Research Opportunities

Assessing Wetland and Riparian Zone Health and Extent in the Rochestor Embayment Area of Concern

Above: Kenny Smith, Gretchen Sprehe, and Justin Cole determining percent cover and species composition for the herbaceous layer of a sample plot, supervised by Paula Smith of the New York Department of Conservation (DEC).

The Rochester Embayment Regional Action Plan (RAP), created as part of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the US and Canada, identified 14 Use Impairments in this area. This project focuses on Use Impairment # 14, the Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat. By assessing changes in wetland size and floral biodiversity over time within six baseline wetlands, Dr. Korfmacher and his students are working to determine how the wetland coverage is changing, what land cover and land use changes are affecting wetlands, and to what extent invasive species are impacting wetland communities. In addition to traditional field survey techniques, the project relies heavily on the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software and analyses (ArcGIS, IDRISI, and ArcPad), high resolution aerial photography, and Landsat imagery. This project is also expanding to identify changes in riparian zones within the drainage area.

Professor: Dr. Karl F. Korfmacher

Above: Three of the four RIT students who worked on the Rochester Embayment Project in 2003, conducting vegetative survey work at the Parma wetland site. From left to right, Justin Cole (BS/MS 2006), Kenny Smith (BS 2005), and Arron Hall (BS/MS 2005).

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