NC1190: Catalysts for Water Resources Protection and Restoration: Applied Social Science Research

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Active

NC1190: Catalysts for Water Resources Protection and Restoration: Applied Social Science Research

Duration: 10/01/2021 to 09/30/2026

Administrative Advisor(s):


NIFA Reps:


Statement of Issues and Justification

     Statement of Issues and Justification

Need as indicated by stakeholders

Individual and collective actions, intended and unintended, have consequences that put the quality of our water resources at risk. Non-point source (NPS) pollutants delivered across the landscape are a primary source of impairment of US waters (National Water Quality Inventory Report to Congress http:www.epa.gov/305b; USEPA 2013). Although NPS pollution is diffuse, its ultimate source is readily understood as rooted in the day-to-day actions and management decisions of all citizens, urban and rural (Morton and Brown, 2011).

The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) reports that siltation, nutrients, bacteria, metals, and oxygen-depleting substances are among the top contributors to water impairment in the nation (http:www.epa.gov/305b). USEPA estimates that the agricultural sector is the largest source of impairment affecting nearly half of all streams and rivers that have water quality problems and the source of more than 45% of damage to lakes and 18% of damage to estuaries (Ribaudo and Johansson 2006). In the Mississippi River watershed, agriculture contributes 71% of nitrogen and 80% of phosphorus to the Gulf of Mexico (Porter et al. 2015). Further, agriculture accounts for most of the drained wetlands in the contiguous 48 states (Hansen 2006) and a majority of threatened or endangered species listed (Cox 2007; Batie 2009). When an excess of pollutants such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment from human activities in agriculture, industries and urban areas leak into water bodies the result is often downstream eutrophication and hypoxia (insufficient oxygen to support aquatic life) (Gulf Hypoxia 2008 Action Plan).

The incidence of hypoxia in coastal waters has increased 30-fold since 1960 (Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, 2010.), and is becoming a fixture in many freshwater systems including the Great Lakes. Two water bodies with significant hypoxic zones are the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay. The Gulf of Mexico is fed by the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers, which drain a land mass comprising 41 percent of the contiguous United States. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, and the third largest in the world. The watershed covers approximately 64,000 square miles of the northeast and mid-Atlantic states (New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware, and Washington DC). A third area of significant concern is the freshwater hypoxic zone that has developed in Lake Erie -- geographically, the lowest and most shallow of the North American Great Lakes, bordered by Ontario, Canada, and the U.S. states of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.  While the lake is surrounded by dense population and industry, as well as intensive agricultural production.  Of particular concern in the Mississippi River Basin, the Chesapeake Bay region, and the Great Lakes are the sediments, nitrogen, and phosphorous that derive from a combination of nonpoint sources (agriculture, development, and urban runoff) and point sources (wastewater treatment plants).All these problems will be exacerbated by climate change, which is expected to lead to increased degradation of soil and water resources (Rossi et al., 2009; Collins et al., 2011, Reuter 2018).

Central to solving the problem of impaired waters is recognition of the role of humans, individually and collectively. Current land use decisions, identification of water resource problems, beliefs that the environment is at risk, perceptions of the need to act and willingness to engage in finding solutions are all factors that influence how water resources are managed. While agriculture is the largest contributor to water quality impairment in the U.S., other sources continue to pose problems, including runoff from urban development (Ribaudo and Johansson 2006). The importance of wide public involvement in solving the complex problems of water quality and NPS was a common theme in 2000 reports to USEPA by 39 states, tribes and territories submitting drinking water use data and reporting on the condition of their water bodies. A multi-state random sample water issue survey completed in 36 of the U.S. states (2002 through 2009) conducted by Dr. Robert Mahler, University of Idaho under a USDA Integrated Water Quality project reveals that the overall average perception for surface water quality is fair (Mahler et al. 2013). The overall average perception of ground water quality is midway between fair and good/excellent, although higher than that of surface water (Hu and Morton 2012). More recent public opinion surveys have sought to understand the opinions of water resources at the intersection of other resources, such as the Food-Energy-Water nexus. Interestingly, analysis of a 2015 national general population survey found that people exhibit greater understanding of the water-energy nexus than the water-food nexus (Portney et al. 2017). Although these findings suggest modest public awareness of water resources issues, key social, economic and ecological events and the mechanisms by which these conditions are translated into individual and collective actions and lead to changes in behaviors are not well understood. Similarly, the draft strategies on the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River Basin Task Force, and action plans to meet the goals of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement include many efforts to assist with land management at the local level through technical assistance, education, and financial resources to help land owners, local governments, and watershed-based organizations to make better decisions about land use and management. Public education campaigns can provide information to residents about the impacts of the land management activities on their nearby waterways. What is lacking, however, is an understanding of the decision-making process between awareness and action, or how other non-educational events might trigger awareness and action. A recent meta-analysis of factors associated with the adoption of agriculture conservation practices (a primary strategy for controlling NPS pollution) led by group member Prokopy (2019) found few variables that consistently predicted adoption.  Furthermore, a recent special issue in the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education, including contributions from several members of this team, suggests directions for future work in this realm, including: the role of watershed leaders in spurring water resources action (Bonnell et al. 2019; Burbach and Reimers-Hild 2019); the use of serious games for effective water resources outreach (Bathke et al. 2019); and the role of good governance principles in watershed management (Floress et al. 2019).

Importance of the work and what consequences are if it is not done

Policy tools designed to provide financial incentives and technical support for voluntary and cost effective actions by citizens and communities have been the dominant framework applied by agencies with NPS oversight. Voluntary approaches dominate largely because of the Clean Water Act’s exemption of nonpoint pollution (generally) from regulatory permit programs. This has meant using existing conservation programs and at times encouraging adaptive management. This approach has had limited success. The social sciences have not been systematically applied to discover which policy tools are most effective in changing behaviors and practices and to build a body of knowledge as to why they are effective, and how they might be modeled to guide future interventions. Yet programs are being created and implemented at multiple levels of government as well as by nonprofit organizations that attempt to change land management behavior without a clear social science knowledge base from which to create those interventions.

