Historical Aerial Surveys SE Mass

The table below summarizes historical aerial photographs used by Costa in his 1980 study of historical eelgrass distribution in Buzzards Bay and southeastern Massachusetts, plus some other later sources used on this website.  Although numerous dates are shown, many of the surveys are for small stretches of coast, or just for a particular town.  Most of the pre-1990 photographs exist only as film negatives or contact prints at the agencies, but digital scans can be ordered at $25 to $45 each.

Survey_Date Type Scale PhotoIndex Source Comments
1934-11-15 Map 1;25,000 Nautical Survey T-Sheet 1936 map (NOAA T-sheet) drawn from 11/15/1934 aerial photograph
1937? B&W Film 1:10,200 National Archives, M-568, Can G-12975, US Air Force Covers only New Bedford and Dartmouth, survey date obscured on index
1938-11-21 B&W Film 1:30,000 National Archives, Record Group 57 Cape Cod on this date. RG57 includes Waquoit (Eelgrass clear on GS-F-5-104). Photographs taken near low tide.
1938-12-13 B&W Film 1:30,000 Westport-Dartmouth-12-13-1938 National Archives, Record Group 58, NAR downloads and from contact print Costa archive. Survey includes west coast of Buzzards Bay. Water mostly turbid on this date. Photographs taken approximately 3 months after Hurricane of 1938, during a spring high tide, with poor water transparency. Preceding week temperatures above freezing with 4 inches of rain (New Bedford weather data). Example: GS-F-6-166 (Apponagansett)
1941-winter B&W Film 1:30,000 National Archives, Record Group 373, Can 6A-835 Ice in upper Apponagansett, but some eelgrass visible (E152)
1942–06?-?? B&W Film 1:30,000 National Archives, Record Group 373, Can H-14830 NB-9-464 good image of Westport. Survey time: early afternoon photo, shadow (~+15 degrees of N)
1943-06-24 B&W Film 1:30,000 National Archives, Record Group 373, Can 4A-896 Good imagery overall with relatively low altitude moderate wind waves in SW facing areas.  Example: MB-7-122 (Megansett-Wings Cove)
1944-07-18 B&W Film 1:20,000 137-G-1948 C&GS (USGS) Generally excellent for eelgrass analysis, good water transparency, low glare in protected areas.
1947-05-24 B&W Film 1:24,000 137-G-1948 C&GS (USGS) time: 13:00 EST at Apponagansett Bay
1947-05-27 B&W Film 1:24,000 137-G-1948 C&GS (USGS)
1948-05-02 B&W Film 1:24,000 137-G-1948 C&GS (USGS) Excellent Imagery
1951-09-28 B&W Film 1:5,000 Mass DPW?, survey firm unknown Includes New Bedford area, Low altitude and exceptional for document eelgrass beds, especially in areas already recovered from the Wasting Disease
1951-10-09 B&W Film 1:10,000 137-G2-1951 Low altitude and exceptional for document eelgrass beds, especially in areas already recovered from the Wasting Disease
1951-10-19 B&W Film 1:10,000 137-G2-1951 Low altitude and exceptional for document eelgrass beds, especially in areas already recovered from the Wasting Disease
1951-10-20 B&W Film 1:10,000 137-G2-1951 Low altitude and exceptional for document eelgrass beds, especially in areas already recovered from the Wasting Disease
1951-10-22 B&W Film 1:20,000 Umass? PMA DPL-2K-12 is off West Bay, exceptional transparency
1951-10-23 B&W Film 1:4-10,000 137-G2-1951 Low altitude and exceptional for document eelgrass beds, especially in areas already recovered from the Wasting Disease
1951-10-25 B&W Film 1:10,000 137-G2-1951 Low altitude and exceptional for document eelgrass beds, especially in areas already recovered from the Wasting Disease
1951-09-29 B&W Film 1:10,000 137-G2-1951
1952-07-26 1:20,000 UMass? DPT, Plymouth Cons. Dist.
1954-04-22 B&W Film 1:20,000 137-F5-1955, also in 137-F3? C&GS (USGS) Excellent imagery for Westport Harbor.
1955-03-14 B&W Film 1:20,000 to 1:30,000 137-F5-1955
1955-11-15 B&W Film 1:40,000 Though high altitude, good transparency and quality
1956-05-01 B&W Film 1:30,000 137F6_1956 C&GS (USGS) Good conditions overall except development contrast too high so that eelgrass cannot be seen except on sandy or bottoms.  Image enhancement required, however water transparency excellent.
