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Public Input on Stream Monitoring in the Willamette Valley, Oregon
Weber, M. AND P. Ringold. Public Input on Stream Monitoring in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Presented at Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR, May 18 - 23, 2014.
The goal of environmental monitoring is to track resource condition, and thereby support environmental knowledge and management. Judgments are inevitable during monitoring design regarding what resource features will be assessed. Constraining what to measure given a complex environment is a crucial question since it delimits the analysis capacity of the resulting data. Difficult monitoring design choices are often left to natural scientists, yet public resources are managed for diverse public interests. Thus, it would seem imperative that more parties be represented in design decisions. With a focus on rivers, we use focus group techniques to gather public input on what data is important to collect. Sessions were conducted in urban and rural locations of the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Input was obtained from nearly one hundred participants of diverse sociodemographic and geographic backgrounds. We used qualitative data analysis techniques to identify prevalent themes of public interest. These themes were then translated into specific river metrics useful for monitoring, or other applications. Our goal is to establish river themes and metrics of high relevance to the public in order to contribute to a stronger basis for river management.
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