Shown on Success Stories Page

Lynker Partnership Tracks Wetland & Beaver Pond Changes Using Cutting Edge Technology

Lynker Technologies, in collaboration with Lynker Analytics and the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) at Colorado State University, have been commissioned to identify and map changes in vegetated wetlands and beaver ponds throughout the Colorado River Basin over the past decade. The project is sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation’s Environment Program, which works to protect and support a climate-resilient and healthy Colorado River Basin where nature and communities thrive together.

Freshwater wetlands have been rated as the world’s most valuable land-based ecosystem. They soak up floodwaters, alleviate droughts, reduce erosion, sequester carbon and provide habitat for fish, wildlife and plants. By creating dams that trap sediment and slow water flow, beavers reliably and economically maintain wetlands in North America. By one estimate, as much as one meter of sediment per year is caught behind beaver dams, and some sites can be occupied for up to fifty years.

Figure 1. Beaver dam and pond in the headwaters of the Colorado River basin. Photo: Sarah Marshall, CNHP

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) tracks the status and trends of wetlands across the United States. The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI), maintained by USFWS, is a nation-wide map of wetlands that has been created over several decades by multiple different mapping partners. The dataset is incredibly valuable, but does not track changes over time and the age of the data is variable across the West.

This is the first project of its kind, wherein the research team will use state-of-the-art remote sensing and machine learning techniques to map the extent of wetlands as well as the presence of beaver ponds and their changes over time. The mapping and analysis will be carried out using high resolution 4-band aerial photography from the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) and LiDAR acquired by the government between 2006 and 2021.

Deep learning algorithms will be developed to identify and classify wetland areas and detect beaver ponds from the data available over multiple time periods throughout the basin. “Deep learning is a is a subset of machine learning that uses artificial neural networks to learn complex and intricate patterns in large data sets” says Matt Lythe, Managing Director of Lynker Analytics.  “We will use supervised learning to detect and classify beaver ponds and wetlands within the river basin with multiple machine learning models developed to account for landscape differences across the river basin” he goes on to say.

CNHP’s team of wetland ecologists will provide direct human-model training using local knowledge of these complexes and conduct a field survey in several areas to ground truth the system and measure accuracy.  “Beaver ponds have a characteristic morphology and signature in multi-spectral imagery which lends itself to supervised learning” adds Dr. Sarah Marshall, Ecohydrologist at CNHP.

Figure 2. Beaver ponds identified for training data using NAIP imagery

Scheduled for completion in May 2022, this project aims to produce an evidence-based analysis of wetland coverage and beaver activity over the past decade and enable monitoring to be carried out long term as imagery and LiDAR data are acquired.

The work will give the Walton Family Foundation Environment Program, scientists, and policy officials a more detailed understanding of wetland extent across the basin and enable further investigation of changes in the environment due to climate and human impacts over time.

Lynker is a 6X Awardee on Inc 5000 List!

Lynker has made the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America, for the 6th year in a row!  Congrats to our Team!

Lynker Wins Two NOAA OCM Contracts!

Lynker wins two OCM Technical Support Services contracts! We are excited to be able to continue our support to NOAA’s National Ocean Service, Office for Coastal Management (OCM) providing services including Application and Data Services, IT Infrastructure Support, Management and Administration, Finance, Facilities and Security, Geospatial Support, Social Science, Training, Fellowships, and Communications and Outreach.

Photo Credit: NOAA

Lynker Staff Receive CO-OPS Director’s Awards

We are proud of our Lynker staff who received the CO-OPS Director’s Awards for 2021! These awards are given to superior individuals and teams who demonstrate achievement in advancing CO-OPS strategic goals.

Congratulations to Lynker’s…
•    Edward Davis & Analise Keeney on The HAB (Harmful Algal Bloom) Team for receiving the Team Award for Leadership
•    Julia Engdahl for the Individual Award for Professional Excellence
•    Mojgan Rostaminia, Ph.D. for the Team Award for Scientific & Technical Excellence
•    Nicole Kruz for the Individual Award for Customer Service
•    Mark Hafez, Vuai David, Shaena R., & Max Ivanov, the Chesapeake Instruments Lab members who won the team award for Customer Service
•    Analise Keeney for the Individual Award for Employee Engagement

Jaci Crossman Awarded NMFS Team Member of the Year!

