Principal Investigators
Brian Lee, Department of Landscape Architecture 
Christopher Barton, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
Barry W. Kew, Department of Landscape Architecture (now at University of Cincinnati)

Assistant Researcher
Corey Wilson, Department of Landscape Architecture,

Undergraduate Researcher
Ritchie Katko, Department of Landscape Architecture
Collin Linebach, Department of Landscape Architecture
Drew Heering, Department of Landscape Architecture

Project Summary
Watershed Assessment and Method Developement

Project Description
Evaluating even the basic condition of aquatic ecosystems across the Commonwealth is a financial and time consuming endeavor. Furthermore, detailed biological and chemical sampling of stream conditions is not always possible because of limited financial, technical, and personnel resources. However, a relatively quick method of performing a first pass stream assessment based solely on visual inspection of quality has recently been developed and published by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) called the Stream Visual Assessment Protocol (SVAP).

The number of watershed councils is increasing in Kentucky. Typically these organizations do not have plentiful financial or technical resources. An early challenge for these organizations is performing an assessment of watershed conditions. This goal of this project was to develop a SVAP geospatial data collection application for ESRI's ArcPad mobile GIS for use in basic watershed assessments across the Commonwealth that is relatively inexpensive to deploy and use by these watershed councils.

This pilot project, located at Robinson Forest in Perry, Breathitt, and Knott counties, will measure geomorphic descriptive characteristics for the Robinson Forest watersheds for sample locations both pre- and post- timber harvest. The intent is to develop a method utilizing geospatial technology and field collected data capable of predicting aquatic conditions as assessed by SVAP from watershed geomorphic and land cover characteristics. The development of this method of predicting aquatic ecosystem condition has the potential to be useful in watershed assessment and education efforts in other parts of the Commonwealth as well as other Appalachian areas. Robinson Forest was an ideal place for this research because it complements ongoing research projects related to stream side management zones.


Related Links

• Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

• NRCS Stream Visual Assessment Protocol Document

• NRCS Water Quality and Quantity Conservation

• Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)

• ESRI ArcGIS: A Complete Integrated System

• ESRI ArcPad: Mobile GIS Software for Field Mapping

Related Documents

• Robinson Forest Stream Assessment