bottomlands such as red oaks, white oak, eastern red cedars, and sugar maple. Often these communities are found on glacial outwash sand deposits or on the upper edges of the floodplain.
1032 Cephalanthus community - Cephalanthus communities are dominated by buttonbush and are found in moist soils often in association with emergents.
1033 Mixed shrubs community - Mixed shrub communities are shrub stands in which it is not possible to identify the dominant species. Common species include alder, dogwood, cephalanthus, amorpha, and water-privet.
1034 Plantation community - Plantation are artificially established stands of trees that may include red pine, jack pine, and white pine.
1201 Developed - Shopping malls, industrial parks, military depots, farmsteads, storage facilities, and isolated industrial sites (built in the middle of a rural area) are considered developed.
1202 Developed parks - City and state parks are included in this category but only those areas actively used by humans. Examples are picnic areas, campgrounds, administrative buildings, and interpretive complexes.
1203 Industrial pond - Examples of industrial ponds are water coolant ponds and fish ponds actively managed for industrial or research use (i.e., fish farms and hatcheries).
1204 Urban - Residential areas, including schools.
1205 Revetted Bank - Riprap used to control bank erosion.
1301 Mud- Mud
1303 Sand - Sand
The first group of modifiers is used to describe the average height of polygons containing Woody Terrestrial vegetation.
1 0-20 Feet Tall
2 21-50 Feet Tall
3 >50 Feet Tall
The second group of modifiers is used to describe vegetation density within an interpreted polygon. No attempts have been made to utilize these modifiers to describe plant dominance within mixed species polygons.
A 10-33% Vegetation Cover
B 34-67% Vegetation Cover
C 68-90% Vegetation Cover
D >90% Vegetation Cover