Buckeye Basins is produced by the Ohio State University Extension, Watershed Team. It is compiled quarterly for Watershed Coordinators, Extension Educators and Natural Resource Professionals to include within their newsletters, programs or however they see fit. Please, feel free to ask questions, share ideas, or provide feedback.
In This Issue:
- Social Marketing: Passing Trend or Valuable Tool for Watershed Management
- Decisions on the Edge: An In-Depth Qualitative Case Study of Streamside Landowner Management Decisions in an Urbanizing Ohio Watershed
- Two-Stage Agricultural Drainage Ditches: A Decade Later
- Ohio Volunteers Participate in Three State Regional Water Quality Monitoring Program
- Stories of Leading Creek
- 2011 Ohio Stormwater Conference
- Runners Dash for the Darter in the Sunday Creek Watershed
- Raft Race News
- Coastal Zone 2011 Conference
- OSU Extension to Host Level 2 Macroinvertebrate Workshop
- Promoting and Protecting Ecosystem Services Workshop
Welcome to our 2011 Summer Issue of the Buckeye Basins newsletter. In this issue you will find innovative articles that discuss using social marketing techniques in watershed management as well as a research update on what influences the decision making process of streamside landowners concerning land management issues. For those of you in agricultural watersheds, Jessica D’Ambrossio takes a look at how two stage ditches are performing since being introduced a decade ago. Urban watershed professionals will find Harry Stark’s recap of the Ohio Stormwater Management Conference held at OSU in early May of keen interest. You will also hear from local watershed coordinators employing community outreach strategies such as 5K runs, raft races and producing a book of watershed history with stories compiled from local residents. Rounding out this action packed issue we have included a partial listing of upcoming trainings and programs.
I’m writing this after experiencing two full days without rain! I’m optimistic that beautiful summer weather is just around the corner. I hope the information in this issue causes you to share my optimism for the summer of 2011!
Editor – Buckeye Basins
By: Joe Bonnell, Program Director for Watershed Management, OSU Extension
Have you heard about the latest trend in conservation education? Social marketing has been a mainstay of public health advocates, but its only recently been gaining ground among environmental conservation professionals as an alternative to traditional education and technology transfer models for promoting behavior change. In a nutshell, social marketing is the application of marketing principles and strategies to social problems, like water conservation for example. As we all know, marketing and advertising firms are notoriously effective at manipulating people in order to sell products. Social marketing uses the same methods of market research and advertising, but toward the end goal of improving individual and community well-being, rather than selling goods for a profit.
We need to do things differently
The research is clear – conservation behavior is only weakly linked with attitudes and knowledge. That is, individuals who have higher levels of knowledge about environmental problems, like nonpoint source pollution, don’t necessarily show higher levels of conservation behaviors. Positive attitudes about the importance of adopting conservation behaviors are also poor predictors of actual behaviors. Most of our current watershed education and awareness campaigns are designed to increase knowledge and improve attitudes related to water resource issues and behaviors (e.g., best management practices) that can minimize human impacts. These programs can be very beneficial and effective at increasing knowledge and awareness, but they rarely result in significant changes in behaviors. Why?
A sharper tool to promote behavior change
Social marketing is based on the premise that knowledge and attitude are not enough to induce behavior change. Social marketers look at a suite of factors that influence individuals’ behaviors, specifically, the incentives that encourage and the barriers that discourage behavior change. Just like commercial marketers and advertisers, they base their campaigns on systematic research that explores both internal (to the individual) and external incentives and barriers to behavior change. Social marketers also rely on lessons learned from social psychology to take advantage of human nature to promote behavior change. Some examples might be helpful at this point.
Years ago when no-till farming was a new concept, few farmers had the appropriate equipment to adopt the practice, regardless of their attitudes and understanding of the practice. Many Soil and Water Conservation Districts purchased equipment that farmers could rent at a relatively low cost compared to purchasing their own. The SWCDs eliminated an economic barrier and gave farmers the opportunity to experiment with no-till methods.
