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Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Beyond Noise Mitigation: Soundscape Conservation Implementation by U.S. Federal Land Management Agencies

EPA Grant Number: FP917239
Title: Beyond Noise Mitigation: Soundscape Conservation Implementation by U.S. Federal Land Management Agencies
Investigators: Dumyahn, Sarah L
Institution: Purdue University - Main Campus
EPA Project Officer: Jones, Brandon
Project Period: September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2013
Project Amount: $111,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2010)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Science & Technology for Sustainability: Environmental Behavior & Decision Making

Description:

Objective:

The ability to experience natural and unique soundscapes is diminishing with the expansion of motorized transportation systems and conversion of natural habitats to human-dominated land uses. The U.S. National Park Service (NPS) has adopted soundscape conservation policies to address these issues. This research asks (1) what the role of individual parks in the implementation process is, (2) what the perceived barriers and facilitators to soundscape conservation are, and (3) could soundscape conservation policies feasibly be implemented by other federal land management agencies?

Synopsis
The soundscape, or acoustic environment, is growing noisier and losing natural and unique sounds. This research studies the barriers and facilitators of soundscape conservation policy implementation focusing on the U.S. National Park Service. Using surveys and interviews of park and resource managers, the research will identify ways to improve soundscape conservation and assess the feasibility of implementing similar policies within other natural resource agencies.

Approach:

This research will use a mixed-methods approach incorporating surveys and interviews to understand barriers and facilitators to soundscape conservation efforts. The first part of the research focuses on the NPS, which has identified soundscapes as a resource and has adopted policies to protect them. However, the extent of policy implementation in each of the park units is unknown and the factors driving adoption are uncertain, as well. To answer these questions, the research will use park unit surveys and follow-up interviews with park and resource managers. This will identify explanatory variables of soundscape conservation implementation, such as perceived support and need, stakeholder group involvement, and innovative management. For the final phase of the research, this information will be integrated into an interview instrument for key personnel in the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management to identify the feasibility of implementing soundscape conservation policies on other types of federal public lands.

Expected Results:

The first part of this research will generate quantitative and qualitative data on the variables driving soundscape conservation implementation within NPS. Both explanatory variables and the extent of soundscape conservation efforts within NPS will be determined. This information will be used to better understand and improve soundscape conservation efforts by NPS. Additionally, an institutional framework of barriers and facilitators to soundscape conservation will be developed. This framework will be used to identify the feasibility of implementing soundscape conservation policies within other natural resource agencies. In particular, it will be tested for feasibility of implementation within the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection
The research on humans and some wildlife species impacts from noise provides quantifiable evidence of negative health and wellbeing effects. Identifying the barriers and facilitators of soundscape conservation policy implementation will aid in current and future efforts by natural resource agencies. The application of soundscape conservation as a broader policy and its utility in relation to noise mitigation is an important issue as natural and unique soundscapes diminish.

Supplemental Keywords:

soundscape, acoustic environment, noise pollution, natural sounds, National Park Service, policy implementation, federal agencies, natural resource,

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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