Linking stormwater Best Management Practices to social factors in two suburban watersheds

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Maeda, P. Kanoko
Chanse, Victoria
Rockler, Amanda
Montas, Hubert
Shirmohammadi, Adel
Wilson, Sacoby
Leisnham, Paul T.
Maeda PK, Chanse V, Rockler A, Montas H, Shirmohammadi A, Wilson S, et al. (2018) Linking stormwater Best Management Practices to social factors in two suburban watersheds. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202638. journal.pone.0202638
To reduce nutrient pollution in urban watersheds, residents need to voluntarily practice a range of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs). However, little is known about the underlying social factors that may act as barriers to BMP implementation. The overall goal of this study was to better understand barriers to BMP implementation by exploring the links among resident demographics, knowledge, and behaviors so that appropriate education can be more effectively developed and targeted. In 2014-2015, a detailed questionnaire was administered door-to-door to 299 randomly selected households in two sub-watersheds of the Chesapeake Bay basin to test relationships among resident demographics, knowledge and attitudes towards water resources and BMPs, and BMP implementation. Multifactor regression models showed that respondents who had greater knowledge of water resources and BMPs lived in households that implemented greater numbers of BMPs. In turn, resident BMP knowledge, or familiarity with BMPs, strongly varied with race and ownership status, with respondents who identified as Caucasian or within a collection of `Other' races, and who were home owners, having greater BMP knowledge than respondents who identified as African American and who were home renters, respectively. Renters and members of homeowner's associations were also less likely to implement BMPs independent of knowledge, possibly reflecting perceived or real bureaucratic or procedural barriers to good stormwater management. Overall, respondents preferred to receive educational materials on stormwater via pamphlets and YouTube videos. These results suggest that resident ownership status knowledge is important to determining the number of household BMPs, and that education outreach should probably target African American and renting households that have lower BMP knowledge and landlords and administrators of homeowner's associations using well-planned print and video educational media.
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