Landowner Motivations for Civic Engagement in Water Resource Protection

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JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, ISSN: 1093-474X, Vol: 51, Issue: 6, Page: 1600-1612

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Amit K. Pradhananga, Mae Davenport, Bjorn Olson
Environmental Science, Earth and Planetary Sciences
article description
Scholars and water resource professionals recognize citizens must get involved in water resource issues to protect water resources. Yet questions persist on how to motivate community members to get and stay civically involved in nonpoint source pollution issues, given that problems are often ill-defined. To be successful, interventions intended to engage individuals in collective action must be based on an understanding of the determinants of public-sphere behavior. The purpose of this study is to explore the psycho-social factors which influence landowner civic engagement in water resource protection. Data were collected using a self-administered mail survey of landowners in the Cannon River Watershed and analyzed using structural equation modeling. Study findings suggest landowners are more likely to be civically engaged in water resource issues if they feel a personal obligation to take civic action and perceive they have the ability to protect water resources. Landowners who believe water resource protection is a local responsibility, perceive important others expect them to protect water resources, and believe they have the ability to protect water resources are more likely to feel a sense of obligation to take civic action. A combination of strategies including civic engagement programs addressing barriers to landowner engagement will be most effective for promoting civic engagement in water resource protection.

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