Graduate Student Thesis List

These are the theses that I have mentored in the Graduate Program in Environmental Science at Pace University.
They are all in the Pace Library collection.  Electronic copies of some may be obtained by request. 

Farmland to Suburb: The Changes in Land Use and Impervious Cover in Yorktown, New York over a 65-year Period
Margaret Ann Smith, May, 2014
This study used the US Forest Service iTree Canopy and VUE programs to determine the changes in land use in Yorktown, NY since 1947.  It used historical aerial orthophotos and compared different remote sensing land use evalutaion tools.

The Creation of  a Field Guide with Management Options for the Non-native Plants of the Marshlands Conservancy

Michele Klein, December, 2013 with Dr. Franklyn Commisso

Invasive plants have gained a foothold in Westchester County.  The regional nature preserves want to halt the advance of these plants and preserve native species.  The results of this study produced a guidebook for volunteers to use to determine whether a plant is invasive and methods to remove it from the Marshlands Conservancy.


Effects of the Storage of Deicing Agents on Water Quality in the Middle Branch Reservoir of the Croton Watershed

Amy Blum, December, 2013 with Dr. Martin Rowland

There were many long-term storage piles of salt and other deicing agents for I-84 in the Middle Branch Reservoir watershed.  The sodium and chloride ions were monitored during the period before the piles were covered and after.  The study showed that there are long-lasting effects of the storage because the area downgradient from the salt piles is saturated with salt.


Do Certain Water Quality Parameters Affect American Eel Tributary Selection During Inland Migration into the Hudson River?
Theresa Pellechi, May 2013  with Dr. William Flank
American Eel  migrate into tributaries of the Hudson River.  This study looked at a set of chemical, physical and biological characteristics of several streams and determined that there was no correlation between eel numbers and any of the parameters measured.

Analysis of Carbon Dioxide Sequestration by Urban Forests in Westchester, New York Using 2010 ICLEI CO2 Reports and iTree – VUE
Jeffrey H. Devine, July 2012
The ICLEI method of determining carbon dioxide emissions by towns in four towns in Westchester was used to compare to the results of an iTree VUE analysis of the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed and sequestered by the town forests. 

Growing Moringa oleifera in Haiti - a Suitability Study
Antonio Scarfone, December 2011
Haiti is a country plagued by problems, but the topic of this study is a tree that offers to stabilize soils, provide nutritious food, oil and a viable cash crop to
revitalize the agricultural sector of this deforested land.

Development of a Method to Monitor and Enforce Exacted Conservation Easements by Local Municipalities Using GIS
Patrick Walsh-Vernetti, November 2011
Property developers have often been allowed to build more densely than zoning allows if they place a portion of the plot in a conservation easement.  Often, these easements make no sense in a larger planning context.  However, they must be monitored to avoid easements becoming a sham.  This study focuses on Somers and Bedford, NY, where exacted conservation easements have had very different effects.

An Analysis of Trees Planted by the New York Restoration Project in Two New York Neighborhoods
Fulvio Serra, July 2011
The New York Restoration Project planted small trees in both 2009 and 2010 in most of the boroughs of New York City.  This thesis looks at two of these neighborhoods to determine both the mortality rate and the benefits provided by the surviving trees.  Both environmental and monetary benefits are discussed.

A Comparison of Methods to Control Bird/Aircraft Interaction at Airports of North America and Europe
Erica Vella, July 2011
Birdstrikes involving airplanes and birds have been a problem since the early days of human aviation.  This thesis examines the methods used at five of the ten busiest airports in the US and five of the ten busiest airports in Europe.  The thesis examines the causes of this problem and provides suggestions for new ways of control.

Hydrological Analysis of the Impact of the Removal of Impervious Surfaces at Pace University in Pleasantville, NY 
Luke Latimer, May 2011
Pace University is considering altering the campus and replacing some of the impervious surfaces with pervious materials.  This study quantifies the changes in stormwater runoff with various scenarios of percentage of removal.  The analysis was done with a combination of GIS and iTree Hydro, a Beta version of the US Forest Service's iTree suite of software for assessing the impact and benefits of vegetational cover.

A Study of the Causes of and Solutions for Flooding in the Black Dirt Region of Orange County, NY
Marlene Robles, May 2011
The Black Dirt region of Orange County, NY is a productive agricultural area that is situated on an ancient floodplain.  The soils are deep and rich in organic matter.  Farmers in the region are distressed over periodic flooding.  This study analyzes the attitudes of farmers, environmentalists and planners about this problem and suggests ways to ameliorate or lessen the flooding problems.

