The Efficacy of Water Quality Communication: A Case Study of the Choctaw Lake Community
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. School of Environment and Natural Resources Honors Theses; 2015
Harmful algal blooms in the United States have been increasing in number and economic cost in recent decades. Lake communities in Ohio are struggling to combat the causes of the growth in cyanobacteria populations. There is broad recognition of the importance of effective and strategic scientific communication to help address or prevent environmental problems. There are a variety of ways to inform the public about environmental problems, and such communication has the potential to improve the environmental literacy of the public and to increase support for regulations to address environmental problems. However, different sources of information can have different impacts based, in part, on the degree to which individuals trust these sources. The small community of approximately 700 households at Choctaw Lake near London, Ohio, is experiencing an increase in harmful algal blooms and presence of toxins in the lake. A Lake Water Quality Committee was formed in 2012 to address these problems and work with the public to create rules and regulations to protect water quality. Given the variety of means of communication available it is important to understand where residents are getting their information about water quality, how much they trust various sources, and what this means for their attitudes towards water quality and attempts to improve it. The study explored sources of water quality information and the levels of trust in these sources in this community. This research seeks to add to the literature on water quality communication in regard to harmful algal blooms and to provide a framework for future communication efforts by the Lake Water Quality Committee.
Academic Major: Environmental Science
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