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Watershed Scale Land Use

What does this mean?

Land use within a watershed has a major effect on the water quality, hydrology and ecology present in the waterbodies within it. Runoff from agriculture and the built (urban, suburban) environment may adversely affect water quality due to non-point source pollution, such as sediments and nutrients, while wetlands have a positive impact by serving to control flooding and to filter pollutants. When vegetation is removed from the landscape during development, the watershed's ability to absorb nutrients and trap sediments is diminished, while more fertilizers, car emissions, industrial and sanitary wastes, and debris are washed into surface and groundwater by stormwater runoff.

How are the data collected? (Methods)

Land Use/Land Cover GIS data is photointerpreted from current digital orthophotos, primarily by local Water Management Districts. The methods used differ by agency, but generally older land use/land cover layers are brought into GIS and compared to the current imagery. Changes are noted and reviewed, and ultimately updated within the GIS data. Land use classifications should adhere to the statewide classifications set forth with the Florida Land Use, Land Cover Classification System (FLUCCS).

To learn more about individual methods used by each Water Management District for their most recent data, review the GIS metadata below:

SJRWMD 2014 Land Use and Land Cover

SWFWMD 2014 Land Use/Cover Classifications

SFWMD 2014-16 Land Cover Land Use Geodatabase

The major land use classifications are:

For more detailed information about these classifications (and their associated sub-classes) refer to the Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System, a document prepared by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Additional Information

An Edition of wateratlas.org

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