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Why don’t they take action? Understanding Resident Decision Making in an Urbanizing Watershed. Kristina Slagle, Robyn S. Wilson, Deborah K. Hersha , and Anne Baird The Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources. USDA-NIFA Goals.

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why don t they take action understanding resident decision making in an urbanizing watershed

Why don’t they take action? Understanding Resident Decision Making in an Urbanizing Watershed

Kristina Slagle, Robyn S. Wilson, Deborah K. Hersha, and Anne Baird

The Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources

usda nifa goals
USDA-NIFA Goals
  • National Integrated Water Quality Program
    • Improving surface water quality by disseminating knowledge and providing tools that improve land use decision making among rural and urbanizing communities.
  • Watershed Scale Projects
    • Improve the effectiveness of conservation practices and programs through innovative social science research that informs the development of more informed and focused education and extension efforts, targeting critical populations in a degraded and rapidly urbanizing watershed.
key questions for water outreach professionals
Key questions for water outreach professionals

1. What do citizens know about water quality?

2. What influences matter to citizens with regards to stream stewardship?

method mental models
Method: Mental Models
  • Step 1: Creation of expert model of environmental risk issues
  • Step 2: Mental models interviews with target audiences
  • Step 3: Conducting a confirmatory survey
  • Step 4: Testing and evaluating communications and Extension resources
expert decision model

Policy and Outreach

Ecosystem Knowledge

Perceived risk & Decision making

Expert Decision Model

Individual & Societal Influences

Ecological Knowledge

Biota*

Connectivity Effects

Stream Geomorphology

Watershed

Stream Hydrology

Channel Development

Headwaters

Internal Function

Restorative Properties

Habitat

Wetlands

Floodplains

Trophic Dynamics

External Function

Chemistry

* Expert Response 50% or Greater

Scientific Research Studies

Basic Knowledge Studies

Threat and Impact Studies

Human Behavior Studies

Individual Differences

Personal Preferences*

Values

Socio-demographic

Quality Information Gathering and Processing

Information Availability*

Motivation*

Information Quality

Ability to Gather /Assimilate Information

Socio-Cultural Drivers

Culture*

Tradition*

Social Norms

Peer Net work

Threats/Impacts

Pollution*

Run-off/Sedimentation*

Land Use

Human Practices

Natural Influences

Identification Failure

Stream Structure/Function Alterations

Outreach and Education

Mass Media*

One-on-One and Small Group*

Technical Outreach*

Outreach/Learning Enhancements

Self-Directed Learning

Landowner/Citizen Internalization of Threat

Awareness

Perception Benefits of Healthy Streams/ Positive Action*

Perception Risk of Degraded streams/Negative Action*

Experience with Streams*

Adaptive Capacity

Pre-Internalization Barriers

Insufficient Communication*

Benign Neglect*

Decision making Errors

Limited Knowledge

Influential Actors

Community

Government*

Special Interest

NGOs

Water Law and Policy

Federal Government

State Government

Local Government

Post-Internalization Barriers

Institutional Constraints*

Economic Interests

Action Sustainability

Continued Education*

Individual Involvement/Buy-In*

Purposeful Planning

Community Support

Economic Support

Economic Drivers

Livelihood Protection*

Access to Resources*

Industry Pressure

High Management Costs

Citizen Decisions to Maintain and Restore Stream and Watershed Health

Stream Restoration*

Land Management

Water Filtration

Monitoring/Prevention

Riparian Restoration

Desired Outcomes

Achieve Regulatory Goals*

Informed/Engaged Public*

Improved Watershed/Stream Health*

Sustainable Business/Industry

slide7

Landowner/Citizen Internalization of Threat

Awareness

Perception Benefits of Healthy Streams/ Positive Action*

Perception Risk of Degraded streams/Negative Action*

Experience with Streams*

Adaptive Capacity

Pre-Internalization Barriers

Insufficient Communication*

Benign Neglect*

Decision making Errors

Limited Knowledge

Post-Internalization Barriers

Institutional Constraints*

Economic Interests

ACTION STOPPERS

Streamside Landowner and Citizen Decision Making regarding Stewardship of Community Streams and the Watershed

Stream Restoration*

Land Management

Water Filtration

Monitoring/Prevention

Riparian Restoration

Experts say a lack of communication/coordination between agencies and between agencies and citizens are barriers to action

