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 Preservation Targeting for Wetlands Using GIS Techniques: A Model in the Chickahominy River Watershed, Virginia
Track:  Ecology, Conservation, and Archaeology
Author:   Tamia C. Rudnicky
Carl Hershner
Marcia Berman
Tidal and nontidal wetlands can be associated with a suite of functions and values they perform in a natural landscape setting. These functions vary in importance depending upon their position in the landscape and the surrounding land use. For land use decision makers, it is critical that individual wetland polygons be qualified with respect to their values and targeted for preservation if necessary. A GIS application was developed that implemented a set of preservation protocols to model the relative importance and opportunity for a wetland to perform any one of five different functions in the landscape. Functions were limited to sediment control, bank stability, water quality improvements, habitat, and flood control. The application combined land use/land cover data with National Wetlands Inventory information. A set of criteria defined a suite of possible rankings based on wetland type, adjacent land use, position in the watershed, and external factors within the region that may influence the ability of a wetland to perform a function. These criteria were determined with simple GIS techniques. The model output creates a database suitable for land use planners and managers to assist in their planning activities.

Tamia C. Rudnicky
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
P.O. Box 1346
Gloucester Point, VA23062-1346

Telephone: (804) 684 - 7181
Fax: (804) 684 - 7179