Legacy Information

The following consists of legacy news and information copied from the previous version of the MapCoast website.

April 2008

Senator Jack Reed announces federal funding for soil Mapping. Download story from the Providence Journal: Prize Catch for fisheries (PDF, 42kb)

November 2007

The most recent issue (Vol. 4, No. 1 2007) of 41°N highlights the MapCoast Parntership, with contributed articles from MapCoast collaborators. You can access the articles online here.


July 2007

It has been over a year since our 3rd MapCoast user conference was held in February. Since that event the Partnership has been very active continuing our mapping efforts, developing mapping protocol and techniques, expanding our partners, and conducting outreach. Below are some highlights of MapCoast activities during 2006 and 2007.


US Fish and Wildlife recently signed on as a MapCoast partner. Preliminary bathymetry work was done at the Trustom Pond Fish and Wildlife Preserve.


The URI pedology lab has some new faces representing MapCoast. Alex Salisbury, a NRS graduate student will be working on interpretations based on soils such as eelgrass habitat potential, shellfish growth potential, and dredge material disposal concerns. Sally Paul, a Coastal Fellow at URI will be assisting him this summer. Crissy Pruett will begin working on her master's degree with Mark Stolt on subaqueous soils. Maggie Payne has joined the RI NRCS as a Coastal Pedologist; Maggie completed her Masters Thesis which studied the subaqueous soils of Greenwich Bay, Wickford Harbor, and Little Narragansett Bay.

Work Update:

The MapCoast field crew has been working hard in the summer of 2006 and work is ramping up again for the 2007 season. Work has been completed on Ninigret Pond and soils, habitat, bathymetry, and other data are currently available on the MapCoast website. Quonochontaug (Quonnie) Pond was the focus of most of the mapping efforts in the summer of 2006. With only a few more field days, mapping will be completed this summer. Soil and sidescan mapping also began in Wickford Harbor and Greenwich Bay. In 2007, the field crew aims to employ its mapping protocol on Point Judith Pond.

Papers and Publicity:

MapCoast members continue to be active in regional and national discussions regarding shallow water mapping efforts. We had a large showing at the Coastal GeoTools conference hosted by the NOAA Coastal Service Center at which over 400 coastal resource professionals gathered to discuss technology used in managing coastal areas, MapCoast talks and posters were presented at 5 different sessionsj. As a result of our strong showing at this conference, MapCoast was invited to a workshop to provide input for the continued development of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) being developed by NOAA as a national standard for classification of marine systems. This workshop took place in early June, and attempt will be made this season to implement the updated CMECS system. Subaqueous soils work was presented at the 2006 Soil Science Society of America Meeting in Indianapolis, the National Cooperative Soil Survey Conference in St. Paul, and the Society of Soil Scientists of Southern New England Spring conference. The Estuarine Research Foundation (ERF) conference is coming up on November 4-8 right here in Providence, RI, and MapCoast members will make a showing at this event (visit: http://www.erf.org/erf2007/).

Locally, MapCoast was featured in the Channel 10 Watershed Watch Report which featured the SPI camera and Side-Scan Sonar technology used in Wickford Harbor. Additionally, Chip Young and all of the steering team members have been working on putting together a 41˚ North publication on MapCoast due out later this year.


In the past year, we have been fortunate to be able to obtain various new mapping and analysis tools that will assist in the MapCoast efforts. An underwater video camera will help to ground-truth sidescan sonar data. NRCS recently acquired a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) unit that will provide subsurface data on the coastal soils, Electro-Magnetic Induction meter for mapping salinity gradients in tidal marshes, an R-8 RTK GPS to aid with bathymetric mapping, and a YSI water quality meter that reads dissolved oxygen, salinity, and pH. The YSI will be used in assessing water quality parameters at each site soils data is gathered. A new vibra-core unit has also been ordered.


July 2005

Since our Nov. 2004 conference the MapCoast partnership has been very active. The following are some of the highlights of our activities during 2005:

Steering Team Update:

RI State Conservationist and Chair of the Steering Team, Judith Doerner, has taken the State Conservationist position in Vermont. Replacing Judy is Roylene Rides at the door who will be taking over as Chair once she gets settled into her new position. Kathryn Ford also announced that she has accepted a position in Massachusetts and will be starting work there this fall. On the good side, Kathryn has agreed to stay on the Steering Team and try to get Massachusetts onboard with our goal.

