Use of Remote Sensing on the Pamlico Sound with Implications for North Carolina Water Quality Management
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The Pamlico Sound serves a vital role in North Carolina's ecology and economy, but declining water quality threatens the health of this system. Currently, the state of North Carolina does no regular water quality monitoring of the Pamlico Sound so the true condition of the Sound remains unknown. Long-term monitoring is needed to track changes considering the nutrients that enter the Sound as a consequence of land-use change in the watershed. Use of remote sensing in the Pamlico Sound is an ideal way to track phytoplankton changes that occur over a broad range of time and space domains. Remotely sensed data would provide researchers with regular and long-term information that can be used to evaluate the impacts of existing land use and nutrient management programs. Improved information on the Pamlico Sound can help managers create standards aimed at altering human behavior and improving the condition of the Sound. This Masters Project investigates the feasibility of using remote sensing to track water quality in the Pamlico Sound. I conducted interviews with remote sensing experts and North Carolina water quality managers to determine whether remote sensing of the Pamlico Sound will be useful in future water quality monitoring programs. I determined that while water quality managers do not currently have the resources to incorporate remote sensing into existing programs, it is a tool that will be useful and cost effective in future monitoring plans.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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