How to Use Land Cover Data as a Water Quality Indicator

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Land cover data provide a useful perspective to help local land use decision makers understand what is actually on the ground as opposed to what might have been planned or permitted.

This step-by-step guide describes how land cover data can be analyzed to assess several water quality indicators. Included with each step is a link to a web-based map that highlights the land cover information explored, as well as a link to a document that describes the data and analysis used to create those maps.

Six-Step Process:

  1. Identify impacts from impervious surfaces
  2. Identify effects of forest cover
  3. Analyze relationship of forest cover to impervious area
  4. Identify whether developed grasses are a factor
  5. Examine riparian buffers
  6. Examine other potential water quality factors