Congratulations to Lynker’s Jacquelyn Crossman for being selected as the NOAA NMFS 2020 Team Member of the Year! Jaci’s exceptional support providing online access to references and developing a digital archive for hundreds of photographs and publications under mandatory work-from-home conditions due to the global pandemic led to this National Marine Fisheries award. Way to go Jaci!

Lynker Wins NOAA MCD Contract

Lynker is thrilled to have won a 5-year contract with NOAA National Ocean Service Marine Chart Division (MCD) called Geographic Information System Software Solutions and Development! Services we’ll be providing include GIS, Web and Cloud Consulting Services, Management, Training, and System Support Activities at the NOAA HQ in Silver Spring, MD.

Photo Credit: NOAA

Nate Murry Awarded Team Member of the Month!

Congratulations to Lynker’s Nathan Murry for receiving NOAA’s Team Member of the Month at the National Ocean Service! Nate has continuously found ways to improve processes like single-handedly developing a VDatum Oceanographic/Geodetic Assessment Tool — a web map that layers copious amounts of data to pinpoint optimal locations for water level observing systems. This tool has significantly improved collection of oceanographic data. Nate also developed a Contaminated Water and Dive Safety web tool that uses datasets from NOAA, EPA, and state monitoring programs to assess localized contamination risks for scuba divers handling NOAA work. Nate has created a suite of software that substantially furthers NOAA’s mission for years to come.

Lynker Donates Consulting Support to Rural Uganda

Lynker’s water resources staff donated consulting support to Kanaama Interactive Community Support (KICS), a nonprofit seeking to expand access to safe water to a rural Ugandan sub-county. Lynker scientists collected and mapped current water access and climatological data, worked with KICS staff to obtain water quality samples and analyzed economically viable technical solutions. The work culminated in an ArcGIS StoryMap, a visual narrative that walks through existing water sources, community perspectives, solutions, and recommendations.  Click here for more information https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/4ec32b8df6bc427ebadc5c3c383f5f2e

Amy Berman Receives Prestigious Margaret Davidson Award!

Congratulations to Lynker’s Amy Berman for receiving the prestigious Margaret A Davidson Award!

The Margaret Adelia Davidson (MAD) Award recognizes Office for Coastal Management employees that embody and model the values embraced by Margaret Davidson. These values include:

  • Innovation (New Ideas or Approaches and Risk Taking)
  • Extreme Networking and Partnership (Creating New or Unique Connections and Maintaining Existing Ones)
  • Challenging the Norm (Speaking Up for Positive Change; Not Standing on Dogma)
  • Motivating and Mentoring Others
  • Random Acts of Kindness and Caring

Estimating the Value of NOAA’s Digital Coast

The Digital Coast, a NOAA-hosted platform containing data, tools, training, and more, is a valuable resource communities use to address coastal issues. Lynker team members support NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management to create and maintain these resources and provide technical support to the communities that rely on them. Up until this point, staff have depended on testimonies from users to measure the worth of everything the Digital Coast has to offer. While these accounts do a great job of showcasing the variety of issues the Digital Coast can help to mitigate, they can’t put a dollar value on what this website provides. 

Resources for the Future, a nonprofit organization, recently developed a report—The Societal Value of NOAA’s Digital Coast—indicating just how valuable this platform is. Research techniques included case studies, literature reviews, and examinations of typical uses; one study alone estimates that a one-time use of the Sea Level Rise Viewer to move critical infrastructure yielded societal benefits of $1.1 million to $2.2 million. Another study estimates that trainings yield benefits of $1.8 to $9.7 million annually—concluding, collectively, that the Digital Coast offers “considerable demonstrated value to the public across its variety of programs.”  We’re so proud of all of our Lynker team members working to support this platform every day!