2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


SCHNEIDERMAN, Jill S.1, STEWART, Meg E.2, ZHOU, Yu3, HARRIS, Emily M.3, PEARCE, Ryder3, LEE, George3 and ARCHER, Marnie3, (1)Earth Science and Geography, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Box 312, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0312, (2)Independent researcher, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603, (3)Geology and Geography, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Box 735, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0735, schneiderman@vassar.edu

Using a Geographic Information System (GIS) we compiled a comprehensive environmental inventory for the mid-Hudson valley (Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, and Putnam counties) New York. The Hudson River bisects the study area and much of the urban river waterfront has been used for industrial purposes for over 150 years. Rural, urban, and suburban communities comprise the six-county study area and the proximity to New York City makes the region home to commuters who work in NYC. Additionally, the six-county area includes watersheds that supply New York City’s water system.

In assembling the database we identified industrial facilities including Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA; Superfund) sites; described the character of the communities in which the facilities exist using 2000 U.S. census demographic variables such as race, linguistic isolation, age, education level, and economic class; and examined spatial associations to assess the distribution of environmental risk. In addition, we looked at past land uses such as orchards and farmland. Portions of the study area have known groundwater contamination. Therefore we included in the database locations of water wells and examined community demographics near these wells. In addition to TRI and CERCLA sites from the EPA, our inventory includes digital orthophotos (2001), FEMA 100-year flood lines, day care centers, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, landfills, and incinerators. The EPA reporting facilities were field checked for accuracy and discrepancies in the locations of the data points were corrected. Undergraduate researchers have been critical to the success of this field- and data-intensive project.