The use of airborne hyperspectral remote sensing imagery for automated mapping of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the tidal Potomac River was investigated for near to realtime resource assessment and monitoring. Airborne hyperspectral imagery and field spectrometer measurements were obtained in October of 2000. A spectral library database containing selected ground-based and airborne sensor spectra was developed for use in image processing. The spectral library is used to automate the processing of hyperspectral imagery for potential real-time material identification and mapping. Field based spectra were compared to the airborne imagery using the database to identify and map two species of SAV (Myriophyllum spicatum and Vallisneria americana). Overall accuracy of the vegetation maps derived from hyperspectral imagery was determined by comparison to a product that combined aerial photography and field based sampling at the end of the SAV growing season. The algorithms and databases developed in this study will be useful with the current and forthcoming space-based hyperspectral remote sensing systems.