Development of Satellite and GIS-based Tools to Assess and Model Lake Quality

Project Staff: 

Principal Investigators: Patrick L. Brezonik, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering; Marvin E. Bauer, Professor, Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory and Department of Forest Resources; Steve Kloiber, Metropolitan Council

Additional Staff: Leif Olmanson, Water Resource Center


Twin Cities Water Quality Initiative (TCQI), Metropolitan Council

Project Duration: 

December 1997 - December 1999


The project had two principal components. The first component focused on the use of satellite remote-sensing imagery to assess lake water quality and had three major objectives:

  1. to develop techniques and procedures for using Landsat imagery on a regional scale to assess trophic conditions in lakes of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA);
  2. to develop a detailed set of procedures describing these satellite-based methods for implementation on a routine basis by Metropolitan Council staff and similar agencies responsible for natural resource management; and
  3. to apply the satellite-based procedures to a series of images of the TCMA that span several decades to evaluate how lake trophic conditions, especially water clarity as measured by Secchi disk transparency, have changed over time and space in relation to changes in land-use and land-cover conditions.

The main objective of the second component was to assemble the necessary GIS databases and develop modeling procedures applicable at the small watershed scale to predict pollutant loadings and water quality responses in lakes across the TCMA based on size, drainage patterns, land-use/cover, and other related watershed information available in GIS format.