Analysis of Landscape Change of the Rio Vista Dam in San Marcos, Texas
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This thesis analyzes large-scale environmental landscape change of the area around Rio Vista Dam on the San Marcos River due to reconstruction of the dam in the spring of 2006. The research uses repeat photography of the dam from 1917 to 2007. Riparian and riverine changes are analyzed by comparing the historic photos with those taken during fieldwork in 2006 and 2007. Ground-truthing of vegetation at the site supports analysis of differences found in the comparisons. Stark differences between the photo pairs show loss of vegetation, buildings, and open space; yet also illustrate the improvement of eroded riverbanks, a dam no longer threatening failure, and a more natural appearance of the area in opposition to concrete. The results of this analysis of landscape change at Rio Vista Dam support the need for developing new methods of responsible redevelopment and growth for city planners and present a cost-effective opportunity to recognize temporal and scale differences ensuing from the effects of land management and human-induced activity.