But how to social marketers play on human nature to change behaviors? One of the tools that social marketers have found to be especially effective is a commitment, that is, a verbal or written statement by the individual expressing their intention to adopt a particular conservation behavior. Studies show that individuals are much more likely to adopt a conservation behavior if they sign a form or make a verbal commitment to do so. If that commitment is made in front of others, the likelihood that they will follow through is even higher.
These are simple examples, but the take home message is that as watershed and conservation professionals, we need to go beyond raising awareness and increasing knowledge of our target audiences if we’re to expect more than minimal changes in behaviors affecting water quality and quantity impacts. We have a lot to learn from the social marketing profession about how to more effectively define target audiences, how to identify specific incentives and barriers to behavior change, and how to maximize the incentives and remove the barriers.
Not a magic bullet
Even when it is done well, social marketing will have widely varying levels of effectiveness. Sometimes the barriers to adoption are just too great to overcome with the resources we have at our disposal. Also, the techniques associated with social marketing work best when you have a very specific behavior or set of behaviors that you know will be effective at addressing a specific issue. Many water resource issues require landowners to conduct careful analyses and adopt a suite of practices to affect meaningful change. As watershed professionals, we need to be careful to avoid the one-size-fits-all pitfall where one or two practices are promoted as the solution to everyone’s water resource impacts. But, once you’ve determined that a specific practice is the right practice for a specific target audience, social marketing is a proven approach to increasing your likelihood of success.
On June 16, OSU Extension will host a webinar by Jack Wilbur, a social marketing and communication specialist and consultant who has worked with many watershed groups around the country to encourage the use of social marketing to increase the adoption of best management practices. Details and registration available here: http://ohiowatersheds.osu.edu/events/2011/using-social-marketing-principles-to-increase-the-adoption-of-conservation-behaviors-in-agricultural-watersheds
And here are two books on social marketing for environmental issues that I’ve found helpful:
Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An introduction to community-based social marketing, by Dough McKenzie-Mohr and William Smith.
Social Marketing Environmental Issues, by Ben Tyson.
Decisions on the Edge: An In-Depth Qualitative Case Study of Streamside Landowner Management Decisions in an Urbanizing Ohio Watershed
by Anne Baird
The rate of rapid land use change in the Midwest has resulted in impairments to watershed due to loss of riparian vegetation and increased impervious surfaces especially along headwater streams. An important question for conservation professionals is how to influence private streamside land managers to promote and restore stream health. In 2009 I interviewed 23 streamside landowners in an urbanizing central Ohio watershed using a mental models approach. A person‘s mental model is considered a complex web of deeply held beliefs that affect how an individual defines a problem, reacts to an issue, gathers and processes information, assesses risks and benefits, and makes decisions about risks that are communicated to them (Wilson, Tucker, Hooker, LeJeune, & Doohan 2008). In a mental models approach an expert model of how to manage a particular risk (in this case maintaining urban stream health) was compared with the mental models of study participants. In this type of study it is important to address what participants know and do not know about the risk, decisions they face, and the main influences on those decisions (Morgan, Bostrom, Lave, & Atman, 2002).
Study participants seemed to understand the risk to streams from runoff and urbanization including pollutant loading in streams from sediment, nutrients, and pathogens. Participants were also aware of risks including erosion, flooding, and changes to stream hydrology. Participants were less certain about long-term risks from degraded streams. The primary risks mentioned included losses in wildlife and recreation opportunities. Threats to stream structures and functions (e.g., loss of flood attenuation and nitrogen processing) were less well understood. Perceptions of risks to recreation, wildlife, and health as well as benefits including aesthetics were important for the internalization of a threat by study participants. Barriers to recognizing a threat included a benign neglect of streams and the high costs of streamside land management. Decisions faced by landowners included ditch maintenance, how to reduce the impact of lawn care practices, maintaining stream flow, and property access. Stream restoration decisions focused on bank stabilization and were complicated by a lack of understanding of responsible parties and laws and regulations.
