Identifier

etd-11132006-112930

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The purpose of this project was to assess the spatial distribution of anthropogenic environmental hazards in the Louisiana coastal zone and implications of those hazards for coastal resources and restoration efforts. Several state and federal environmental databases publicly available on the internet were selected for inclusion in this study. The hazard sites were mapped in a Geographic Information System by geocoding addresses obtained from the databases. Sites with unmatched addresses were mapped to zip code centroid. Hazard types in databases lacking spatial data at the address level were totaled and mapped by parish. Buffers were created at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 mile radii of hazard sites to assess the proximity of state and federal coastal restoration projects and the distribution of Land Use and Land Cover types within the buffers. The federal databases were more comprehensive than the state databases, but the compatibility among all of the databases varied. The most comprehensive database was the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) which, unlike any of the other databases, included chemical names and quantities releases as well as geographic coordinates. The TRI did not contain any toxicity data; therefore outside sources must be consulted to use the data for risk assessment. In general, hazard sites were distributed along major commerce corridors, especially waterways, and near populated areas. Because these hazard types appear to follow human settlement patterns, the cumulative risk posed by these facilities will continue to grow in concert with the growing coastal population. The negative externalities associated with the needs of a growing coastal population stand in stark contrast to coastal restoration efforts in Louisiana and, if left unchecked, may stand as a roadblock to the success of those efforts.

Date

2006

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Michael Wascom

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