Although much of the biological science and technological solutions have been tested, the social and human dimensions implementing (or not) actions that reduce water resource impairments are not well understood. If we do not develop a clear, scientifically-sound understanding of human behaviors related to water management, we will continue to spend public money ineffectively on educational and voluntary programs without significant impact on water quality (see Wardropper et al. in review). Lack of adequate progress on water quality triggered regulatory actions in the Chesapeake Bay and could do so in the Mississippi River Basin or elsewhere. This move towards tighter regulations and punitive sanctions could put increasing pressure on both social and natural scientists to ensure that the science behind programs and policies is sound; currently, we do not have the social science knowledge we need to undergird such policy directions. This lack of social science knowledge ultimately results in an increased tension over the rights between the public and private ownership and use of water. The importance of understanding socioeconomic dimensions to increase voluntary adoption of practices is recognized by federal agencies working in partnership on Gulf Hypoxia (USEPA 2013) and more broadly on Coastal Waters Hypoxia (Committee on Environmental and Natural Resources 2010).

We propose continuing this multistate research technical committee to begin to fill the gap in the knowledge base of social-human interactions with water resource management.

Overarching Research Questions:

  • How do catalysts interact with social and ecological conditions to create or prevent change in conservation behaviors, resource management, and governance within a water context?
  • What facilitates change in conservation behaviors, resource management, governance, and social justice within a water context?

 

Specific questions

  • How are key catalysts for change in conservation behavior, resource management, and governance translated into individual, collective, and institutional action?
  • How are catalysts influenced by socio-economic, institutional, and ecological conditions?
  • What types of outcomes emerge from various types of catalysts?
  • What are the various institutional roles in addressing these processes?
  • How do efforts to address water resource problems impact social equity? 

 

Our lack of understanding of the decision-making process is not limited to the area of water resource management. Research is also needed in the broader area of environmentally significant behavior (e.g. Stern 2000). A report from the National Research Council on environmental research priorities for the social and behavioral sciences identified understanding and better informing individuals’ environmentally significant behavior as one of the five top priority research areas (Brewer & Stern, 2005). Research in environmentally significant behavior may inform and guide water resource management.

Technical feasibility of the research

This group of scientists has been working together for over ten years. We have made significant progress in identifying catalysts of change and have developed a preliminary typology that examines catalysts for change within an individual watershed (Prokopy et al. 2014). We are making progress on a second typology; a preliminary version is included in the next section. This team has documented its ability to work together with numerous publications, conference sessions and grant proposals written jointly – see annual reports for further information.

Advantages of doing the work as a multistate effort

Current team members represent several key basins - Mississippi River, Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, and the Columbia River - that contribute to the development of significant algal blooms and hypoxic zones in major national water bodies. These      areas are also currently the focus of major federal and state efforts to remediate and prevent pollution. Multi- state efforts create openings for quasi-experimental designs and comparative analysis. Working through a multistate team will enable the researchers to develop and test knowledge about the individual and collective actions to improve water quality across multiple ecological, cultural, political, and social contexts. In other words, working across regions will allow the researchers to more accurately identify triggers of behavioral change and under what conditions those triggers effect change. Further, many of the social scientists participating in this research have excellent case study data that are specific to their states or regions. Working across multiple states will allow for comparisons of these cases to identify key variables. To date, the opportunities and funding for across state collaboration have been limited.

Likely impacts from successfully completing the work

We see two broad types of impacts of this work, enhanced knowledge for academics and improved programs and decision- making for policy-makers. First, we envision enhanced knowledge about the triggers of behavioral change related to water resources. To do this, we will continue to synthesize past and current case studies across states to identify common and unique social patterns that influence individual and collective actions. We will develop models of the mechanisms by which these events/conditions lead to both individual and collective actions related to local water resource management. Using this research, we will develop formal individual, collective and multi-level models of behavior related to water resource management that can then be tested across multiple scales and regions.

The second major area of impact of this research will be to provide information and guidance for resource management agencies (such as EPA and state level agencies) so that they have an enhanced understanding of the contribution of the social sciences to solving impaired water issues. These agencies will be better poised to develop tools for encouraging conservation behaviors that supplement and enhance current educational efforts. We also expect to develop adaptive management strategy guidelines that can be used to guide community development interventions, such as those used by nonprofit natural resource organizations (e.g., local watershed groups) and local government agencies to effectively mobilize resources for consistent water quality outcomes.

Related, Current and Previous Work

Related, Current and Previous Work

A CRIS review in 2020 found 76 records that included the terms "water" and "social dimensions"; 231      records were found with a search for "watershed" and "attitudes", and 16 found that included “conservation behavior” and “drivers.”   Few of these projects, however, are directly related to this project. Among the active projects, Qui (Hatch project FLA-FTL-005640 funded in 2017) seeks to measure ecosystem services associated with changes in working landscapes, but does not focus on the social and institutional drivers or barriers to how information about ecosystem service outcomes will affect land management behaviors. Leahy (McIntire-Stennis ME041707, funded in 2016) focuses on the development and integration of theoretical and empirical models for conservation behaviors, but focuses on sustainable forest management, not water. Similarly, Pavao-Zuckerman et al (Hatch MD-ENST-6894, funded in 2017) develop coupled social-ecological models to help identify drivers and solutions for environmental challenges (in general) but do not specifically address the role of catalysts and/or water resources management. Mehmood et al (McIntire-Stennis OHO00056-MS, funded in 2019) address the role of social and economic factors in shaping community sustainability and resilience in natural resource management, but focus on forested landscapes, urban green infrastructure, and social issues like health and childcare. This project does overlap with our goals in that it highlights the role of both structural and agency-centered drivers, addresses issues of social equity, and is interested in identifying policy and program solutions that can be used to improve social and environmental outcomes. Wilson et al. (Hatch OHO01445, awarded in 2018) has many areas of overlap in their focus on individual, social and institutional drivers of water quality decisions. While they do not utilize a ‘catalyst’ framing, we see opportunities to collaborate with their team on the proposed NC1190 effort.  Hawthorne et al. (MINW-2019-08659, an AFRI grant funded in 2020) uses survey data and econometric modeling approaches to identify optimal design of incentives for conservation in an agricultural watershed. Neale received an AFRI grant in 2017 that explores the impact of water norms and provision of feedback on water use rates to farmers to promote irrigation conservation, and represents a much more narrowly focused study compared to our proposed effort. Other active multi-state projects with overlapping areas of interest include W4133 (Costs and Benefits of Natural Resources on Public and Private Lands: Management, Economic Valuation, and Integrated Decision-Making), which focuses primarily on the issue of economic valuation and decision-making around climate change scenarios. While there are overlaps with the work we are doing, our approach is much more focused on social dimensions and dynamics.       