A few landowners restored streams by creating riparian buffers and were influenced by their environmental values and outreach and education from the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District. Desired outcomes of decisions included a functional property, equity, and sustainable business and industry. Sustaining actions to restore and protect stream health often involved both continued education and community support.
The greatest gaps in expert understanding of influences on streamside landowner decisions appeared to be their understanding of the time and costs incurred by landowners in maintaining streamside property and the salience for participants regarding losses in recreation and aesthetics due to impaired stream health. For participants the biggest gaps in their mental models, when compared to experts, appeared to be in their understanding of ecosystems and the importance of stream structures and functions as well as what organizations were responsible for stream health and how to contact them.
To find out more about the larger project that includes a study of high school students’ understanding of risks to urban streams and curriculums to address identified knowledge gaps go to: http://ohiowatersheds.osu.edu/usda/
To view a webinar on this research go to:
Morgan G. M., F., B., Bostrom, A. Lave, L., Atman, C.J. (2002). Risk Communication: A Mental Models Approach. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Wilson, R. S., Tucker, M.A., Hooker, N.H., LeJeune, J.T., & Doohan, D. (2008). "Perceptions and Beliefs about Weed Management: Perspectives of Ohio Grain and Produce Farmers." Weed Technology 22.
Highly modified open channels form the primary network of headwater drainage systems in agricultural watersheds throughout much of Ohio and the North Central region of the United States. Early settlers dug the channels to remove water from poorly draining landscapes, making them suitable for agriculture. Channels were constructed to a trapezoidal shape with a two-fold purpose: to achieve the maximum conveyance of runoff from fields to downstream receiving streams, and to ensure sufficient freeboard for subsurface drainage outlets that discharge into the channel.
While drainage of the soil profile greatly improves agricultural productivity in the region, drainage channels are also the primary pathways of sediments, nutrients and pesticides washed off agricultural fields. The channels are also potential sources of sediments in cases where beds or banks are unstable. The deviation of highly modified open channels from natural conditions drives the loss of ecological function and services. Specifically, there is a considerable loss of aquatic habitat, a significant loss in valley storage, and the reduction of biogeochemical processes that promote nutrient cycling, which assimilate and trap pollutants. The deleterious ecological, fluvial, and economic impacts of channel maintenance have forced a collective rethinking of drainage management strategies especially after recent outbreaks of toxic algae have occurred throughout Ohio. It has lead researchers to develop open channel design approaches (i.e., two-stage channels) that are more sustainable, consistent with fluvial form and process, provide water quality benefits, and are cost-effective alternatives to traditional channel maintenance practices.
In 2001, Professor Andy Ward of The Ohio State University's Department of Food Agricultural and Biological Engineering first published an article in Ohio's Country Journal discussing whether agricultural drainage ditches behaved like stream systems and introduced a the concept of constructing a two-stage channel. Two-stage channel design (Figure 1) preserves or creates a first stage (lower stage) that is an inset channel associated with the channel forming discharge. The second stage (upper stage) is a floodplain bench that is related to a minimum size to provide channel stability, the position of subsurface drainage outlets, and a desired conveyance capacity to prevent frequent flooding of adjacent fields.
That study, which took place in northwest Ohio, found that drainage ditches, if left unmaintained for a period of time, did develop natural features found in healthy functioning stream systems. The study also speculated that these features, if retained, could improve water quality in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River systems. In the decade since that article was published, continuing research and demonstration of the innovative channel design concepts has involved collaborative work amongst academia, government, and non-profit organizations across the upper Midwest region. Areas of extensive research include: 1) flow processes, 2) development of tools to aid in the design process, 3) monitoring and modeling the water quality benefits, and 4) assessing the effects of channel management strategies on habitat and biological communities.
We have also demonstrated and are in the process of quantifying other benefits of the two-stage design including:
- Provides a larger water holding capacity at high flows which can reduce downstream flooding while still providing drainage for agricultural land.
- Promotes fine sediment deposition on the bench areas during high flows, which will improve habitat for aquatic communities and reduce in stream sediment loads.
