Having an accurate picture of an area's landscape and understanding how that landscape is changing is important information for any planning effort. Land cover data can help provide that big-picture view.
The data seen in the map below was derived through NOAA's Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP). C-CAP produces nationally standardized land cover and land change information for the coastal regions of the U.S. Multiple dates of satellite imagery are used to document changes in various types of land cover. The land cover for can be seen below.
These summary sheets provide an easy way to understand some of the important information derived from these data for .
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Land Cover Basics
percent or square miles of this changed.
Communities comparing data from one year to the next can evaluate how their land use management efforts are working, and can also use information on trends to aid future planning initiatives. In this bar chart, showing each land cover class, the difference between the two bars represents the net difference in the area for that category.
Area Gained - Area Lost = Net change
Net change numbers can be deceiving; forests may be lost on one side of the , while another area may experience an increase. The net change might be minimal, yet the total area of change could be substantial, and the quality of new growth areas may be different than those lost. It is important to look at these offsetting losses and gains, in addition to the overall net difference.
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Development and Impervious Surfaces (2006)
% of Noble County is developed and % is impervious.
More development means more impervious surfaces, which translates into a greater risk for increased flooding and decreased water quality. Areas with impervious surface rates approaching or exceeding 12 percent to 15 percent will likely experience negative impacts to water quality. Severe degradation can be expected when rates reach 25 percent. This chart highlights the percentage of the developed in 2006.
square miles of development and square miles of impervious surfaces were gained between 1996 and 2006.
Low density and open space development can impact water quality negatively, though usually to a lesser degree than with higher density development. This graph shows how each type of development changed between 1996 and 2006.
What's Being Lost
Unlike natural land cover changes, land lost to development tends to be permanent. This graph shows the types of lands that changed to developed between 1996 and 2006. It does not show any potential losses of previously developed areas, as this is a rare occurrence.
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Current State of Forests (2006)
% of Noble County is forest.
Healthy forests are a vital part of a healthy ecosystem, but it is important to understand the types of forest that are present. This chart shows the percentage of the that is forested as well as the percentage in uplands and wetlands.
square miles of the forest was between 1996 and 2006.
Knowing which types of forests are being lost or gained can be as important as knowing about changes in the total forest area. Different forest types can differ in ecosystem value. This graph highlights changes in each forest type over a specific time frame.
What is Changing
A forest can go through a transitional period after a fire, other natural disaster, or logging operation, but typically can be expected to recover. Some losses, such as forests converted to development, tend to be permanent. This graph highlights the transformation of forestlands into different land cover types. It also highlights the origin of any forest gains.
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Current State of Wetlands (2006)
% of Noble County is wetland.
Wetlands are among the most productive environments on Earth. Wetlands provide habitat and food, buffer the impacts of storm surge and flooding, and help control erosion. Wetlands also absorb, store, and filter urban and agricultural runoff to maintain water quality. This chart highlights how much of the is covered by wetlands.
square miles of wetlands were between 1996 and 2006.
When a wetland area or type undergoes change, the benefits of the wetland will change as well. Understanding which type of wetland is changing, and how, can help in determining the eventual impacts of the change. This graph highlights the change or changes in each type of wetland.
What Is Changing
Understanding wetland changes can help communities identify potential management actions to reverse or mitigate the trend. This graph highlights the transformation of lost wetlands into different land cover types. It also highlights the origin of any wetland gains.
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Understanding how your 's land cover has changed over the years is an excellent way to document trends, understand the effects of past land use decisions, and consider future land use planning needs. This report, which covers 1996 and 2006, provides a solid foundation.
Communities adding additional data and analysis are able to generate findings designed to meet their specific needs. NOAA's Digital Coast provides data and information useful for this purpose. Visit the website at coast.noaa.gov/digitalcoast. Some examples are listed below.
For land cover needs not addressed in this report, custom queries can be made for different land cover categories from the C-CAP Land Cover Atlas using the Search tab.
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