This multistate project has been working together for over ten years and has made substantial progress towards developing an improved understanding of the ways that catalysts and other social, economic and institutional factors affect conservation behaviors that impact water quality and water quantity outcomes. This is exemplified in the catalytic process framwork (Figures 1 and 2), and in several recent publications by NC1190 members (Burbach et al. 2019; Floress et al 2017; Gardezi and Arbuckle 2019; Prokopy et al. 2019; Ranjan et al. 2019; Roesch-McNally et al 2018; Singh et al 2018). Catalytic processes are multi-dimensional and iterative, encompassing temporal (time), biophysical, and social scales that even as they change create feedback mechanisms leading to trajectories of future change. The geobiophysical influences and impacts (geography [place based/not place-based] and social influences and impacts (individual, group, institutional, nation-state, global) can result in changes in baseline conditions over time and space leading to: a. maladaption, hypercoherence, b. adaptation, c. sustained change, d. transformation, and/or e. irreversibility.

In response, the present proposal is refocused on the issues we feel are most important and productive to explore through our collaborative multi-state research and engagement efforts.  Specifically, we have revised our first objective to focus on the integrated effects of catalysts, structures, and individual behaviors in driving water outcomes. We also combined two objective that appeared in our last proposal

Current and previous work of NC1190 participants include testing and assessing different aspects of this framework to validate and refine.

Other current work by team members is outlined below.

Dr. Ken Genskow (UW-Madison) is exploring collaboration and leadership among local farmer watershed councils in Wisconsin associated with water quality improvement goals. Related work examines management practice adoption and decision making related to agricultural nitrogen influences on groundwater drinking water sources in vulnerable areas. A third area of emphasis includes watershed management networks and their role in market-like approaches to nutrient reduction in point-nonpoint (e.g., water quality trading and variants in Wisconsin).

Iowa State University professor of sociology and extension sociologist Dr. J. Arbuckle conducts survey, focus group, and in-depth interview research on farmers’ and agricultural stakeholders’ decisions and behaviors related to soil and water conservation. As director of the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, an annual survey of Iowa Farmers, he measures farmers’ soil and water conservation-related awareness, concern, and behaviors, especially those that are water quality-related. He has co-authored papers and grant proposals with NC1190 members Sarah Church, Linda Prokopy, Kathy Brasier, Kristin Floress, Mae Davenport, and others.

Much of Dr. Mark Burbach’s current work involves collaboration with fellow NC1190 members Brasier, Eaton, and Chaudhary on a multi-disciplinary, multi-state project studying what changes with individuals, groups, communities, and the environment through the community-led engagement process. The team has developed a conceptual framework for enabling social and environmental change through stakeholder engagement in water resource management and is collecting data pre, during, and post engagements using qualitative and quantitative methods to test components of the framework. Additionally, his current research involves studying the effect of boundary spanners on collaborative water management, studying predictors of ranchers’ pro-environmental behavior, and testing the effectiveness of the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy in catalyzing change in participants to become civically engaged in the area of water policy.

Dr. Sarah Church, Montana State University, has conducted research on water quality tools and the role of systems thinking in conservation decision-making and communication over the past five years. She led a policy review with an NC1190 team (Drs. Floress, Ulrich-Schad, Eaton, Gasteyer, Ranjan, Wardropper, and Rissman) in which they examined a range of water quality improvement policy tools that influence urban-agricultural relationships (Church et al. 2020). Dr. Church also surveyed producers and three watersheds and found that producers who are systems thinkers are more likely to adopt cover crops (a water quality and soil health practice) than non-cover crop adopters (Church et al. 2020). In addition, Dr. Church led a study that sought to understand communication gaps between NRCS staff and farmers related to conservation communication and adoption. This work has been extended to NRCS and the National Wildlife Federation through a white paper (Church et al. 2019). Dr. Church also produced two films depicting efforts watershed stakeholders undertake to protect water quality and developed an informational website on water quality actions (see https://iwrrc.org/commongroundcommonwater/ for the films and accompanying educational material). She screened the film with stakeholders across Indiana and collected evaluation data after each screening. Dr. Church is working on a peer reviewed paper using data from film evaluation data. Dr. Church also co-authored a paper in an open access special issue of the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education, titled “The BeargrassStory: Utilizing social science to inform, evaluate, and learn from the “watershed approach” (Church et al. 2019) with NC1190 collaborators (Drs. Babin, Ulrich-Schad, Ranjan, and Prokopy).

Dr. Tonya Haigh, Research Specialist at the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), University of Nebraska – Lincoln has led research related to how specialty crop growers in the Midwest manage climate risks including too much water and too little, developing decision calendars that will improve the development and delivery of climate information. Haigh and coauthors from the NDMC also contributed an article on the use of scenario-based exercises for building cross-sector collaboration for water management planning under climate extremes, published in the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education special issue that was led by NC1190 members Floress, Prokopy, and Burbach. In the Great Plains region, Haigh has led research on decision-making timing and considerations with regard to ranch drought management, finding that some ranchers may delay taking action during drought past the point of optimal response, and that having a drought plan appears to support ranchers’ timely perceiving of risk and influences the choice of response actions during drought. Haigh has also coauthored a number of publications with NC1190 members Prokopy and Church on the provision of climate information for agriculture.

Dr. Kristin Floress co-edited with Dr. Mark Burbach and Dr. Linda Prokopy an open access special issue of the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education comprised of the work of the NC1190 team.  The issue, titled “Catalyzing Change: Social Science for Water Resources Management” includes seven studies conducted by NC1190 team members and their cooperators and shows the various lenses through which team members are examining catalysts for water action. Dr. Floress also co-led with Dr. Linda Prokopy and Dr. J. Gordon Arbuckle the development of a database of all quantitative research in the United States that examined agricultural program and practice adoption between 1982 and 2018. The database was published and is publicly available (Floress et al. 2019). She co-authored two journal articles from the database (Prokopy et al. 2019 and Ranjan et al. 2019) as well as a paper on water quality improvement efforts and urban-rural relationships (Church et al. 2020).

