Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Mikhailova, Elena A

Committee Member

Post , Christopher J

Committee Member

Sharp , Julia L

Abstract

The economic crisis that occurred at the time of this research left numerous residential developments in the Southeastern United States in various stages of construction, creating a potential source of sediment runoff to waterways. Sediment runoff is potentially damaging to aquatic ecosystems and lakes. The objectives of this research include identifying these developments in upstate South Carolina through GIS/remote sensing analysis and implementation of an integrated webGIS framework. Residential development locations with significant bare soil areas were identified through GIS analysis involving Landsat 5 TM classification and aerial photograph verification. The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) was used in a geographic information system (GIS) as a tool for prioritizing identified locations on the basis of potential soil loss assuming the worst case scenario of a completely unmaintained site. Furthermore, an online GIS tool provides the means to reach a large number of people and access local knowledge. An online web mapping interface was developed utilizing the ArcGIS Silverlight application programming interface to solicit volunteered geographic information. The website allows the public to upload photos and attributes of their own subdivisions or sites they have identified and explore other submissions. The website was made available to the public in early February 2011 at http://www.AbandonedDevelopments.com. Collectively, these methods build a foundation for greater public awareness of sedimentation from unfinished residential construction sites and provide a framework for future webGIS application to soil and water conservation and environmental management.

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