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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Articles

Differences in Opinions about Surface Water Quality Issues in the Southern United States: Implications for Watershed Planning Process


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 42 No. 1, p. 104-113
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: Nov 15, 2012
    Published: September 23, 2013

    * Corresponding author(s): tborisova@ufl.edu
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  1. Tatiana Borisova *a,
  2. Pilar Usecheb,
  3. Michael D. Smolenc,
  4. Diane E. Boellstorffd,
  5. Nicola W. Sochackae,
  6. Jon Calabriaf,
  7. Damian C. Adamsg,
  8. Robert L. Mahlerh and
  9. Jason M. Evansi
  1. a Food and Resource Economics Dep., Univ. of Florida, 1097 McCarty Hall B, P.O. Box 110240 IFAS, Gainesville, FL 32611-0240
    b Food and Resource Economics Dep., Univ. of Florida, 1091 McCarty Hall B, P.O. Box 110240 IFAS, Gainesville, FL 32611-0240
    c Biosystems and Agric. Eng. Dep., 218 Agriculture Hall, Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK 74078-6021
    d Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dep. of Soil and Crop Sciences, 2474 TAMUS, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843
    e College of Engineering, Driftmier Engineering Center, 597 DW Brooks Drive, Univ. of Georgia; Athens, GA 30602
    f College of Environment and Design, 152 Jackson Street Building, 285 South Jackson Street, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
    g School of Forest Resour. and Conserv., and Food and Resour. Econ. Dep., Univ. of Florida, P.O. Box 110410 IFAS, Gainesville, FL 32611-0410
    h Environmental Science Program, P.O. Box 442339, Univ. of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-2339
    i Carl Vinson Institute of Government, 201 N. Milledge Ave., Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602


Public participation in a watershed planning process involves reaching out to social groups with very diverse opinions and perceptions about environmental issues. Using responses to a nationwide survey of public attitudes and perceptions related to water issues, we examined the effects of socio-demographic and residence characteristics on opinions about water quality, agricultural and urban pollution sources, and nutrients and pathogen pollution issues in the southern United States. Significant differences were identified among respondents of different age groups, genders, and educational levels. Opinions also differed significantly among urban and rural respondents and between states. These results can be used by state and local agencies, universities, and extension services involved in the design of collaborative watershed management processes and water resource educational efforts.

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