1956-09-29 B&W Film 1:4,800 137-F7-1964 C&GS (USGS)
1958-04-30 B&W Film 1:10,000 MA DPW, survey by Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Long Island City
1957-04-22 B&W Film 1:25,000 137-F7-1964 C&GS (USGS)
1958-06-07 B&W Film 1:29,000 137-F7-1964 C&GS (USGS)
1959-04-17 B&W Film 1:30,000 137-G5-1962 C&GS (USGS)
1959-07-03 B&W Film 1:24,000 137-G5-1962 C&GS (USGS)
1959-09-19 B&W Film 1:24,000 to 1:30,000 137-F7-1964
137-G5-1962
C&GS (USGS) good example from Westport
1960-05-10 B&W Film USAF, AF-59-338 Very High altitude high contrast survey of limited utility for mapping eelgrass cover, probably worth ordering hires digital scans of imagery if available.  Example of Falmouth.
1960-05-26 B&W Film 1:29,500 137-G5-1962 C&GS (USGS)
1960-10-13 B&W Film 1:24,000 137-F7-1964 C&GS (USGS)
1960-10-18 B&W Film 1:20,000 137-G5-1962 C&GS (USGS)
1961-03-31 B&W Film 1:30,000 USDA? GS-VAEL Good example of Nasketucket Bay (1-162)
1961-04-09 B&W Film 1:30,000 137-G6-1963 C&GS (USGS)
1961-04-12 B&W Film 1:30,000 137-G6-1963 C&GS (USGS)
1961-04-15 B&W Film 1:36,000 137-G5-1962 C&GS (USGS) Good visibility in Osterville (W5822)
1961-04-17 B&W Film 1:15,000 137-G6-1963 C&GS (USGS)
1961-04-20 B&W Film 1:36,000 137-F7-1964
137-G5-1962
C&GS (USGS) Good visibility in Megansett (S7048)
1961-05-01 B&W Film 1:36,000 137-F7-1964
137-G5-1962
C&GS (USGS) Fair water transparency
1961-05-05 B&W Film 1:10,000 137-G5-1962 C&GS (USGS)
1962-03-23 Color Film 1:20,000 137-G7-1962 C&GS (USGS)
1962-03-25 Color Film 1:20,000 137-F9-1962 C&GS (USGS)
1962-04-09 B&W Film Altitude too high and development contrast too high so that eelgrass cannot be seen except on sandy bottoms.  Useful only in a few areas..
1962-04-09 Color Film 1:30,000 137-F8-1966
137-G6-1963
C&GS (USGS)
1962-04-10 Color Film 1:15,000 to 1:20,000 137-F2-1966 C&GS (USGS) Very good to excellent for eelgrass work.
1962-04-11 B&W Film 1:25,000 137-F7-1964
137-G8-1967
C&GS (USGS) Very good to excellent for eelgrass work.
1963-04-05 B&W Film 1;36,000 137-G8-1967 C&GS (USGS)
1963-04-06 B&W Film 1:36,000 137-F7-1964 C&GS (USGS)
1963-06-16 B&W Film 1:40,000 137-F7-1964 C&GS (USGS)
1963-06-16 Color Film 1:20,000 137-F2-1966 C&GS (USGS)
1963-06-16 B&W Film 1:15,000 137-G8-1967 C&GS (USGS)
1964-04-22 B&W Film 1:20,000 Good example from Westport
1964-10-01 B&W Film 1:20,000 137-G9-1965 C&GS (USGS)
1964-10-04 B&W Film 1:20,000 137-G9-1965 C&GS (USGS)
1964-10-31 Color Film 1:20,000 137-F10-1973 NOAA NOS Survey
1965-08-24 B&W Film 1:20,000 137-G8-1967 NOAA NOS Survey
1965-09-25 Color Film 1:40,001 137-F2-1966 NOAA NOS Survey
1965-09-27 Color Film 1:20,000 137-F2-1966 NOAA NOS Survey
1965-10-02 Color Film 1:30,000 to 1:40,000 137-F8-1966
137-F2-1966
C&GS (USGS) Very good for eelgrass interpretation
1965-10-02 B&W Film 1:24,000 137-G8-1967 C&GS (USGS)
1965-10-02 B&W Film 1:40,000 137-F8-1966 C&GS (USGS)
1966-02-22 B&W Film 1:40:000 USDA?  GS-VBKD February survey with ice cover in protected areas, but eelgrass clearly observable in some embayments.  Average water transparency.
1966-04-13 B&W Film 1:15,000 to 1:30,000 137-G8-1967 C&GS (USGS)
1966-04-26 B&W Film 1:24,000 137-G8-1967 C&GS (USGS)
1966-09-17 Color Film 1:20,000 137-G4-1974 C&GS (USGS) Good to excellent for eelgrass survey for eelgrass, excellent conditions in protected areas
1967-06-01 Color Film 1:30,000 137-F10-1973
137-G8-1967
NOAA NOS Survey
1967-06-03 Color Film 1:30,000 137-F10-1973 NOAA NOS Survey
1968-07-21 Color Film 1:30,000 137-G4-1974 NOAA NOS Survey Excellent survey for eelgrass interpretation.
