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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

A Remote Sensing Assessment of Land-use and Land-cover Changes Within the Headwaters Region of the Rio Conchos Watershed, Chihuahua, Mexico

EPA Grant Number: U915616
Title: A Remote Sensing Assessment of Land-use and Land-cover Changes Within the Headwaters Region of the Rio Conchos Watershed, Chihuahua, Mexico
Investigators: Muela, Pedro
Institution: University of Texas at El Paso
EPA Project Officer: Broadway, Virginia
Project Period: January 1, 1999 through January 1, 2002
Project Amount: $74,048
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999)
Research Category: Fellowship - Physical Sciences , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Academic Fellowships



The objective of this project is to assess the significant changes in land-use and land-cover that have occurred within the headwaters region of the Rio Conchos watershed using satellite data and to conduct a one-time water quality survey of the river. The information derived from this study will serve as a temporal benchmark to which future changes in land-use, land-cover and water quality conditions are compared and quantified.


This study utilizes Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) and Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data from several different time periods to delinate how much woodland, agricultural land and grassland was lost to logging in the headwaters region of the watershed. The time periods of interest are 1980, 1992 and 1997. The use of multiple Landsat (land satellite) images permits us to measure and analyze the continuous change in vegetation coverage within the study area over an extended period of time. This project also involves the analyses of in-situ geochemistry data collected during a one-time water quality survey of the Rio Conchos. The water quality information should serve as baseline information for long-term environmental monitoring of an important and often neglected river system. This study has implications on both sides of the United States and Mexican border.

Supplemental Keywords:

Rio Conchos, Rio Conchos watershed, Rio Grande, Chihuahuan Desert, land-use, land-cover, remote sensing, Landsat, Geographical Information System, water quality., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, RESEARCH, Monitoring/Modeling, Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, remote sensing, watershed, land use model, ecosystem management model, remote sensing data, satellite microwave remore sensing, Land sat Thematic mapper, vegetation, water quality, land management, Mexico

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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