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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(6), 2418-2446; doi:10.3390/ijerph8062418
Article

The Applications of GIS in the Analysis of the Impacts of Human Activities on South Texas Watersheds

1,* , 2
, 3
, 1
, 1
 and 1
1 Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Jackson State University, 3825, Ridgewood Road, P.O. Box 23, Jackson, MS 39211, USA 2 National Center for Bio Defense Communications, Jackson State University, Mississippi e-Center @ JSU, 1230 Raymond Road, Jackson, MS 39204, USA 3 Department of Advanced Technologies, School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Alcorn State University, 1000 ASU Drive, Jackson, MS 39096, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 November 2010 / Revised: 15 June 2011 / Accepted: 20 June 2011 / Published: 23 June 2011

Abstract

With water resource planning assuming greater importance in environmental protection efforts, analyzing the health of agricultural watersheds using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) becomes essential for decision-makers in Southern Texas. Within the area, there exist numerous threats from conflicting land uses. These include the conversion of land formerly designated for agricultural purposes to other uses. Despite current efforts, anthropogenic factors are greatly contributing to the degradation of watersheds. Additionally, the activities of waste water facilities located in some of the counties, rising populations, and other socioeconomic variables are negatively impacting the quality of water in the agricultural watersheds. To map the location of these stressors spatially and the extent of their impacts across time, the paper adopts a mix scale method of temporal spatial analysis consisting of simple descriptive statistics. In terms of objectives, this research provides geo-spatial analysis of the effects of human activities on agricultural watersheds in Southern Texas and the factors fuelling the concerns under the purview of watershed management. The results point to growing ecosystem decline across time and a geographic cluster of counties experiencing environmental stress. Accordingly, the emergence of stressors such as rising population, increased use of fertilizer treatments on farm land, discharges of atmospheric pollutants and the large presence of municipal and industrial waste treatment facilities emitting pathogens and pesticides directly into the agricultural watersheds pose a growing threat to the quality of the watershed ecosystem.
Keywords: GIS; watersheds; agricultural watershed; watershed management; South Texas GIS; watersheds; agricultural watershed; watershed management; South Texas
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Merem, E.C.; Yerramilli, S.; Twumasi, Y.A.; Wesley, J.M.; Robinson, B.; Richardson, C. The Applications of GIS in the Analysis of the Impacts of Human Activities on South Texas Watersheds. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 2418-2446.

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