1969-04-25 Color Film 1:30,000 137-F10-1973 NOAA NOS Survey
1969-11-13 B&W Film 1:24,000 USDA?  GS-VCIQ Good example of Vineyard Haven
1970-06-14 B&W Film 1:30,000 137-G10-1974
137-G4-1974
NOAA NOS Survey
1970-09-02 B&W Film 1:30,000 137-G10-1974 NOAA NOS Survey Good to excellent quality and transparency
1970-09-02 Color Film 1:20,000 137-G4-1974 NOAA NOS Survey
1970-09-12 Color Film 1:20,000 137-G4-1974 NOAA NOS Survey
1971-05-05 B&W Film 1:5,000? MA-DPW-7172A MA DPW Probably various dates. B&W slides of some annotated prints made by Costa. sample: 15544-5321
1971-05-14 B&W Film 1:24,000 USDA?  GS-VCRQ Fair to good for eelgrass interpretation
1971-06-06 Color Film 1:30,000 137-F10-1973 NOAA NOS Survey
1971-06-06 B&W Film 1:30,000 137-G10-1974 NOAA NOS Survey
1971-06-06 Color Film 1:20,000
1971-08-05 B&W Film 1:20,000 UMass Plymouth Conservation District Bird Island at DPT-3MM-33
1971-10-08 Color Film 1:20,000 137-G4-1974 NOAA NOS Survey Good to excellent quality and transparency
1972-08-21 Color Film 1:30,000 137-F10-1973 NOAA NOS Survey
1973-10-12 Color Film 1:20,000 137-G4-1974 NOAA NOS Survey
1973-10-14 B&W Film 1:30,000 137-G10-1974 NOAA NOS Survey
1974-02-27 B&W USGS GS
1974-04-18 Color Film 1:30,000 NOAA NOS Survey Good to excellent for eelgrass interpretation
1974-04-20 Color Film 1:30,000 Good to excellent for eelgrass interpretation
1974-09-16 Color Film 1:30,000 137-F-G-1976 NOAA NOS Survey
1974-10-11 Color Film 1:30,000 137-F-G-1976 NOAA NOS Survey
1975-04-14 B&W Film 1:10,000 James W. Sewall Co. Very useful low altitude Falmouth, Ma survey with good tidal conditions and water transparency. Example K895-13-17 (Snug Harbor, West Falmouth)
1975-06-21 Color Film 1:30,000 137-F-G-1976 NOAA NOS Survey
1977-08-25 Color Film 1:36,000 137-F-G3-1978 NOAA NOS Survey
1978-05-08 B&W Film  Lockwood-8May78 Lockwood Support Serv Bourne, Falmouth, Good to excellent for eelgrass analysis
1978-06-15 B&W Film 1:36,000 137-F-G4-1980 NOAA NOS Survey
1978-07-06 B&W Film 1:30,000 137-F-G4-1980 NOAA NOS Survey
1978-07-12 B&W Film 1:30,000 137-F-G4-1980
137-F-G5-1981
NOAA NOS Survey
1978-07-12 Color film 1:20,000 137-F-G5-1981 NOAA NOS Survey
1979-10-30 B&W Film 1:60,000 137-F-G4-1980 NOAA NOS Survey High altitude, but excellent quality and transparency, worth ordering digital scans at high resolution
1979-10-31 B&W Film 1:60,000 137-F-G4-1980 NOAA NOS Survey
1979-11-05 B&W Film 1:60,000 137-F-G4-1980 NOAA NOS Survey High altitude, good transparency in protected areas
1980-04-03 Color film 1:25,000 137-F-G5-1981 NOAA NOS Survey
1980-04-18 Color film 1:60,000 137-F-G5-1981 NOAA NOS Survey
1980-04-18 Infra-Red 1:60k 137-F-G5-1981 NOS-NOAA
1980-04–07 B&W USGS-VESC
1981-10-14 Color Film 1:36,000 137-F-G3-1986 NOAA NOS Survey Exceptional water transparency, low sun angle, low tides, and early fall high eelgrass biomass make this the best baywide aerial survey ever taken that can be used for mapping eelgrass cover
1981-10-20 Color Film 1:36,000 137-F-G3-1986 NOAA NOS Survey
1982-05-18 Color Film 1:40,000 137-F-G3-1986 NOAA NOS Survey
1982-06-15 Color Film 1:40,000 137-F-G3-1986 NOAA NOS Survey
1983-09-09 Color Film 1:40,000 137-F-G3-1986 NOAA NOS Survey
1984-08-22 Color Film 1:20,000 137-F-G3-1986 NOAA NOS Survey
1984-09-06 Color Film 1:40,000 137-F-G3-1986 NOAA NOS Survey
1984-09-18 Color Film 1:20,000 137-F-G3-1986 NOAA NOS Survey
1985-09-29 Color Film 1:20,000 137-F-G3-1986 NOAA NOS Survey
1990-04-09 Color IR Film UMADEP_4_9_90_index DEP UMASS WCP Includes Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands. DEP/UMA Iris used for Wetlands Conservancy Program. Too early in season for general use, good for deep beds in sandy areas, exceptional intertidal algal covered rock coverage for Elizabeth Islands and elsewhere because of tide elevation.  Good example: Strawberry Point, Mattapoisett’s (1-109)
