Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography & Geographic Information Science

First Advisor

Gregory Vandeberg


Remote sensing is an effective tool to inventory and monitor wetlands at large spatial scales. This study examined the effect of wetland restoration practices at Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge (GRNWR) in northwest Minnesota on the distribution, location, size and temporal changes of wetlands. A Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA) land cover classification method was applied that integrated spectral data, LiDAR elevation, and LiDAR derived ancillary data of slope, aspect, and TWI. Accuracy of remote wetland mapping was compared with onsite wetland delineation.

The GEOBIA method produced land cover classifications with high overall accuracy (88 – 91 percent). Wetland area from a June 12, 2007 classified image was 20.09 km2 out of a total area of 147.3 km2. Classification of a July 22, 2014 image, showed wetlands covering an area of 37.96 km2. The results illustrate how wetland areas have changed spatially and temporally within the study landscape. These changes in hydrologic conditions encourage additional wetland development and expansion as plant communities colonize rewetted areas, and soil conditions develop characteristics typical of hydric soils.