Project Details - All Projects > Agency - Chesapeake Bay Trust
For over 30 years, citizen science organizations have been a trusted voice and advocate for the health of tributary watersheds to Chesapeake Bay. By engaging citizens in promoting specific Bay friendly actions, these clean water advocates have hoped to improve Bay water quality. However, no comprehensive assessment had been conducted to establish a baseline of current behaviors or measure behavior change. The probability that key stewardship behaviors are occurring and the likelihood that those behaviors will be adopted in the future was the focus of the last year's work. The current project will expand the survey tool that clean water advocates can tailor as needed in order to quantify the use of specific behaviors in their audience. The expansion will increase the reach of the survey, increase the number of key behaviors included in the survey, evaluate the impact of these key stewardship behaviors on Chesapeake Bay restoration, and provide in-depth analysis of the results of the survey. In partnership with OpinionWorks, LLC and other key organizations, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Integration and Application Network (IAN) is pleased to present this proposal to expand a behavior survey tool that will help evaluate the impact of behaviors on Chesapeake Bay restoration and analyze key behaviors in the watershed currently and in future years.
The Mid-Atlantic Tributary Assessment Coalition is a unique and growing group of watershed organizations interested in advancing the use of environmental data from local organizations and citizen scientists for use in report cards and assessments. Using data collected by concerned citizens, IAN has helped to generate multi-year report cards for nine rivers since 2007.
Deep Creek Lake is currently experiencing a host of environmental problems related to nutrient and sediment input from the surrounding watershed. The nonprofit organization Friends of Deep Creek Lake (FODCL) is collaborating with EcoCheck to design and produce an environmental report card for Deep Creek Lake. This project is especially important to the evolution of environmental assessment, communication, and reporting for aquatic systems in Maryland. Lake systems form an important ecologic and hydrologic feature of state upland areas. Deep Creek Lake, while not in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, probably serves as a sentinel for future issues with other Maryland lakes. Deep Creek Lake is the oldest lake in Maryland, having been formed for hydropower in the 1920’s. The ecologic and hydrologic problems that Deep Creek Lake is currently experiencing may very well reflect the future of many other Maryland lakes.
This project seeks to develop a tool to help watershed organizations evaluate the prevalence of specific desired behaviors in watershed organization audiences. While public engagement and environmental education efforts have been ongoing by members of the Mid-Atlantic Tributaries Assessment Coalition (MTAC) for the last three decades, it remains unclear if positive behaviors (e.g., reduced use of fertilizer, upgrading septic systems, etc.) are increasing, and if they are, what influences decision-making about adoption of the behaviors. This work will rely on voluntary participation in a web-based survey that will make for cost effective data collection and analysis. The survey tool would continue to be available for watershed organizations in subsequent years, allowing continual message adjustment to achieve specific behavior changes.
The first objective of the project is to produce a Nanticoke watershed/river report card in the format that is fast becoming the standard for reporting water quality information to the public. This report card will be used to inform and involve the public as part of the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance's programmatic and mission effort to conserve the resources of this river. The second is to provide the Alliance with the training and ability- the capacity- to take complete ownership of the report card in subsequent years.
This report card provides grades for the three tidal regions of the Patuxent River estuary, located on the Western Shore of Chesapeake Bay. The grades are based on six ecological indicators: dissolved oxygen, water clarity, chlorophyll a, phytoplankton community, benthic community, and aquatic grasses.