ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NOVEL APPROACH FOR IDENTIFYING PERENNIAL DRAINAGE IN SOUTHERN BRAZIL: A STUDY CASE INTEGRATING SENTINEL-2 AND HIGH-RESOLUTION DIGITAL ELEVATION MODELS WITH MACHINE LEARNING TECHNIQUES
Riparian vegetation plays a key role in maintaining water quality and preserving the ecosystems along riverine systems, as they prevent soil erosion, retain water by increased infiltration, and act as a buffer zone between rivers and their surroundings. Within urban spaces, these areas have also an important role in preventing illegal occupation in areas of hydrologic risk, such as in floodplains. The goal of this research is to propose a framework for identifying areas of permanent protection associated with perennial drainage, utilizing satellite imagery and digital elevation models (DEM) in association with machine learning techniques. The specific objectives include the development of a decision tree to retrieve perennial drainage over high resolution, 1-meter DEM’s, and the development of digital image processing workflow to retrieve surface water bodies from Sentinel-2 imagery. In-situ information on perennial and ephemeral conditions of streams and rivers were obtained to validate our results, that happened in the first trimester of 2020. We propose a minimum of 7 days without precipitation prior to in-situ validation, for more accurate assessment of streamflow conditions, in order to minimize impacts of surface water runoff in flow regime. The proposed method will benefit decision makers by providing them with reliable information on drainage network and their buffer zones, as well as yield detailed mapping of the areas of permanent protection that are key to urban planning and management.