Dr. Pranay Ranjan and Dr. Linda Prokopy at Purdue University are collaborating with Iowa State University, USDA-ARS, and USDA-NRCS to understand the use of Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) – a watershed-scale assessment decision support tool, in priority watersheds, and assess the readiness of NRCS staff and partners to use the ACPF. To that end, their team (including Emily Usher at Purdue, and Hanna Bates and others at Iowa State) has conducted interviews with NRCS staff holding leadership positions, and is planning to administer an online survey and conduct focus groups during spring/summer 2021. Their team is currently working on a manuscript (to be published in a special issue of Journal of Hydrology) exploring how end users (NRCS staff) perceive and use the ACPF, and NRCS’ organizational and structural elements that could enable or hinder ACPF dissemination throughout the agency (Ranjan, et al., in-prep). Drs. Ranjan and Prokopy, in collaboration with Drs. Arbuckle, Church, Floress, Gramig, and others, recently completed a review and meta-analysis of 35 years of social science research papers examining adoption of conservation practices. Their team has published quantitative (Prokopy, et al., 2019) and qualitative (Ranjan, et al., 2019) reviews of the adoption literature, along with a public database (Floress, et al., 2019). This work is ongoing with one manuscript currently under review in Land Use Policy examining the role of land tenure on conservation behavior (Ranjan, et al, in-review), and two manuscripts in preparation examining the role of context (Floress, et al., in-prep) and practice characteristics (Ranjan, et al., in-prep) in influencing conservation behavior. Drs. Ranjan and Prokopy are collaborating with The Nature Conservancy and Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Wardropper (formerly at Purdue; now at the University of Idaho) to further our understanding of strategies to encourage conservation adoption of rented farmland. Their collective work spanning more than three years has resulted in two published papers (Ranjan, et al., 2019; Reddy et al., 2020), and three papers under review (Masuda, et al., in-review; Weigel et al., in-review; Wardropper et al., in-review). Drs. Ranjan and Prokopy recently completed an online survey of individuals who engage with agricultural non-operating landowners in Indiana. Data from this survey are currently being analyzed to understand the role of information networks in promoting conservation behavior on rented farmland. In January 2021, Drs. Ranjan and Prokopy will begin working on a project to evaluate the role of farmer-led networks in promoting conservation behavior.

Dr. Weston Eaton, Assistant Research Professor in the Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education department at The Pennsylvania State University, is Co-PI with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant Securing Water for and from Agriculture through Effective Community and Stakeholder Engagement. He leads the social science research at the project’s core, i.e., conceptualizing and implementing our longitudinal, comparative, mixed-method and participatory research design, and coordinate research with our team’s diverse biophysical scientists and engineers, practitioners and community partners.  

 Dr. Eaton is also PI with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded and international “Advancing Scholarship and Practice of Stakeholder Engagement in Working Landscapes” Engagement Workshop Series. The series’ goals are to a) form a new collaborative research network across scholars, practitioners and stakeholders, b) develop a collaboratively defined and co-produced research agenda on the “science of engagement”, and c) publish a special issue on stakeholder and community engagement as means for building sustainable environmental futures.   

Dr. Stephen Gasteyer at Michigan State University researches community approaches to water management.  His work in most recently has included research on farmer-led conservation in the Western Lake Erie Watershed (e.g. Petit, et al. 2016; Gasteyer 2017); community approaches to inland lake management (e.g. Jermalowiscz-Jones 2017; Jermalowiscz-Jones and Gasteyer 2020); the social infrastructure of edge of field monitoring (Nunn, Awudu and Gasteyer, forthcoming); media and urban-rural conflict around water quality impairment (Lin, et al. Forthcoming; Church, et al. 2020); and competing imaginaries of groundwater management in Michigan (Lai 2017; Lai and Gasteyer forthcoming).  Gasteyer also served as research director on a study of rural access to water and sanitation in the United States (DigDeep and US Water Alliance 2019).  Gasteyer is also working with tribal partners in Michigan and Wisconsin on water quality protection, specifically community building and movements around Manoomin (wild rice) and wiingashk (sweet grass) habitat and protection against the negative impacts of extractive industries.  Emerging research includes the social organization and implications of drainage; environmental justice and water quality; and environmental justice, decentralized sanitation and water quality in the rural Midwest.

Wardropper has conducted research related to managing water quality and quantity in the Midwest – at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Purdue – and the West – at University of Idaho. Her work has followed multiple trajectories. First, she has studied the individual and social motivations and barriers to the adoption of agricultural best management practices (e.g., Lavoie et al. 2020). Second, she has studied adaptations to changes in water availability for agriculture and other sectors (e.g., Maas et al. 2020). Third, she has studied planning approaches for regional water-focused collaborations (e.g.,  Finally, Wardropper has participated in cross-cutting work with other members of NC1190, for example, as a co-author on the recent paper in Agriculture and Human Values by Church et al. (2020).

Adena Rissman is a Professor of the Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She directs the PIE lab: People, Institutions, and Ecosystems. Her research examines the governance, conservation and use of private lands and their provision of water quality and habitat benefits. She is currently part of an INFEWS project on food-energy-water-ecosystem nexus governance in the upper Midwest. She is also examining the institutional fit of water quality policy in the Northeast Lakeshore area of Wisconsin, through a University of Wisconsin Sea Grant project.

Dr. Eric Kaufmann, Dr. Mark Burbach and Dr. Kristin Floress co-authored a journal article (Burbach, Floress, and Kaufman, 2015) addressing the following question: "Are water-related leadership development programs designed to be effective?” Dr. Kaufmann’s involvement contributed to involvement in a small funded project to assess factors associated with civic organization involvement in environmental improvement projects.

Dr. Mae Davenport has investigated water values, beliefs and behaviors in a state-wide mail survey of Minnesota residents and in onsite surveys administered and cultural events in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Metropolitan area to engage members of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. This project also included a statewide survey of municipal and watershed organization staff on local capacity to manage stormwater runoff in primarily urban contexts. Dr. Davenport has collaborated with tribal and inter-tribal natural resource managers in the western Great Lakes to examine values, beliefs and behaviors associated with Manoomin (wild rice) and Manoomin harvesting. Dr. Davenport has collaborated with Dr. J. Arbuckle to investigate water supply risk perceptions and climate change beliefs among agricultural producers in central Minnesota and northwest Iowa as part of a USDA NIFA Water for Agriculture project. This work included a mail survey and series of in-depth interviews with irrigated agriculture and livestock producer communities. These projects were conducted in collaboration with multiple state agencies and local units of government.

