Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Develop Maps of Forest, Soil and Surface Water Conditions in the Catskill Mountains:Regional Forest Health & Stream & Soil Chemistry Using a Multi Scale Approach & New Methods of Remote Sensing(ST8739-1)

USDA Forest Service


This project is focusing on forested watersheds of the New York City water supply in the Catskill Mountain region, an area known to have some of the highest rates of sulfur and nitrogen deposition and lowest values for soil calcium availability in New York. This project builds on three years of research on the correlation between depleted soil calcium, forest health and runoff water quality.

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Project Description

This project will link field and remote sensing data to produce the most detailed maps to date of forest, soil, and surface-water condition in the Catskill Mountain region of New York State. The resulting GIS database will highlight forest stands and watersheds sensitive to changes in atmospheric deposition and logging in the Catskill Mountain region. During this collaboration, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Forest Service USFS will further develop existing remote-sensing methods for forest condition mapping that will make it possible to assess regional changes in forest health (foliar calcium and nitrogen, and tree decline) at a fine scale across the landscape. The result will be an integrated picture of landscape sensitivity to disturbance, as well as the spatial variability in potential forest and surface water response to decreased or increased levels of acidic deposition. This project is a joint effort of the USGS (8644) and the USFS. The USGS is responsible for coordination of activities of all project participants, including the delivery of the final project deliverables, which will include the products of all project participants.


The methodologies and data layers created in this effort can be used to aid critical management decisions and help determine the extent and magnitude of terrestrial and aquatic responses to acidic deposition. The project will allow future assessments of forest condition to be made at reduced expense.

Project Results


USDA Forest Service
Northern Research Station 271 Mast Road
Durham, NH 03824

Principle Investigator

Rich Hallett

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Environmental Monitoring & Research

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Gregory Lampman


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST8739-1

Last Updated: 5/9/2012 2