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Re-Connecting Wetlands: How Agricultural Drainage Areas Can Improve Landscape Connectivity in Essex County

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Title: Re-Connecting Wetlands: How Agricultural Drainage Areas Can Improve Landscape Connectivity in Essex County
Author: Van Ommen, Alanna
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Landscape Architecture
Advisor: Corry, Robert
Abstract: The Essex County landscape faces pressures including agricultural development and urban expansion. Historically, wetlands have been threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation, and water quality degradation, causing a host of problems for wetland species. This study applies a geospatial landscape analysis and evaluation methodology to propose and assess the design of wetland habitat patterns in order to increase habitat quality and dispersal opportunities for wildlife. An analysis of Essex County’s Hillman Creek watershed was conducted using ArcGIS software, identifying locations suitable for supporting wetland restoration design and strengthening a wetland connectivity scheme for the watershed. The scheme was evaluated using network circuitry analysis, illustrating its functional connectivity, especially across southeastern parts of the watershed. Results show how a rigorous landscape analysis informs wetland restoration design at the watershed scale and improves a measure of functional connectivity. The research identifies potential for improving and estimating ecological connectivity through evidence-based landscape architecture.
Date: 2020-05
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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Attribution 4.0 International Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 4.0 International