Dr. Jessica Ulrich-Schad at South Dakota State University has analyzed survey data that examines nutrient management decision-making and use of conservation practices among agricultural landowners (including absentee) and producers in Indiana with other team members from Purdue University (Linda Prokopy, Nick Babin). Two manuscripts are under review using this data and she has presented findings in a webinar with state-level collaborators for the Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Schad has also conducted analyses of pre-post SIPES survey data from two watersheds in Indiana to provide a sense of whether local water conservation outreach efforts were effective among both agricultural and urban/lake residents with Linda Prokopy and local watershed group leaders (Busse et al. in press). Dr. Schad also worked with Indiana NRCS to design and conduct a social indicator survey and in-depth interviews on conservation practice attitudes and usage among English and Amish farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin. She has extended the research with the Amish farmers to also examine conservation agency professionals' perceptions of how to best work with this understudied population. She is working on multiple papers with Dr. Prokopy to disseminate findings from this research.

Kathryn Brasier is Professor of Rural Sociology at Penn State University. She is lead PI for the  USDA-funded Securing Water for and from Agriculture through Effective Community and Stakeholder Engagement, which is developing rigorous social science research on the effects of stakeholder engagement on water management decisions and actions. This research seeks to understand how the process of engagement catalyzes changes in individuals and participating organizations, and how it can then diffuse out to a broader set of stakeholders responsible for local water quality and quantity decisions. This transdiscplinary project is also developing outreach and extension materials to enable social and biophysical scientists and practitioners to more effectively spark change through engagement in their own efforts.

Dr. Doug Jackson-Smith at The Ohio State University led a Task Force for the OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science (CFAES) to increase the scope and impact of water quality research and extension in the state. He is actively involved in research projects exploring factors that shape water quantity (Armstrong and Jackson-Smith 2018; Barnett et al. 2019; 2020; Stoker et al 2019) and quality (Jackson-Smith et al. 2018; Barnett et al. 2018; Haeffner et al. 2017) conservation behaviors among farmers and citizens. Since joining OSU in 2016, he has been involved in a large NSF-funded interdisciplinary research project to explore the implications of Deglobalization for water quality, farm viability, and overall sustainability in the eastern Corn Belt/Great Lakes region. His work includes leading a collaborative participatory modeling process in which farmers and stakeholders contribute to the development of an integrated suite of economic and environmental models and future scenarios that are being used to explore the implications of alternative futures in the region. He is also working on a number of projects involving collaborative on-farm research and engagement to identify and increase adoption of soil health practices among midwestern farmers (Brock et al. forthcoming).

Dr. Anil Kumar Chaudhary is leading a seed grant project to understand the factors that influence adoption of conservation practices by producers in working landscapes, here specifically, the team is investigating the differences among producers who are more progressive and less progressive to adoption of BMPs. Recently, he is collaborating on a transdisciplinary USDA-NIFA SAS project as a Co-PI which seeks to create economically thriving and environmentally beneficial systems in urbanized landscapes. As one part of this project, we are looking at how technical service providers engage with producers to promote adoption of conservation practices. Dr. Kumar Chaudhary recently also joined a working group for an NSF funded project National Collaborative for Research on Food Energy, & Water Education (NC-FEW), which is emergent, a transdisciplinary community of educators and education researchers from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences (FANH) fields. NC-FEW nexus intends to systematically foster teaching and learning about Food Energy and Water (FEW) nexus among different stakeholders. Being part of the informal/non formal working group of the project, we developed a newsletter describing how this community of stakeholders can address FEW-Nexus related issues in the informal/non formal learning space through education and communication by promoting science learning, environmental justice, and sustainability. He is also collaborating on a USDA-NIFA project led by NC 1190 member Dr. Kathy Brasier, which is advancing scholarship and practice of stakeholder engagement in working landscapes.  

Dr. Jessica Ulrich-Schad at Utah State University is currently working on a number of interdisciplinary projects and papers related to how agricultural producers’ make decisions regarding soil and water conservation practice usage, including: a USDA-NIFA funded project on rangeland livestock producers’ usage of parasiticides, a project funded by the South Dakota Nutrient Research and Education Council on farmers’ usage of nutrient management practices, and a longitudinal study of commodity crop producers funded by the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council that examines the social and economic drivers of conservation practice maintenance over time.  Dr. Schad is also serving as an external evaluator for a USDA-SAS grant focused on thriving agricultural systems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in which she will be conducting longitudinal research on how stakeholders perceive urban/rural issues and relations related to agriculture.  Dr. Schad has also applied for NSF and NRCS-CIG grants to expand her work on such topics to Utah.  She has recently published papers with others in the NC1190 group in Society and Natural Resources, Agricultural and Human Values, and the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education.

Dr. Kurt Stephenson’s work focuses on the design and evaluation of nonpoint source incentive programs.  Stephenson past work investigates the promise and limitation of water quality trading, with particular emphasis on understanding the reasons underlying the lack of involvement of agricultural nonpoint sources.  His most recent work centers on the design of pay for performance systems to reduce nutrients from nonpoint sources.  Stephenson serves on the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC).  He has co-chaired several STAC workshops related to nonpoint source policy including incorporation of uncertainty about nonpoint source BMP performance into decision-making, improving targeting of nonpoint source investments, and improving NPS BMP adoption among low adopters.  

Objectives

  1. Empirically test the role of catalysts, structures, and agency as drivers of change in conservation behavior, resource management and governance in a water context to determine the mechanisms and conditions by which catalysts are translated into individual, collective, and institutional action.
  2. Understand and develop conceptual frameworks, typologies, and analytical models of individual, institutional, and collective actions and link these to social and ecological outcomes.
  3. Identify, develop and evaluate adaptive strategies to achieve desired actions and capacities to protect water resources.
  4. Assess the justice, equity, and inclusion dimension of water resources management and protection.

