Linda Madorma – Bringing Knowledge from the Classroom to the Community

Master of Science StudentLinda Madorma, a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy student, successfully defended her thesis as one of the final requirements for her degree. “A GIS Approach to Determine How Impervious Surface Cover Affects the Water Quality and Macroinvertebrate Biodiversity of the Waukewan Watershed, Meredith, New Hampshire,” is the result of her research on impervious surfaces and water quality in the local watershed. The topic for Linda’s study was made possible through a partnership with the town of Meredith. Lake Waukewan is the only public drinking water supply for Meredith, NH.

Impervious surfaces are artificial surfaces that prevent water from naturally infiltrating the soil. The potential impact of impervious surfaces on water quality is of concern to many communities because of the possible adverse effects on public drinking water and other natural resources.

Linda earned her undergraduate degree from PSU in Geography-Terrain Analysis. “I knew before I finished my undergraduate degree in 2004 that I wanted to go to graduate school to study either geography or environmental science,” said Madorma. “I was accepted to an out-of-state school and went there for a semester, but didn’t like the program and left when the semester ended. I heard about the newly created Center for the Environment and the Environmental Science and Policy program and contacted Steve Kahl and June Hammond Rowan. I learned about the variety of course offerings and the flexibility of the program. I was happy to become a PSU student again, and I enrolled part-time in the fall of 2005.”

During her graduate program, one of the courses that made a significant impact on her way of thinking was Ecology and Environment Seminar. “It taught me a lot about environmental issues. I have become more conscious of how my actions can effect the environment.” In assessing how personal actions can effect the environment, Linda brought the knowledge she gained from the classroom into the community through her thesis research.

Using current aerial photographs and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Linda mapped and calculated the total impervious area and land use in the Lake Waukewan watershed. The results of the impervious surface study were then compared to biological and chemical data from a parallel study being conducted by a fellow PSU graduate student. The analysis helped to determine areas where there were correlations between an area’s imperviousness and poor water quality. Linda’s research will be used by the Town of Meredith for land use planning and in efforts to protect the town’s drinking water supply.

Recently, Linda began a new position with the Southern New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission. “My coursework and thesis project prepared me for my job. Advanced environmental planning gave me a good background with issues that I deal with at the commission regularly,” said Madorma. “The land use analysis in the Waukewan watershed is similar to projects that I am currently working on at the commission.”


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