Two new people have joined the Steering Team. Cheryl Hapke is a research geologist with the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center stationed in the Department of Geosciences at URI. Her work focuses on remote sensing, GIS and photogrammetric analyses of coastal hazards and coastal change. Carol Thornber is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Biological Sciences at URI. She is a macroalgal ecologist with a PhD in marine ecology from UC Santa Barbara, and her current research includes studies on macroalgal blooms in Narragansett Bay, as well as other ecological questions.

2005 Work Plan:

A CESU agreement to complete the field work in Ninigret Pond and begin work in Narragansett Bay was drafted with funding coming from the RI USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. The field work has been underway since June and includes; completing the bathymetry of the shallow areas (RTK Survey) of Ninigret Pond (including Foster Cove), bathymetric data collection in Wickford Harbor and Greenwich Bay, completing the subaqueous soils mapping in Foster Cove and collecting additional soil cores for laboratory analysis, digitizing the depositional environment/benthic geologic habitat map of Ninigret Pond, and conducting remote sensing (side scan sonar, sub-bottom, etc.) operations and interpretations of the pond.

Coastal Data Update:

Aerial Photography: Giancarlo Cicchetti and Steve Rego with the U.S. EPA flew high resolution (unregistered/rectified) aerial photography of the coastal ponds on July 12, 2005. A 14 megapixel digital camera was used to image the coastal ponds from 1900 feet with a swath width of 1.4 km, overlapping flight lines, and a pixel size around 35 cm. Oblique aerial photos were also taken.

A subcommittee has been established to work on registering the images and providing a mosaic geo-tiff of the photographs. Other aerial photography of the bay and coastal ponds was not performed due to poor weather and water clarity. The RI Environmental Monitoring Collaborative Land Cover Subgroup met on July 13th to discuss technical specifications for statewide imagery, minutes from the meeting are available at: http://www.ci.uri.edu/Projects/RI-Monitoring/Docs/mapping%20summary.pdf.

Charts: CHARTS is a US Army Corps of Engineers and other partners (see link) mapping program that combines topographic (10,000 Hz) and bathymetric (1000 Hz) LIDAR survey, high resolution true color aerial photos (~16 cm pixel) and hyperspectral imagery. The goal of the USACE is to map the US coast every five years as part of the Regional Sediment Management Program. This summer was dedicated to mapping the northeast US. Jon Boothroyd and Janet Freedman met with the Army Corps in March 2005 for input on the state’s mapping needs. Despite our suggestions/concerns, the Army Corps decided to stick to their protocol (1000 meters seaward and 500 meters landward) only along the RI south shore and began mapping in August. The topographic data and imagery for the coastal beaches will be a great resource. We will have to wait to see the quality of the bathymetric data. Needless to say, we are a bit disappointed that the coverage was not expanded to the coastal ponds and Narragansett Bay.

Coastal Soil and Sediment Center:

The MapCoast partnership was formed as a result of the RI USDA-NRCS goal to establish a Center for Excellence in Subaqueous Soils in Rhode Island. The Center will be responsible for subaqueous soil survey activities within the Northeast region and also serve as a place where people will come to learn about subaqueous soils and how to map them following the protocol established with the Ninigret Pond demonstration project. The RI NRCS leadership staff has been working very hard to secure the funding for the Center and support for the initiative has been very positive from our National Office. We are anticipating the office will get funded for FY 06 or 07 but the funding has not been confirmed as of yet.

Public Relations:

Chip Young, Communication Liaison with URI’s Coastal Resources Center has been working with the partnership to develop information material about our goal. Chip wrote a one page sheet titled “Mapping Our Underwater Marine Resources – the MapCoast and BayMap Partnerships” which is available on the MapCoast website. Plans are also underway to feature the mapping effort in the 41o North publication and also as a feature on Channel 10 Watershed Watch.

Future Plans:

The Steering Team is working to set up a third user conference this Fall/Winter, a notice will be sent out through the MapCoast listserv. If there are any topics or issues the coastal community would like addressed are urged to contact the Steering Team. A planning conference for summer 2006 with the members of the partnership will be conducted in the Spring, we will be looking for input on which coastal pond to map during next summer.