Determining the Carbon Footprint for the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture and Education
Francesco Russo, December 2010
The carbon footprint due to the different activities at Stone Barns was determined.  This study included the contributions to the carbon emissions from all building activities, farming, composting, the employees' vehicle use, the summer camp and visitors to the restaurant and educational center.

Mapping Conservation Easements with GIS in Norwalk, Connecticut
Yu Sun, December 2010
The individual conservation easements by private developers to the city of Norwalk, Connecticut were kept as paper files until this study, which converted the paper files to electronic and mapped out the easement areas for the city.  These mapped areas can now be a part of Norwalk's GIS database and can also be viewed in Google Earth.

A Plan to Control Phragmites Australis in Cattus Island , New Jersey
Rose Wardell, August 2010
The relatively pristine nature preserve is being quickly overgrown with Phragmites australis.  This paper proposes a non-chemical method for controlling the invasive species in a low-budged way.

Determining the Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Management Educational Needs in Katonah, NY
Allison Tapley Thompson, August 2010
To prepare the citizens of Katonah for the concept of decentralized wastewater treatment management, a manual for homeowners and a series of educational modules were developed after a survey was conducted to determine how well residents understood their wastewater treatment systems.

Volunteer Stream Monitoring: A Comparison of Methods Used in New York , New Jersey and Connecticut
Nanzhu Li, July 2010
The adjacent areas of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut use different methods to evaluate their streams using the power of volunteer groups.  In this paper, the different methods and protocols are compared and evaluated.

The Struggles of Regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Communities in Implementing the Stormwater Phase II Requirements In New York State
Natalie Browne, June 2010
Communities have been forced to evaluate their stormwater handling methods by the EPA in an unfunded mandate.  This paper looks at how communities have coped with this mandate and how they implement the requirements with no money for manpower.

Decentralized Wastewater Management Options for the Village of Katonah in Bedford, New York.
Agustina Lopez-Novilla, November 2009
Onsite wastewater treatment management programs in the Northeast were evaluated for relevance to the needs of Katonah, NY.

Analysis of 2007 Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Government and Community Sources in Tarrytown, NY
Jennifer Zunino-Smith, October 13, 2009
The town of Tarrytown, NY signed on to an international agreement that allows communities to assess their carbon dioxide output by different community sectors.  This study detailed where the carbon dioxide is generated. Development of a Tree Ordinance for New Castle, New York

The Development of a Tree Ordinance for the Town of New Castle, New York
Xiaoliang Yang, July 2009
The town of New Castle had a tree ordinance, but it was very outdated and the town was no eligible for Tree City, USA status.  Using tree ordinances of similar towns in similar climates around the USA, the student crafted an ordinance that could be used as a model for New Castle as they work through the process of creating their new ordinance.

Optimizing Tree Planting in New York City
Arianna Morani, July 2009
She worked with the New York Restoration Project in New York City on the Million Trees initiative.  She used GIS and the US Forest Service's UFORE and iTree programs, along with data on air pollution around the city.  She determined where the trees should be planted, what the expected mortality rate would be and had a tree maintenance schedule.

An Assessment of the Reduction of Mercury Emissions at a Steel Manufacturing Company in the State of New Jersey 
Indira Rattiram, 2008
Steel recycling plants use discarded automobiles as their feedstock.  This thesis evaluated different adsorbents used in the stacks of one plant in reducing the amount of mercury discharged out its stack.

A Historical and GIS Investigation into the Locations of Historic Hat Factory Sites in Danbury, Connecticut
Sunera Rahman, 2008
Danbury, Connecticut was the site of many hat factories from the mid 1800's until the 1940's.  The widespread use of mercury for carroting the fur led to a variety of ailments, many of which were mental.  This study is the first to accurately locate where each of the hat factories were sited and identifies the properties on the tax map that either are or could be affected by historic mercury contamination. 

Using GIS to Determine the Capacity of Green Roofs to Reduce Stormwater in the Combined Sewer Overflow Area in Yonkers , New York
Safeera Gaffar, 2008
A large area of Yonkers, New York does not have separate sewers for sanitary wastewater and stormwater.  During rain storms, these combined waters are directed away from the sewage treatment plant and into the Hudson River.  Of the 21 “regulators,” only one directs this combined flow into a primary plant for sedimentation and chlorination before disposal into the Hudson .  This study looked for flat rooftops that could be green roofed and used two different systems to determine how much stormwater could be delayed from entering the sewers.