1993-03-31 Color IR Film UMADEP_Spring_93 DEP Wetland Conservancy Program
James Sewall
Includes Elizabeth Islands. DEP/UMass IRs used for Wetlands Conservancy Program. Too early in season for general use, good for deep beds in sandy areas, exceptional intertidal algal covered rock coverage for Elizabeth Islands and elsewhere because of tide elevation
1993-04-05 Color IR Film  UMADEP_Spring_93 James Sewall Old Town
DEP/UMA Wetland Conservancy Program
Includes Buzzards Bay. DEP/UMass IRs used for Wetlands Conservancy Program. Too early in season for general use, good for deep beds in sandy areas, exceptional intertidal algal covered rock coverage for Elizabeth Islands and elsewhere because of tide elevation
1993-04-09 Color IR Film  UMADEP_Spring_93 DEP Wetland Conservancy Program DEP/UMass IRs used for Wetlands Conservancy Program. Too early in season for general use, good for deep beds in sandy areas, exceptional intertidal algal covered rock coverage for Elizabeth Islands and elsewhere because of tide elevation
1994-07-18 B&W Film C&GS (USGS) Good imagery overall with relatively low altitude although water transparency somewhat reduced in areas.
1994-09-12 Color Film NOAA NOS Survey
1994-09-19 Color Film NOAA NOS Survey
1994-10-03 Color Film NOAA NOS Survey
1994-06-?? Color MassGIS
1994-09-?? Color NOS-NOAA
1994-3-? Color Film MassGIS
1995-03-10 B&W Orthos Digital, Georeferenced Mass GIS
1996-04-?? B&W MassGIS HM SIDS
2001-04-01 Color Film Mass GIS Exceptional water transparency and excellent for mapping deep beds although imagery is too early to evaluate shallow annual beds and areas where eelgrass not near peak summer biomass
2001-06-15 Digital RGB DEP Eelgrass Survey
2003-08-14 Digital RGB USDA NAIP
4/?/2003 Color Film Mass GIS This survey covered the Elizabeth Islands, Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket.  The imagery also covers the woods hole portion of Falmouth providing valuable time course information of land uses changes and offshore habitat between the 2001 and 2005 MassGIS mainland surveys
2004-07-03 Digital RGB USDA NAIP
2005-04-13 Digital RGB MassGIS
2005-06-24 Digital RGB NOAA
4/9 to 4/17/2005 Color Film Mass GIS Although water transparency and tidal elevations are not as favorable as in the  2001 MassGIS (or 2003 MassGIS Islands coverage, it remains a good comparative survey for deeper annual beds and for shallower beds that had partially grown in.
2006-08-08 Digital RGB USDA NAIP
2008-07-10 Digital RGB USDA NAIP
2009-04-15 Digital RGB MassGIS March 24 to April 26, 2009, actual dates may be Date may be unknown
2009-09-01 Digital RGB NOAA August 10 to October 21, NOAA Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) initiative
2010-08-19 Digital RGB USDA NAIP
2012-07-22 Digital RGB USDA
2012-06-?? Color NOAA
2013-06-14 Digital RGB MA DEP-NOAA Survey was May 28 through Sept 9, 2013, but Westport was 6/14;
2014-04-16 Digital RGB MassGIS
2014-07-18 Digital RGB USDA NAIP Survey was July 13 to July 29;

1) A NOS/CG&S “F” Index covers Rhode Island Sound through Westport, a “G” Index covers Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod and the Islands, and an F-G index covers both areas. Specific surveys may cross both F and G Indexes.
2) Non NOS/CG&S image scale may be estimated values, and not reported values
3) For each known date, in the comment field, add any high and low tides and heights between UTC 1400 and UTC 2000 as per this website: http://tbone.biol.sc.edu/tide/tideshow.cgi