- Increases vegetative uptake of nutrients (e.g., by grasses) which buffers downstream nutrient export.
- Reduces bank erosion and failure, which can decrease the frequency of ditch maintenance activities especially in combination with bench sediment deposition.
- Increases the surface area where denitrification can occur, which increases permanent removal of nitrogen to the atmosphere, thus reducing downstream nitrogen export and eutrophication.
In addition to research, we have developed detailed procedures for modifying a trapezoidal channel to establish a more self-sustaining system that has a connected, active floodplain. These methods are included in the NRCS Stream Restoration Design Guide and are being implemented across the region (video at: http://www.vimeo.com/7901535). The project team has several ongoing initiatives in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan that are further evaluating: channel evolution; the effect of nitrogen uptake and sediment removal on water quality in headwater agricultural streams; and understanding the influence of channel morphology on ecological communities in agricultural streams. Since the first two-stage ditch was constructed nearly 10 years ago in Woody County, Ohio (Figure 2), more than 30 two-stage ditches have been constructed or are planned to date in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio. Of those already constructed, typical costs for a two-stage modification have ranged from $5 to $50 per linear foot and stability has been high. We have developed tools to aid in sizing these systems, to conduct a cost analysis, and to determine nutrient reduction benefits. These tools will be highlighted in future articles. Knowledge still is needed yet on where and when these practices should be implemented on the landscape, where these practices are most effective, and where retaining existing floodplains and alternatives to conventional maintenance strategies should be adopted. Where two-stage ditches have been constructed there has been a high satisfaction rate amongst farmers who have made statements such as "Every ditch in America should be built this way!" and "I have never seen the water run so quiet!"
Figure 1. A headwater ditch that has naturally formed two-stage geometry within the ditch.
Figure 2. The first constructed two-stage ditch in Wood County, Ohio, immediately after construction (left) and nearly a decade later (right).
Jessica D'Ambrosio, program manager, is located on the Columbus Campus, and can be reached at 614-247-7876 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is provided by the OSU Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering and OSU Extension.
By Jerry Iles – OSU Extension – Watershed Management
Ohio volunteers and watershed professionals have worked over the past nine months with participants from Michigan and Wisconsin to share regional insights on performing water quality monitoring and managing volunteer monitoring programs. Participants have learned from each other by each state leading a webinar training session that focused on how their water quality monitoring is accomplished and sharing techniques that could be employed by other states. Webinars have also promoted discussion of regional differences in water quality issues as well as how states differ in funding available for watershed education and volunteer monitoring programming.
This project is funded through a grant from USDA – NIFA. Project Investigators include Jerry Iles (OSU Extension), Kris Stepenuck (Wisconsin Extension & DNR), Lois Wolfson (Michigan State Institute of Water Resources). Ohio participants include Mike Steinmaus, Nate Schlater, Elise Gage, Emily Hammon, Kurt Keljo, Amber Leasure-Earnhardt, John Winnenberg and Leah Graham. Webinar presentations were also given by Joe Brehm (Rural Action) and Jeff Reynolds (Ohio EPA). On August 1-2 participants from all three states will meet in Michigan at the Kellogg Biological Station to participate in hands-on monitoring activities and develop a more in-depth understanding of challenges faced by each state.
By Raina Fulks
The Meigs Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Leading Creek Watershed Group are pleased to announce the publication of a book about the people and history of the Leading Creek Watershed. The goal of the project was to educate people about the history, culture, and environment of the watershed region from the viewpoint of the people living within watershed communities. This goal was achieved by collecting a total of nineteen stories from a diverse group of residents and assembling them into a book entitled Leading from the Past: Stories of the Leading Creek Watershed.
A dedicated group of watershed volunteers and staff made this project possible. The Meigs SWCD was awarded an Ohio Humanities Council Grant in 2010 to aid in the creation of the book. Private donations were also obtained to publish more books. The community volunteers involved in this project altogether devoted over 700 hours of their time. The mixture of thoughts and ideas from all of the volunteers cohesively came together to form this great collection of stories. The purpose of the project was not to make residents think a certain way about the watershed, but to learn about what residents think about the watershed, and form a glimpse of the watershed’s history and culture by showcasing resident’s experiences, opinions, and memories.
