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Priority River Metrics for Urban Residents of the Santa Cruz River Watershed
Weber, M. AND P. Ringold. Priority River Metrics for Urban Residents of the Santa Cruz River Watershed. Presented at Santa Cruz Researcher Days, Tucson, AZ, March 27 - 28, 2014.
Indicator selection is a persistent question in river and stream assessment and management. We employ qualitative research techniques to identify features of rivers and streams important to urban residents recruited from the general public in the Santa Cruz watershed. Interviews and focus groups were convened to develop publicly relevant indicators. After detailed analysis of transcriptions and field notes, findings were member-checked with new study participants. Recurrent ecological themes were Water, Vegetation, and Fish and Wildlife; human themes were Pollution, Recreational Infrastructure, and Human Interactions. Illustrative quotes across the participants will be used to document and characterize the themes. We also interpret participant input into specific metrics which could be monitored or modeled to track resource condition. This research was also a key element in designing a follow-up survey to gauge public values for Santa Cruz River conditions.
This research seeks to inform river monitoring by deliberate collection of public input, leading to the construction of river accounting systems for potential use in management contexts. Typically monitoring decisions are made by experts such as natural scientists rather than the public, although many rivers are public resources. The data collection is purposefully directed towards members of the general public rather than high-profile stakeholders to promote representation of popular interests. We utilize qualitative data analysis techniques to document participants’ specific desires and thought processes regarding river management. The results highlight recurrent themes across participants, and where perspectives converge or diverge.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB
WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION
FRESHWATER ECOLOGY BRANCH