method mental models1
Method: Mental Models
  • Step 1: Creation of expert model of environmental risk issues
  • Step 2: Mental models interviews with target audiences
  • Step 3: Conducting a confirmatory survey
  • Step 4: Testing and evaluating communications and Extension resources
community participants
Community Participants
  • 24 streamside landowners interviewed
  • Ages 30-80 (average 45)
  • Agricultural, rural residential, suburban
  • Landowners were identified in critical areas in watershed (natural areas in need of preservation or impaired areas)
  • Range of experiences with conservation programs (50% some experience, 50% no experience with conservation agents)
  • Identified major influences on streamside decisions to be targeted through new extension and outreach efforts
gap 1 defining stream health
Gap 1: Defining Stream Health
  • Gap:
    • Experts frequently discussed stream structures/functions.
    • Landowners described healthy streams as those that were visually appealing
  • Significance:
    • Landowners reactive instead of proactive
    • Ability to recognize problems limited and actions focus on stream flow (log jam removal).
gap 2 the cost of streamside landownership
Gap 2: The cost of streamside landownership
  • Gap:
    • Experts did not appear to be aware of the importance of costs to landowners, particularly when all costs are considered (time, financial expense, and physical/ emotional toll).
  • Significance:
    • This lack of familiarity may lead experts to focus outreach and education efforts primarily on encouraging practices to improve stream and watershed health while overlooking more salient concerns of landowners.
gap 3 awareness of regulations and responsible actors
Gap 3: Awareness of regulations and responsible actors
  • Gap:
    • Study participants who had no previous contact with a conservation organization, were largely unfamiliar with actions to restore and protect streams, local regulations, and responsible organizations.
  • Significance:
    • This lack of awareness could have a potential negative impact on participants‘ adaptive capacity or belief in their ability to take action.
gap 4 influential actors
Gap 4: Influential Actors
  • Gap:
    • Experts emphasized the role of non-profit organizations.
    • Landowners emphasized local and state governments as influential.
  • Significance:
    • Suburban residents may not be familiar with watersheds organizations
    • Rural residential/ag may be more comfortable with govt/university assistance.
gap 5 cultural tensions
Gap 5: Cultural Tensions
  • Gap:
    • Cultural divide between people ag/environmental values; strong opposed to the metro park proposal moving from private to public ownership; suburban participants‘ experiences frustration with local governments assistance with flooding.
  • Significance:
    • May need to be addressed before conservation considered by ag, rural residential, and suburban audiences.
gap 6 actions to restore and protect streams
Gap 6: Actions to Restore and Protect Streams
  • Gap
    • Experts did not mention some of the low cost action options to restore and protect streams mentioned by streamside landowners including education, collaboration, and volunteering
  • Significance
    • Important first steps for landowners
final considerations
Final considerations
  • Risks of concern to landowners:
    • Loss of recreation potential, health affects, and loss of a functional property (adequate drainage, pleasing aesthetically, and protected market value).
method mental models2
Method: Mental Models
  • Step 1: Creation of expert model of environmental risk issues
  • Step 2: Mental models interviews with target audiences
  • Step 3: Conducting a confirmatory survey
  • Step 4: Testing and evaluating communications and Extension resources
survey
Survey
  • Mailed to 2000 in watershed
  • Second mailing going out next week
  • RISP model (Griffin, Dunwoody, and Neuwirth, 1999)
    • Avoiding/Seeking information about stream health
    • Heuristic/Systematic processing of information
  • Theory of planned behavior (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980)
    • Understand antecedents to stream-health related behaviors.
thanks
Thanks!
  • USDA-NIFA (formerly USDA-CSREES)
  • Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools
  • Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
  • Friends of Big Walnut Creek
  • Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Our study participants

http://ohiowatersheds.osu.edu/usda

contact info
Contact info

Kristina Slagle

Slagle.44@osu.edu

Robyn Wilson

Wilson.1376@osu.edu

614.247.6169

Anne Baird

Baird.41@osu.edu

focusing on the effects at the expense of the cause
Focusing on the Effects at the Expense of the Cause?

Ecological Knowledge

Biota*

Connectivity Effects

Stream Geomorphology

Watershed

Stream Hydrology

Channel Development

Headwaters

Internal Function

Restorative Properties

Habitat

Wetlands

Floodplains

Trophic Dynamics

External Function

Chemistry

Experts most frequently indicated

that “effects” should be a primary target

as to what citizens and landowners need

to know to make good decisions

Threats/Impacts

Pollution*

Run-off/Sedimentation*

Land Use

Human Practices

Natural Influences

Identification Failure

Stream Structure/Function Alterations

slide23

It’s More Than Science

Individual Differences

Personal Preferences*

Values

Socio-demographic

Socio-Cultural Drivers

Culture*

Tradition*

Social Norms

Peer Net work

Quality Information Gathering & Processing

Information Availability*

Motivation*

Information Quality

Ability to Gather /Assimilate Information

Landowner/Citizen Internalization of Threat

Awareness*

Perception Benefits of Healthy Streams/ Positive Action*

Perception Risk of Degraded streams/Negative Action*

Experience with Streams*

Adaptive Capacity

Economic Drivers

Livelihood Protection*

Access to Resources*

Industry Pressure

High Management Costs

methodology mixed
Methodology: Mixed
  • Case study into a particular phenomenon
    • streamside land management decisions in an urbanizing watershed
  • Rocky Fork/Blacklick
    • rapidly urbanizing typical of many Midwestern watersheds in transition
  • Constructivist grounded theory
    • tells the story of people in their own words used both to develop interview guide and analyze data)