Copies of the book were donated to schools and libraries in Meigs, Athens, and Gallia counties, public officials, project interviewees, volunteers, contributors, donors, professors, scholars, community members, watershed groups, Leading Creek Watershed Group partners, and many other organizations. Over 200 copies have been distributed so far.
Two editions of the book have already been published, and the hope is that it will be an ongoing project to make it more exact and more expansive over time. The current edition of Leading from the Past: Stories of the Leading Creek Watershed is 222 pages long and is available for purchase from the Meigs SWCD at 740-992-4282.
The 2011 Ohio Stormwater Conference was held May 11-13th at The Ohio Union in Columbus. The event attracted a total of 513 attendees, 65 exhibitors and over 50 speakers for the event. On Wednesday the 11th, there were a number of tours that were available. These tours were sponsored by and planned by the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District. Also on Wednesday, there were exams offered for various stormwater certifications. The conference was opened by Laura Powell, the Assistant Ohio EPA Director with the keynote being presented by Jennifer Zielinski, Water Resources Engineer at Biohabitats, Inc. The event held four simultaneous tracks allowing the attendees to choose the presentations that most interested them. We are already planning for the 2012 Ohio Stormwater Conference to be held June 6-8, 2012 at the Seagate Convention Center in Toledo. For more information, please contact Harry Stark at email@example.com
By Amber Leasure-Earnhardt
On Saturday, May 21st, forty runners crossed the finish line at Burr Oak State Park to do their part to improve water quality in the Sunday Creek Watershed. The runners took part in the first Dash for the Darter 5K and Nature Hike, an event hosted by the Sunday Creek Watershed Group in Glouster, Ohio. The trail race was held on the Buckeye Loop Trail near the Burr Oak Lodge and runners were treated to beautiful views of the East Branch of Sunday Creek, rock outcroppings, woodland plants and wildlife.
In addition to the race, there was also a nature hike led by Joe Brehm, Rural Action's Environmental Education Coordinator. Sunday Creek Watershed Group hosted the event in order to bring awareness to the important work being done to restore the watershed and to raise funds for future water quality projects and community events. The group hopes to make this an annual event and would like to thank all of the runners, volunteers and sponsors that made the Dash for the Darter a success!
Channel your inner Huckleberry Finn and start building your rafts for the 3rd Annual Mighty Muskingum River Raft Race!
This is the 3rd year for the raft race and if the races are anything like what we have seen in the years past, it’s going to be an exciting event! Join Friends of Lower Muskingum River (FLMR) on August 14th at 1 PM to check in your vessels. All rafts must be homemade! No pre-made nautical parts or motors allowed!
FLMR, a non-profit watershed organization serving the residents of the Lower Muskingum River, brought the raft race back to the Marietta region just two years ago. In the 1960’s and 70’s the Marietta Jaycees hosted a race very similar to this one but the community participation was incredible! The Mighty Muskingum River Raft Race has drawn quite the crowd the past two years to watch these seaworthy creations race down the Muskingum River but each year has only incorporated 8-9 rafts!! This is a fun event that steps out from the norms of regular races and challenges participants to think outside the box. The 3rd Annual Mighty Muskingum River Raft Race looks to be an exciting end to the “Rivers, Trails, and Ales Festival” that will take place August 11-14th in Marietta.
Check out Friends of Lower Muskingum River’s website to obtain registration information, rules/regulations and to see some pictures from last years race at: http://www.muskingumriver.org/raftrace.html
The Coastal Zone 2011 Conference will be hosted in the Great Lakes on July 17-21 in Chicago.
Early Registration is now open. http://www.doi.gov/initiatives/CZ11/registration.htm
Listserv To subscribe to the CZ11 listserv, send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject of: subscribe CZ11 (put nothing else in the body of the message). You will then receive a confirmation email.
