Development of a Tool for Identifying Critical Restoration Zones of Riparian Buffers

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Ge Pu , Lindi J. Quackenbush

Publication Date:

Riparian buffers are the vegetated zones along waterways that play a significant role in filtering contamination and maintaining water quality. However, these buffers serve ecological functions far beyond their direct extent. Under stress from climate change, agricultural practices and urbanization, buffers in many areas within New York State are in critical need of restoration and protection. This project developed a tool that uses landscape metrics based on vegetation fragmentation and hotspot analysis across time to identify stressed zones to target for rehabilitation. As a pilot study, this tool was applied to identify critical buffer zones along streams in a sub-watershed of the Hudson River Estuary between 2006 and 2015. We validated the spatial and temporal variations of the critical zones identified using independent visual interpretations. While this study focused on a small area and short time interval, we developed a framework that could be readily expanded. This framework can be used to explore the potential of the approach for riparian buffer modeling and forest applications to address various temporal and spatial scales. This presentation will describe the development and management implications of the tool.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program