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INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR TMDL DATA ACQUISITION, ANALYSIS AND DISSEMINATION

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In recent years, several technologies have become available that are being used to increase the efficiency and accuracy of the collection and analysis of water resources data. This paper discusses the use and implementation of hand held computers (PDA), remote sensing, and Internet mapping in the TMDL process and presents several case studies demonstrating their utility. The use of PDAs for data collection, particularly coupled with Global Positioning devices, has recently become a cost effective and useful tool in collecting environmental data. The capability to accurately and consistently monitor spatially complex qualitative as well as quantitative field conditions is facilitated by these devices. PDAs have wide applicability to a variety of TMDL development and implementation tasks ranging from simple water quality sample collection to complex stream erosion and geomorphology assessments. This paper provides examples of PDA solutions developed for ongoing and completed projects. Remote sensing imagery analysis also promises to be a relatively low cost technique for monitoring, development, and prioritization of TMDLs. Remote sensing data covers large regions, is widely available and relatively inexpensive compared to equivalent field efforts. This paper describes two remote sensing studies conducted to assist State and Local officials in the TMDL process. The first is an assessment of water quality (nutrients) in several MA 303(d) listed water bodies while the second is an analysis of impervious surfaces. The methodologies used will likely be applied in the future to tracking watershed implementation effectiveness and is a potentially useful tool for adaptive management approaches. Internet and database technologies have been employed in many projects and provide a compelling approach for the display of environmental data to both management staff and the public. Use of Internet mapping for field data delivery and decision-making, as well as an online Nonpoint Source Management manual are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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