Join us for Coastal Zone 11 Conference -- Winds of Change: Great Lakes, Great Oceans, Great Communities!
Many factors are changing our coastal communities and our estuarine, marine, and Great Lakes environments. Recurring problems such as the impacts of coastal development and new threats such as those related to invasive species, global climate change and other human-induced hazards require new approaches to ocean and coastal resource management. Join us at Coastal Zone 2011, in Chicago, Illinois, to explore these challenges and learn from the experiences of leaders from across the nation and around the world.
The program will include plenary sessions, technical presentations, special panel discussions, café conversations, poster sessions, field trips and training opportunities. The event will provide opportunities to interact and engage over a wide array of coastal and ocean topics.
Present your research findings, participate in a workshop, co-sponsor a special session, host an associated professional meeting. There will be international participation, student awards and much more.
Intended Audiences and Participants:
- Regulators, Policy Makers and Government Representatives,
- Tribal Nations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Academia, Students,
- Scientists, Modelers, Researchers, Data Managers,
- Coastal Planners and Managers at Local, Regional, National and International levels,
- Developers, Waterfront Infrastructure Managers and Planners,
- Natural Resource Stakeholders: Fishermen, Aquaculture and Agricultural Representatives, Water Supply & Watershed Managers, Coastal & Marine Resource Managers,
- Marine Industrial Representatives: Marine Shipping and Transportation, Marine Facility Operators, Coastal and Offshore Energy Developers,
- Hazard and Emergency Management Planners and Responders, Coastal and Flood-Plain Specialists,
- Parks and Recreation Directors, Recreational Fishing Interests, Eco-Tour Businesses, Conservationists,
- Communication Specialists and Informal Educators,
- You and Your Colleagues.
Please join us July 17-21, 2011, in Chicago, IL to share and launch innovations in future coastal initiatives and partnerships.
Conference Themes and Focus Areas Four major themes and four focus areas are designed to spark dialogue and exchange across a wide range of perspectives. Share your expertise and perspectives with an oral or poster presentation, a special session or a café conversation that you propose to convene and facilitate, or host a training workshop. Use these themes and focus areas to highlight new findings, propose solutions, showcase new technology and data management tools, share management methods that support resource sustainability and vibrant coastal communities.
- Planning for Resilient Coasts, Great Lakes, and Ecosystems
- Healthy Habitats, Healthy Coastal, and Great Lakes Communities
- Observing, Modeling and Monitoring
- Vibrant Coastal, Great Lakes, and Marine Economies
- Governance and Policy - Implementation of the U.S. National Ocean Policy and International Policy Initiatives
- Implementation - Actions and Planning at International, National, Regional, and Local Scales
- Measuring Success – Beyond Performance: Understanding Economic and Social Values and Benefits
- Outreach and Engagement - Connecting and Coordinating Stakeholders through Social Media, Outreach, Education, Training, Tools, and Technology
On June 2 OSU Extension will host a workshop targeted toward those who wish to obtain level 2 Qualified Data Collector status. The workshop will focus on an approved collecting technique and also review identification methods using keys that are provided as part of the training. The workshop will be held at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For more information please e-mail Jerry Iles at email@example.com.
Date: June 10, 2011
Time: 9:30AM – 4PM
Location: Police Station, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
This workshop will provide participants with practical advice on how to prioritize and design stream protection and restoration projects by focusing on ecosystem services. In the morning, experts on watershed management and stream restoration will review systematic approaches for identifying and analyzing potential projects based on the potential for protecting and restoring ecosystem services. In the afternoon, we’ll tour a proposed stream restoration site and evaluate alternative approaches from natural channel design to on-site stormwater best management practices. Participants will hear from various perspectives, including ecological engineers, watershed coordinators, and local public officials.
Jessica D'Ambrosio - Ohio State University Extension - Ohio NEMO
Jon Witter - Ohio State University - Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Kurt Keljo - Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
Ryan Pilewski - Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
William Dorman - Engineering Manager - City of New Albany