Methods

Synergy across states

Multiple researchers are engaged in work on catalysts for change. We have established a template for standardizing gathering, sharing, and evaluating case study information to synthesize research protocol, findings, and implications. We are using similar survey questions and research design protocol to enhance future capacity to conduct cross-state comparisons. This collaboration enables identification of social and ecological catalyzing events across watersheds and geopolitical contexts, at multiple scales, and with diverse methodologies. We have established a listserv and a shared folder on Dropbox to facilitate this dialogue. We have collaborated on research proposals, many of which have been funded. We have also collaborated on numerous journal articles on catalysts of change and the human dimensions of water management.  Further, numerous researchers contributed to a special issue of the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education.  Further, numerous researchers were due to participate in the University Council on Water Research Annual Conference in Minnesota in multiple capacities, including a special session on the implications of the “Stoner Memo” suggesting a change in approaches on addressing the hypoxia in the Gulf.  We share insight on upcoming RFPs, conferences, and calls for papers. We continue to recruit new members with expertise across the human dimensions of water through panel presentations, list serves, and existing professional networks.

Collectively, our research has common and emerging themes and implications for water resource planning and management outcomes. Some of these include enhancing community resilience and adaptation to water-human system stressors including flooding, water quality impairment, natural gas exploration, climate change, bioenergy, urban-rural land use dynamics, and water quality trading. We will apply and disseminate new knowledge to inform water users and decision-makers. A mixed methods approach will be used to identify, examine and test key social and ecological events and those mechanisms which influence individual and collective actions.

Specific tasks we are currently planning for objectives are discussed below. Additional tasks will emerge over the course of the five years.

Objective 1. Empirically test already developed typologies of catalysts for change in conservation behavior, resource management and governance in a water context to determine the mechanisms and conditions by which catalysts are translated into individual, collective, and institutional action. There are a number of key conditions and mechanisms that influence individual, collective and institutional responses to social and ecological events. These range from social-psychological internal mechanisms to structural factors. Social-psychological mechanisms include attitudes, beliefs, self concepts, and identities, and perceptions of risk. Meso-structural mechanisms are social pressures, social networks, social connections and relationships, social norms, group dynamics, social position and structure, and information access, processing and management. Community and regional structural mechanisms are institutional arrangements (laws, policies, governance structures), demographic and interactional community characteristics, public discourse, information flows, social narratives, institutional collaborations and partnerships, civic structure, local power dynamics and political culture, local history, geography and the natural resource base, and policy networks. Social theories underlie each of these mechanisms, but most have not been extensively applied to water resource management and need further examination to understand the magnitude and direction of their influence on individual, collective, and institutional action. We propose six overarching hypotheses. The first three examine mechanisms that drive change in individuals, groups and institutions. The second three hypotheses focus on mechanisms for sustaining action over time.

Overarching hypotheses

H1a. There are key mechanisms that drive change in individual actions

H1b. There are key mechanisms that drive change in collective actions

H1c. There are key mechanisms that drive change in institutional actions

H1d. There are key mechanisms that influence individual capacities to sustain action.

H1e. There are key mechanisms that influence collective capacities to sustain action

H1f. There are key mechanisms that influence institutional capacities to sustain action.

Although we have separated individual, collective, and institutional actions in our hypotheses, we expect to find substantive interactions at multiple levels. The units of analysis for testing Objective 1 hypotheses include individuals, groups, and communities including small watersheds (e.g. HUC 12) and basin levels. Sub-hypotheses that specify and test key mechanisms will be developed by scientific team members The methodologies used to assess the magnitude and direction of specific mechanisms under specific social and ecological conditions will be determined by the hypotheses or research questions proposed. Both qualitative and quantitative methods will be applied and used to triangulate or verify findings. Qualitative methods will include key informant interviews, focus groups, analyses of archival data, media accounts, public testimonies, and public records. Quantitative methods will include primary data collection and analysis of surveys as well as secondary data analyses of existing data sources such as the US Population Census, Census of Agriculture, General Social Survey (GSS) and other pre-existing survey data sets. Some specific projects to address this objective are discussed below. Many NC1190 members (e.g. Arbuckle, Brasier, Burbach, Chaudhary, Davenport, Eaton, Gasteyer, Jackson-Smith, Margerum) are leading studies on the drivers and outcomes of stakeholder-led engagement in addressing agricultural water issues. Arbuckle and Wardropper are leading studies on the barriers and motivations to adopt cover crops. Ulrich-Schad and Haigh are studying predictors of ranchers’ management decisions. Prokopy, Ranjan, Thompson, and Usher are studying structural factors that constrain or facilitate natural resources as well as continuing a meta-review of ag BMP adoption studies.       Floress is testing household interventions to reduce consumption of food, energy, and water. Church is leading projects evaluating federal and state watershed initiatives. Wardropper and Church are leading studies assessing behavior change resulting from volunteer/citizen scientist water monitoring programs. Jackson-Smith and Prokopy are leading studies on drivers of non-operating landowners’ adoption of conservation practices. Rissman and Genskow are examining the effects of shocks and stressors on food, water, bioenergy, and biodiversity habitat.       

Objective 2. Understand and develop conceptual frameworks, typologies, and analytical models of individual, institutional, and collective actions and link these to social and ecological outcomes. The integration of multiple scales of social interaction from individual, to group, to watershed community to regional communities requires several types of modeling and conceptual frameworks. Using the results of research findings from Objectives 1, the team will develop parsimonious models and conceptual frameworks of relationships among social-economic, institutional, and ecological systems. We propose to develop structural models of the relationships of key mechanisms to specific types of events and conditions. Structural equation modeling (SEM) provides a method for the incorporation of mediating variables and the examination of latent constructs in the study of behavior (Kline, 2005), and has been used to study a variety of behaviors as they relate to the environment (e.g. Oreg and Katz-Gerro 2006). We will develop and test structural models across different watershed populations and key events to determine if and how data collected in objectives 1 impact behaviors, with the key purpose of identifying consistent factors. Society is composed of individuals who have a distribution of thresholds (Yin 1998). Individual actions influence other individual actions and collectively influence the tipping point at which society accepts a new condition as the social norm (Granovetter 1978). Threshold models of collective actions are useful for modeling the minimum proportion of the population who must publicly identify a problem such as water impairment exists before other actors do (Wood and Doan 2003). Social definitions of water resource issues are precursors to public actions, thus the problem definition process is central to identifying the social pathways of individual and collective change. We will utilize data collected in Objectives 1 and 2 and develop threshold models of collective behaviors.

