Event Title

BMP Implementation and Impacts on Water Quality: A Social Science Approach

Presenter Information

Michael Halling

Location

ECC 307/309

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/htm/conference/past-spring-runoff-conferences

Start Date

5-4-2007 11:50 AM

End Date

5-4-2007 12:10 PM

Description

Much of the research devoted to assessing the relationship between agricultural “best management practices” (BMPs) and water quality has assumed that BMP implementation is a straightforward event that leads to a predictable outcome. However, this assumption fails to recognize that the implementation and maintenance of BMPs depends on a variety of human factors that can significantly influence the impact potential these practices have on water quality. Therefore, an adequate assessment of impacts on water quality will require knowledge on the social dimensions of conservation behaviors.

This paper will discuss the contributions of social science methodology to a larger research project that is being funded by the USDA to determine if the conservation practices they cost-shared throughout the 1990s have improved the water quality conditions of the Little Bear River as intended. Data was gathered from a local government office to determine what, where, and when BMPs were implemented. Also, extensive interviews have been conducted with the individual landowners that implemented these practices. From our interviews, we have been able to (a) assess the accuracy of the data obtained from the government files, (b) determine if the practices implemented are still in use (and if not, why not?), (c) gain a deeper and richer understanding of what was done on the ground, and (d) track landuse changes overtime. Findings suggest that face-to-face contact with project participants provide rich information about project performance and more closely identify the relevant land management behaviors that should be the focus more technical water quality modeling

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Apr 5th, 11:50 AM Apr 5th, 12:10 PM

BMP Implementation and Impacts on Water Quality: A Social Science Approach

ECC 307/309

Much of the research devoted to assessing the relationship between agricultural “best management practices” (BMPs) and water quality has assumed that BMP implementation is a straightforward event that leads to a predictable outcome. However, this assumption fails to recognize that the implementation and maintenance of BMPs depends on a variety of human factors that can significantly influence the impact potential these practices have on water quality. Therefore, an adequate assessment of impacts on water quality will require knowledge on the social dimensions of conservation behaviors.

This paper will discuss the contributions of social science methodology to a larger research project that is being funded by the USDA to determine if the conservation practices they cost-shared throughout the 1990s have improved the water quality conditions of the Little Bear River as intended. Data was gathered from a local government office to determine what, where, and when BMPs were implemented. Also, extensive interviews have been conducted with the individual landowners that implemented these practices. From our interviews, we have been able to (a) assess the accuracy of the data obtained from the government files, (b) determine if the practices implemented are still in use (and if not, why not?), (c) gain a deeper and richer understanding of what was done on the ground, and (d) track landuse changes overtime. Findings suggest that face-to-face contact with project participants provide rich information about project performance and more closely identify the relevant land management behaviors that should be the focus more technical water quality modeling

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2007/AllAbstracts/7