W. L. Miller

LARS Tech Report Number



Nonpoint pollution of streams with sediment as a result of runoff from alternative uses of land has become a socially unacceptable product of economic activity as accessed by society currently. This report describes a research approach to economically achieve correction of the nonpoint pollution problem. The research approach integrates the economic model with those data which my be obtainable from remotely sensed sources.

The economic problem involves measurement of the direct benefits and costs associated with the changes in land management activities necessary to reduce the level of nonpoint pollution. These costs and benefits reflect changes in the net revenue of firms adopting the new management activities and the firms which incur alterations in the damage they received from either flooding or sediment deposition. In addition it is important; to recognize the indirect economic impact on income and employment levels of those firms not directly affected by the change in management practices.

Remotely sensed data from ERTS-1 may provide some of the information required for the economic model which indicates efficient solutions to the nonpoint pollution problem. Three classes of data, i.e. soil categories, vegetative cover, and water turbidity, have the potential to be measured by ERTS-1 systems. There is substantial research which indicates the ability of ERTS-1 data to measure these classes of data under selected conditions. Certain limitations presently make it difficult to apply these techniques on a large scale, but if they are overcome remote sensing may provide a substantial amount of the data required to make efficient decisions to reduce nonpoint pollution.

Date of this Version

January 1974