Additionally, typologies provide a means of classifying and understanding common attributes with which certain outcomes are associated (Doty & Glick, 1994). Through classification, it is possible to develop better policies and programs that meet needs in specific watershed management scenarios, as has been done in other fields of resource management (e.g. Ross-Davis & Broussard, 2007). By developing typologies across cases, common types of actions and outcomes will be identified. Resultant typologies can inform future work so that resources are used more effectively, instead of assuming that one type of program can meet all needs. Action typologies in the case of watershed management will likely be driven by socio-economic characteristics, social structural characteristics, and focusing events.

Overarching hypotheses

H2a. Individual’s actions can be segmented into a typology based upon social and ecological outcomes

H2b. Institutional actions can be segmented into a typology based upon social and ecological outcomes

H2c. Collective actions can be segmented into a typology based upon social and ecological outcomes

H2d There are key antecedents of individual and collective actions that can be measured and modeled.

Information from objective 1, particularly conditions and catalysts for change, will allow for the development of typologies of action across individual, institutional, and collective levels. Quantitative methods will include cluster analysis to develop types of action at each level, and confirmatory factor analysis when a specific set of variables are a priori hypothesized to influence action types. Qualitative methods will include grounded theory and comparative analysis (Corbin and Strauss 2008) to identify action themes, patterns, and relationships across individuals, groups, and geopolitical contexts.

Specific Projects: Dr. Kristin Floress is leading work with Dr. Prokopy, Dr. Genskow, and Dr. Brehm to build a hierarchical linear model of water quality behaviors using states as first level and watersheds as second level units of analysis. This effort will use the theoretical basis of the SIPES project. Numerous team members will continue their research into understanding what motivates individual actions. For example, Dr. Gasteyer is building on work by Dr. Genskow and Dr. Prokopy to understand the role of Farmer Led Conservation groups in encouraging individual action, especially in the context of state and watershed level incentive programs.  Dr. Prokopy has worked on how agricultural retailers influence farmer decision-making in watersheds in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. Team members are also exploring new survey tools to explore both appropriate or reasonable use of willingness to adopt variables versus actual adoption variables, and exploring how to understand disadoption of best management practices. This will involve a literature review of the agriculture, forestry, and energy sectors; and development of a set of conditions for the appropriate use of each variable. Dr. Jackson-Smith is collaborating with sociologists, economists, psychologists, and decision-scientists through an NSF-funded Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) pursuit to develop a synthetic social science model to integrate different disciplinary theories for private lands conservation behaviors. This group’s integrated model will be available to the NC1190 partners to guide the design of empirical modeling approaches.

Building on this work there have been a number of spinoffs to work on leadership and watershed management -- including ongoing work by Burbach, Flores, Kaufman to understand the impacts of watershed leadership initiatives and watershed leaders.  Emerging work has included efforts to understand typologies of rural-urban interaction around water quality protection (see Church, et al. 2020).  Specifically, researchers such as Church seek to understand the impacts of types of initiatives to bring urban, community and agricultural stakeholders together to address water management and water quality impairment.  Dr. Flores, Dr. Burbach and Dr. Prokopy edited an open special issue of the Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education entitled “Catalyzing Change: the Soci[1] al Science of Natural Resources Management” that included contributions 7 multiple NC1190 members.  This lays out strategies for next steps in thinking about typologies for water quality conservation and management.

The typologies framework also provides a key framing for emerging work on participatory approaches. Dr. Eaton, for instance, is leading an effort investigate typologies of participatory approaches to watershed and water quality management.  This USDA NIFA funded effort entitled “Advancing Scholarship and Practice of Stakeholder Engagement in Working Landscapes” will involve an engagement workshop series that will a) form a new collaborative research network across scholars, practitioners and stakeholders, b) develop a collaboratively defined and co-produced research agenda on the “science of engagement”, and c) publish a special issue on stakeholder and community engagement as means for building sustainable environmental futures. One participant in this effort (Dr. Jackson-Smith) is developing a typology of approaches to participatory on-farm research that will be used to engage scholars and practitioners in the workshop to test the impact of engagement on farmer acceptance and uptake of research on water quality management practices.

 

Objective 3.  Identify, develop, and evaluate adaptive strategies to achieve desired actions and capacities to protect water resources. The myriad of approaches being developed in-situ by managers responding to social and ecological conditions has created a situation where the practice of adaptive watershed management is rapidly evolving. As an example, engagement strategies leveraging virtual meeting technology have become key instruments during the pandemic and it is anticipated this change will influence efforts well into the future. However, this shift is not occurring in isolation as the landscape of watershed management experiences shifting governance priorities and policies at all levels, direct engagement of new stakeholder groups (conservation groups whose focus was not traditionally on water issues, the agricultural community, corporate retailers, etc.), and both successes and failures that have led to stabilization or degradation of water systems. Evaluation of shifting strategies through the collective and coordinated efforts of investigators, collaborators, and stakeholders will be leveraged to design science-based adaptive management strategies for building individual, collective, and institutional capacities for desired water resource management processes and outcomes. Engaging stakeholders in the evaluation of outreach, including intervention and management strategies, will be supported by the results from Objectives 1, 2, & 4. Through collaboration between investigators and with diverse stakeholders, adaptive management strategies will be developed that respond to these changing conditions. These strategies will be grounded in social science and water resource management theory and lead to new approaches for watershed management practices driven by the synthesis of practical knowledge emerging from the field. Throughout the project, investigators and collaborators will share research design strategies, methods, tools, and findings to facilitate best research practices and ensure transferability and applicability of research findings across social and ecological contexts. In addition, investigators will engage diverse stakeholders as project advisors to inform research design, ensure meaningful participation of diverse subjects, and provide practical guidance on potential study implications and recommendations. Stakeholders will be engaged in the evaluation of outreach including interventions and management strategies.

Specific projects: Drs. Brasier and Eaton have developed a nation-wide initiative to identify participatory strategies and stakeholder engagement related to natural resources and watershed management.  The project includes major convenings in Spring 2021, as well as publications that will document approaches, research and issues in participatory natural resources management and stakeholder engagement.  This initiative dovetails with more targeted stakeholder engagement issues among other NC-1190 team members. 

Dr. Davenport will pilot and refine statewide social science assessment tools in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She will continue to provide training and coaching to state agencies and local units of government in social science assessment. Dr. Marc Ribaudo’s major research project over the next two years is an evaluation of alternative policy approaches for reducing nitrogen loadings to the Gulf of Mexico in order to meet the hypoxia reductions goals of the Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force. He and colleagues will be using data from NRCS-CEAP and the ERS REAP model to evaluate the economic consequences of policies that restrict nitrogen loadings to the Gulf or to interior watersheds (HUC-4), or that require the use of specific nutrient management practices such as reduced nutrient application rates, cover crops, drainage water management, and vegetative filter. He and colleagues will also use data from the Census of Agriculture to identify the characteristics of farms in the Mississippi Basin that apply excess nitrogen to cropland.

