Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Environmental Science and Policy

Major Professor

Robert Brinkmann, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven Reader, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Philip Reeder, Ph.D.


Watershed, Loss, Conversion, Urbanization, Development


A GIS-based study was undertaken comparing wetland coverages in 1926 and 1999 in selected sub-basins within Pinellas County, Florida, one of the most highly urbanized counties in south-central Florida with almost 50% of the existing land area developed into industrial, commercial or residential land uses (Pinellas County Planning Department, 2002). Wetlands were digitized from rectified 1926 aerials and classified according to the FLUCCS classification system. Wetland coverage for the 1999 data set was extracted from FLUCCS 1999 land use coverage provided by the SWFWMD, and topology for both the 1926 and 1999 wetland and surface waters were created. Statistical and spatial analysis was then performed on the vector feature class layers to determine net wetland loss and gain, by watershed, within the sub-basin study area.

Results indicate that substantial and statistically significant net losses in areal extent occurred between the 1926 and 1999 study time frames in most sub-basins for freshwater forested, freshwater herbaceous, saltwater herbaceous, non-vegetated wetlands and in total wetland areal extent. Both open water and upland exhibited statistically significant net increases in areal extent over the same time period. Losses are directly attributable to human-activity such as excavation, ditching, draining, and filling.