Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Water Resources


Riparian buffers are an important and widely used tool for soil conservation and water quality protection, but their effectiveness can vary depending on location. This study integrated spatially explicit hydrologic modeling and a GIS-based survey of riparian vegetation to identify critical sites for water quality management in a manner that can be practically applied to the field. Land along perennial streams was divided into management units representing potential buffer restoration sites by landowner tract boundaries. Customized lists of the management concerns, priority level, government funding programs, and most suitable conservation practices which may be applicable to sites (based on existing vegetation and terrain attributes) were developed for all sites. Results indicate that in all three study watersheds of northeast Missouri, the best opportunities for new riparian buffer installation occur along headwaters (first and second order) streams, but that higher order streams (fourth and fifth) also need attention to ensure proper buffer functioning by existing forest and grass communities. The methods used should be applicable to other watersheds due to the wide availability of spatial data. Results were published to an interactive mapping service online to assist landowners and watershed planners with determining conservation priorities.

Copyright Owner

Joseph Paul Herring



OCLC Number


File Format


File Size

79 pages