 

Objective 4: Assess the justice, equity, and inclusion dimension of water resources management and protection.  It is increasingly clear that issues of justice, equity, and inclusion need to be included in research on all aspects of water resources management and protection research.  NC-1190 will expand our research focus to include this in our research agenda specifically through asking the following questions:  Inclusion: Who is not excluded from key management and conservation decisions?  What are the perspectives, interests, and concerns of underrepresented populations in matters of water conservation and management?   How can processes of water conservation and management be amended to better incorporate normally underrepresented groups?  What are the barriers to participation?  What opportunities exist to expand participation and how might broader participation improve water conservation and management in different contexts?  Equity:  What are the ways of measuring equity in management and conservation of water quality?  How are the costs of water quality impairment born unequally?  How do these effects accrue over time?  Who pays the greatest costs?  What measures might be taken to equalize the distribution of benefits of improved water conservation and management?  Justice: How are the disproportionate distribution of costs and benefits related to patterns of land settlement, ownership, and development that are related to historic injustice?  How can research identify patterns of injustice and build opportunities for addressing injustice through water management and conservation actions.

Specific Projects:  Dr. Mae Davenport has investigated water values, beliefs and behaviors in a state-wide mail survey of Minnesota residents and in onsite surveys administered and cultural events in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Metropolitan area to engage members of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. This project also included a statewide survey of municipal and watershed organization staff on local capacity to manage stormwater runoff in primarily urban contexts. Dr. Davenport has collaborated with tribal and inter-tribal natural resource managers in the western Great Lakes to examine values, beliefs and behaviors associated with Manoomin (wild rice) and Manoomin harvesting.

Dr. Gasteyer collaborates with tribal members and governments in Michigan and Wisconsin around watershed management approaches to protect and enhance water quality, specifically in the context of extractive industry.  He is also working with nonprofits in southeast Michigan to improve inclusion of Latinx and other community concerns around water quality management issues.  Specifically, this has involved related work on access to sanitation. 

Work by Dr. Eaton, Dr. Brasier, and Dr. Burbach explicitly investigate how participatory approaches may be used to increase participation of underrepresented people and groups in water conservation and management processes.  This will include investigating the approaches that currently are exclusionary, and changes in participatory approach design that may increase participation. 

Measurement of Progress and Results

Outputs

  • Shared Database of Events and Typologies. This will include a relational database shared by team members that include records of individual and collective actions and typology of events and conditions. This will include case studies, event and condition typologies, and lists of associated actors, watershed groups, government agencies, and water quality organizations. The database will also categorize records by the type of data collected, instruments used in data collection, and the questions asked.
  • Special issues of journals and journal articles.
  • Book focused on participatory approaches and methods
  • Conferences or special sessions of conferences. For example, ISSRM, RSS, SWCS, UCOWR.

Outcomes or Projected Impacts

  • Improved Conservation Policies and Programming. These will focus on the types of actions (individual or collective) that best address particular problems in addition to the factors and forces that influence individual and collective action for water resource conservation with recommendations for appropriate reward/incentive combinations to promote conservation. This type of information will enhance the response of agencies as well as having the potential to enhance the quality of water as a natural resource. This will include new organizational and methodological approaches to watershed management and water quality trading.
  • Remove Redundancy in Water Resource Management and Build Collaboration among Stakeholders. By identifying the manner in which these actions occur, less energy will expended on the typical shotgun approach (providing large amounts of resources on a first-come, first-serve volunteer basis) to water resource management and more focused efforts can be targeted to catalyze local and regional water quality enhancement projects. This streamlining of efforts can also take advantage of the networks of researchers, agencies and their personnel, and other community stakeholder groups. This will provide a model for understanding and promoting individual and collective action.
  • Enhanced Synergy among Team Members. There are not many social scientists working in the field of water resources management. NC1190 brings these individuals together. Outcomes of this synergy include: more competitive grant proposals will be written and funded, research will be relevant and not needlessly duplicated, junior members of the team will be mentored and supported, and the social sciences will earn more respect in team members’ universities.

Milestones

(2021):June -- Presentations on Objective 1 - empirically testing typologies using Mississippi River Basin, Chesapeake Bay, and other nutrient reduction strategies -- by multiple NC-1190 Members at University Consortium on Water Research Annual Conference

(2021):June -- Annual NC-1190 meeting following UCOWR Meeting (tentatively in Minnesota) to discuss progress on all objectives

(2021):Production on Special Issues in Decision Support Tools in Journal of Hydrology

(2022):Members organize an contribute to document on approaches to engagement and public participation in water conservation

(2024):Members organize and contribute to book -- "Opening Windows -- Emerging Issues in Natural Resources Conservation and Management" https://www4.iasnr.org/opening-windows/

(2023):Annual Meeting focusing on issues of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in water quality conservation and management

(2025):Finalize and publish joint database of individual and collective actions (typologies) related to water management

(2025):Meeting to synthesize progress to date and new directions of research and collaboration

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Outreach Plan

Objective 4 which is a participatory research-participant learning model will be the basis for developing strategies for sharing the research of Objectives 1-3 and our dominant outreach plan. However, we expect to share findings yearly with public and private agencies whose missions are water quality through public presentations and publications.

Organization/Governance

The committee will be governed by three positions elected for a one year term: chair, vice chair, and secretary. The chair of the committee will be responsible for organizing the meeting agenda, conducting the meeting and assuring the task assignments are completed. The vice chair has responsibility for planning the annual meeting (with support from members) and supports the chair by carrying out duties assigned by the chair. The vice chair will serve as chair in the absence of the elected chair. The secretary is responsible for the distribution of the documents prior to the meeting, keeping records on decisions made at the meetings (minutes), maintaining an updated roster of participants, and preparing/submitting the accomplishment report (SAES-422). Members will carry out the agreed research collaboration, research coordination, information exchange and advisory activities. Members are responsible for reporting their progress, contributing to the committee progress towards objectives and communicating their accomplishments to other committee members and their respective employing institutions.

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