Phosphorus Cycling and Storms in the Farmington River CT

Rachel Lowenthal
Peter Raymond
Start Date: 
May, 2016

This project extends my OEFS project from Spring 2016, looking at Land Use in the Farmington River Watershed, looking more at Impervious Cover and Evapotranspiration potential.

Detecting change in land cover composition over time has tremendous value in the field of water resources management. This study closely examines land cover in the Farmington River watershed, located in north-central Connecticut and south-central Massachusetts, in order to better inform water quality research in the region. Two Landsat images, one from 1996 and another from 2014, were classified for land cover using minimum distance and maximum likelihood classification procedures, which were compared for accuracy.  Also, change detection analyses were performed to determine whether parts of the watershed had experienced growth in urban and suburban development. Finally, the accuracy of the 2014 classified image was also investigated by groundtruth, revealing that some of the suburban regions were not accurately classified due to the land cover heterogeneity in developed areas.

Ultimately, while the Farmington watershed has experienced suburban growth in the past 18 years, the details of that land cover change remain unknown. Specifically, the extent to which forested, agricultural, or wetland areas were changed to make way for suburban and urban land cover was not clearly determined. Perhaps these details would have been more noticeable by analyzing images with more seasonal contrast, and I hope to complete these different analyses this summer 2016.