Committee Chair

Hossain, A.K.M. Azad

Committee Member

Schorr, Mark; Qin, Hong


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Urban development involves the conversion of land cover from pervious to impervious surfaces. Impervious surfaces (IS) can have ramifications for urban stormwater and facilitate the movement of pollutants and other substances to nearby water bodies. This study investigated the changes in IS in and around the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee using GIS and remote sensing technologies based on Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) acquired in 1986 and 2016, respectively. A model was developed utilizing the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and a supervised image classification algorithm to detect IS growth. The changes in IS were quantified at watershed level scale including stream riparian areas. The obtained results show a net growth of 45.12 km2 of IS, 9.96 km2 being within 90 m of streams, a conversion of 6% of the study site’s land cover. A stream risk assessment study was conducted using the riparian zone percent imperviousness to assess the potential of stream impairment due to IS growth. This assessment shows a significant increase in the number of streams that are potentially at risk to be impaired due to current urban growth.


I would like to thank the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and United States Geological Survey (USGS) for providing the Landsat Imagery at free of cost, the city of Chattanooga Water Quality Office for providing the water quality and watershed boundary data, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) Office of Research and Sponsored Program and the UTC Department of Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science for proving assistantships to conduct this research, and the Geological and Remote Sensing Laboratory at UTC for providing necessary logistics for this study. My special thank and gratitude are due to: • Dr. Azad, for accepting me under your tutelage and imparting with me as much information and wisdom as you could during my time in this program, for teaching me to think where and why in the world and for helping open my future. • Dr. Schorr, for jump starting my fascination of statistics, listening to all my random questions and imparting with me your love, curiosity, and desire to protect the waters in our world. • Dr. Hong, for helping me take the ideas and thoughts in my head and turn it into something comprehensible to the world. • Rick Blanton and Kyle Jones for being the best friends and colleagues someone could ask for and for listening to my ideas at all hours with patience and humor. • Andy Carroll, Charlie Mix, Andrew Mindermann and the rest of the IGT Lab for giving the best advice for a up and coming GIS professional and for helping me grow my love of GIS, remote sensing, and the environment around me. • Dr. Kalafsky, Dr. Li, Dr. McKinney, Dr. Nagle, Dr. Logan and Jay Price for helping a young undergrad learn to love and care about geography, sustainability and the understanding that each person has a role to play to protect our world. • To my parents and siblings who lovingly made me the person willing and capable to undertake the quest that is higher education that culminated in this work. • And all the rest of my friends, family, and loved ones for whom none of this would have ever been possible and to you I am eternally grateful.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Environmental management; Sustainable development; Stream ecology; Urbanization


Remote sensing; GIS; Water quality; Impervious surfaces; Chattanooga; Landsat

Document Type

Masters theses




xxiii, 122 leaves





Date Available