Northeastern Section - 50th Annual Meeting (23–25 March 2015)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


ARNOLD, Audrey Danielle, Environmental Studies & Geology, Alfred University, 1 Saxon Drive, Alfred, NY 14802,

To examine relationships between land cover and water pollution within lakes in New York State, I used ArcGIS to overlay a raster land cover dataset with a vector dataset of water bodies. I then joined the water body data with a table displaying pollutants and their sources within each water body. This resulted in maps of three different regions in New York State which display land cover, large water bodies and their primary pollutants, and the sources of these pollutants. Several relationships are visually shown, such as a prominence of algal blooms and phosphorus in lakes surrounded by agriculture and PCBs and dioxins in areas of high industrial activity such as the Hudson River.

The areas which I focused on include my home region of the Finger Lakes area, which is dominated by agriculture; the Hudson River, an infamous Superfund Site known for its high concentrations of PCBs and other chemicals; and a portion of Adirondack State Park, which has recently been under scrutiny because of the mercury pollution found in many of its lakes. The Adirondack data frame also includes Lake Champlain, which contains both agricultural and industrial pollutants.

I used the information gathered and displayed to deduce logical conclusions about where many of the pollutants come from such as industrial activity near Lake Champlain, Onondaga Lake, and the Hudson River; algal blooms and phosphorus pollution from fertilizer use around many of the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain; and urban runoff in some of the reservoirs near densely populated areas in southern New York.