Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-4:00 PM
BUFFERS ON THE BATTENKILL: MAPPING RIPARIAN ZONES USING GIS
The presence and location of riparian buffers play a critical role in water quality. Therefore, identifying and predicting locations where riparian buffers are absent is vital for watershed sustainability. Like most rivers, the Battenkill River watershed (~1150 km2) has a patchwork of buffers, leaving many sections of the river vulnerable to pollutants. For this research, we used Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to map the current distribution of the buffers along the Battenkill River and its tributaries and locate the most viable locations for buffer restoration projects on behalf of the Battenkill Conservancy. For base maps we used 2 foot resolution orthophotography taken in 2004 for New York and 1 meter resolution digital orthophotography taken in 2003 for Vermont. Existing hydrography coverages did not accurately overlay stream locations on the orthophotographs so we re-digitized the main stem Battenkill and all visible tributaries. We overlaid 10 meter buffers on the base maps to determine zones without riparian buffers. The location of riparian buffers and coverages of land use, soil type, slope, and access points were used to identify areas of greatest concern for further protection of the Battenkill watershed. As a result, this research provides a comprehensive look at the current state of buffers along the Battenkill River as well as a database of accurate information for future use.