NCDC technology helps protect Colorado Springs watershed, water supply

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COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, Nov. 16, 2006 -- Using high resolution satellite imagery and advanced analytical techniques, NCDC Imaging & Mapping is providing Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) with detailed feature mapping and vegetation analysis to help assess, manage and monitor the Pikes Peak watershed. Reservoirs in the watershed are the primary local source of water for Colorado Springs residents.

The primary goal of the project is to obtain current information to update management plans that protect the overall watershed and forest health. By accurately mapping these natural resources, CSU can reduce wildfire threat to water supplies, wildlife habitat and public recreation areas.

"We knew that NCDC could deliver accurate stand inventory data, slope analysis and access information in a timely manner", said Vic Ecklund, Chief Forester in CSU's Water Resources Department. "Their background in forestry, wildfire and natural resource management is extensive and professional."

Mountain pine beetle, which will also be mapped by NCDC, are killing large areas of Colorado's pine forests. Beetle-infested areas are at higher risk for forest fires. Wildfires compromise water quality and burned forests need decades to fully recover. Forest planning, management, and mitigation practices identified by satellite imagery and mapping solutions can reduce watershed wildfire dangers and protect critical natural resources.

CSU owns about 13,000 acres in the Pikes Peak watershed, which is managed under contract by the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS). NCDC is providing software training to CSFS employees so they can use their new geographic information system (GIS) data more effectively.

Naomi Marcus, CSFS forester in the Woodland Park District office, said, "I had seen some of NCDC's data before and was certainly impressed. After we met and described our particular requirements and goals, we felt very comfortable that NCDC would deliver exactly what we were looking for."

NCDC's automated feature extraction methodology is using QuickBird satellite imagery to update critical geospatial forest information. With QuickBird's two-foot resolution multispectral imagery, NCDC created a solution for CSFS to distinguish individual trees to calculate forest density, composition, structure, biomass and health issues related to the mountain pine beetle. CSFS can also map roads, power lines, trails, structures and cultural sites in the watershed.

A division of Colorado Springs based Native Communities Development Corporation, NCDC Imaging & Mapping (www.ncdcimaging.com) provides satellite image mapping and change detection services to businesses, public utilities, local, state, federal, and tribal governments. These solutions are applied to a wide range of applications, including: wild land fire risk assessment, urban forestry management, enhanced 911 mapping to improve emergency response services, mapping of pervious and impervious surfaces for storm-water drainage capital project planning, and detection of invasive species and biomass energy sources. An authorized DigitalGlobe reseller, NCDC specializes in the image processing and advanced analysis of Quickbird satellite imagery. Clients include: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pueblo County, City & County of Denver, Public Service Company of New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation.

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