Event Title

The South Carolina-Designated "Scenic" Catawba River: Using Satellite Data to Determine the Effects of Suburban Development on the River's Riparian Zones

Poster Number

052

Faculty Mentor

Bryan McFadden, M.S.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Location

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

Start Date

12-4-2019 2:15 PM

End Date

April 2019

Description

This project will use satellite datasets in order to display changes in vegetation health over the past 20-30 years in the area of the Catawba River designated as “scenic” by state legislation in 2008. As suburban development has increased in York and Lancaster counties, development adjacent to the Catawba River is becoming a cause for environmental concern because of clear-cutting, increased stormwater runoff, erosion, and overall increased recreational activity in and around the area. Riparian zones, which are considered to be the forested areas within 50 feet of the banks of fresh bodies of water, provide a number of ecological and environmental benefits, including wildlife habitat, erosion control, pollution filtration, and shade. The shade provided by trees growing along the riverbanks acts to decrease water temperatures—a plus for aquatic life, as this boosts dissolved oxygen levels in the water. The satellite data that are gathered, interpreted, and classified will, as a result of this project, aid in drawing conclusions about the current state of riparian zones “hugging” this section of the Catawba River. It is my hypothesis that the recent increase in suburban development along this portion of the South Carolina-designated “scenic” section of the Catawba River has not only served to reduce the scenic value of this area but has also negatively impacted the ecological integrity of a significant portion of the sensitive areas known as riparian zones.

Course Assignment

GEOG 320 – McFadden

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Apr 12th, 2:15 PM Apr 12th, 4:15 PM

The South Carolina-Designated "Scenic" Catawba River: Using Satellite Data to Determine the Effects of Suburban Development on the River's Riparian Zones

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

This project will use satellite datasets in order to display changes in vegetation health over the past 20-30 years in the area of the Catawba River designated as “scenic” by state legislation in 2008. As suburban development has increased in York and Lancaster counties, development adjacent to the Catawba River is becoming a cause for environmental concern because of clear-cutting, increased stormwater runoff, erosion, and overall increased recreational activity in and around the area. Riparian zones, which are considered to be the forested areas within 50 feet of the banks of fresh bodies of water, provide a number of ecological and environmental benefits, including wildlife habitat, erosion control, pollution filtration, and shade. The shade provided by trees growing along the riverbanks acts to decrease water temperatures—a plus for aquatic life, as this boosts dissolved oxygen levels in the water. The satellite data that are gathered, interpreted, and classified will, as a result of this project, aid in drawing conclusions about the current state of riparian zones “hugging” this section of the Catawba River. It is my hypothesis that the recent increase in suburban development along this portion of the South Carolina-designated “scenic” section of the Catawba River has not only served to reduce the scenic value of this area but has also negatively impacted the ecological integrity of a significant portion of the sensitive areas known as riparian zones.