A Coastal Land Cover Classification System for the NOAA Coastwatch Change Analysis Project


  • Victor V. Klemas
  • Jerome E. Dobson
  • Randolph L. Ferguson
  • Kenneth D. Haddad


A land cover classification system for coastal uplands. wetlands, and photic submersed habitats has been developed for NOAA's C-CAP Project in support of management of fisheries habitats and living marine resources and to provide opportunities for federal, state. and regional cooperation and data sharing. The classification system is hierarchical, reflects ecological relationships, optimizes discrimination by satellite remote sensors, and is usable with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It is compatible with other data bases, e.g., the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) and the USGS Land Use/Land Cover Classification System. The C-CAP classification system includes three major categories: uplands, wetlands, and water and submerged lands. While the latter two categories are the primary areas of interest for NOAA. Uplands are also included because land use there may influence adjacent wetlands and water bodies. The C-CAP classification was designed for use with satellite imagery; it represents an adaptation of three earlier systems: ANDERSON et al. (1976), COWARDIN et al. (1979), and USGS (1992).