A Comprehensive Plan to Improve Choate Pond
Dalton Moore, 2007
Choate Pond is the centerpiece of the Pace University Pleasantville, NY campus.  Since it was enlarged in 1975, there has been no maintenance, resulting in severe filling of the pond and persistent vegetative growth in and around the water.  This plan calls for a systematic approach to improving the pond and maintaining it sustainably.  

A Reporting Protocol for Golf Courses in Audubon International Program
Michael Colombo, 2007
Audubon International has been certifying golf courses as wildlife sanctuaries for over fifteen years.  While the intention of the thesis was to correlate adoption of the program by golf courses to reduction in chemical use, Michael found something more troubling:  The records that were submitted for certification had no consistency or order and were never reviewed by the association.  He developed a format for Audubon to adopt in order to formalize the certification process and allow it to stand up to scrutiny.  

Using GIS Mapping to Assist Historical Preservation Programs in the Town of Bedford, New York
Angela Hough, 2006
, New York has an ordinance to halt teardowns of buildings that were constructed prior to 1900.  However, there was no knowledge of where these properties were.  With the use of old maps that showed the location of houses in different eras and GIS with the current property tax map, she was able to show that the method could be used to identify the properties under question.  

Using GIS Mapping to Determine the Impact of a Wetland Ordinance in the Town of New Paltz , New York
Greg Fleicher, 2006
New Paltz’s mayor was an upstart 24-year-old who ran on an environmental platform.  He initiated the change in the wetland setback regulations to 100 feet (from 50 feet).  This changed the amount of developable land, but also preserved several important wetlands in the area.  He used GIS to map out the affected lands and established the importance of the affected areas.  

The Relationship Between Successional Lands and Shantytown Location on Sint Maarten and the Identification of Possible Solutions
Beverly Mae Nisbeth, 2006
She mapped out the shantytowns on the island and identified the root causes of the proliferation of these areas.  It was an economic, demographic, social and legal nightmare, but she found the causes and identified possible solutions.  

Consideration of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Methods in Dakar, Senegal
Solange Yayi, 2005
She worked with information about the wastewater treatment needs of Dakar , Senegal and the needs of a developing nation with water shortages.  She is now the head of Water for Children, a nonprofit organization in Benin, West Africa.  

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Environmental Remediation' Draft DER-10 Technical Guidance for Site Investigation and Remediation as Applied to the Retail Petroleum Industry
Brian Melancon, 2004
He worked at a consulting company where the team members had to grapple with the everyday application of the almost-unintelligible language of the DER-10 legislation.  He developed a guide for working with the document, so that his company could better interpret the regulations and how they should advise their clients.  

Judaism and the Environment: A Proposal for Tradition and Change 
Jennifer E. Richardson, 2004
After having worked in Jewish day camps for several years, she came to the realization that there was a need for environmental education in the suburban Jewish community.  She developed an educational program to use Old Testament teachings to reinforce environmental stewardship.  She made a program to be taught at day schools.  She is now in charge of outreach programs at Tel Aviv University .

The Development of a System To Evaluate The Effectiveness Of Wastewater Treatment Plants in Antigua
Hardley G. Blake, 2003
This project involved inspecting all of the resort wastewater treatment plants on the island and determining what aspects of the different plants were operating properly and what were the effects of mismanaged plants.  It developed a systematic method to evaluate the facilities.

An Assessment on the Impact of a Series of Beaver Ponds on the Quality of Water Running Through Them
Melissa LaMacchia, 2003
She monitored the nutrients and other chemical components of waters as they progressed through a series of beaver ponds in a secluded area of New York.

Do Best Management Practices Reduce the Impacts On Water Quality When Building A Small Bridge At The Rockefeller Park Preserver?
Elizabeth Carleton Kline, 2002
This project involved doing chemical and benthic macroinvertebrate sampling upstream and downstream of a site where a bridge was to be replaced.  She established the baseline conditions and monitored the sites during and after construction to see if the proposed sediment control plans worked satisfactorily (They did.).

Hazardous Tree Assessment at  Rockefeller State Park Preserve Utilizing Global Positioning Systems and Geographic Information Systems
Katrina R. Shindledecker  2002
Parks are becoming increasingly vulnerable to lawsuits because of tree damage to property or lives.  Since RSPP has many trees that are at maturity, many are in danger of causing damage.  She mapped out all the dead and dangerous trees and identified the species.  She mapped all of this, using GIS.  

The Pace University Surface Water Quality Monitoring and Analysis Project
Danielle Jackson, 2001
In order for Pace to get permission to execute development plans, there had to be a water monitoring program in place.  She developed a water monitoring plan and compared the results that were obtained from a certified lab to the results she got from using Hach kits.