Tools for remotely assessing riparian buffers protecting streams from sediment pollution
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The study evaluated tools for remotely assessing the impact of riparian buffers protecting streams from sediment pollution by integrating Google Earth Pro and USLE to predict site specific soil erosion and integrating GIS, remote sensing, and USLE to estimate erosion distribution within Nzoia basin (Kenya). Sediment deposition along the buffer was estimated using USFS SDR. Paired t test comparison between GPS and Google Earth derived elevations showed difference between the elevations but within the GPS error margin. Ground truthing results from ten small watersheds yielded a mean absolute error of 0.76 tons ha yr with a coefficient of determination of 0.95. For sediment deposition, USFS method overestimated the amount of sediment deposited in riparian buffers. The integration of GIS, remote sensing, and USLE yielded a soil erosion distribution map for the Nzoia basin with most of the basin under slight erosion (0 5 tons ha yr) with some erosion hotspots. Therefore, Google Earth Pro, GIS, and remote sensing technologies can be integrated with erosion, sediment yield, and nutrient transport prediction models to asses the effectiveness of riparian buffers.