Resident Participation in Watershed Management: Preference for Riparian Landscapes, Attitudes, and Behaviors- Case Study of Cedar River Watershed, Washington
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Lower Cedar River Basin is an urban watershed that shares the problem of urbanization and flooding with many other riparian ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest. Restoration of the watershed is not only beneficial to the ecological health of the River, but to the flood mitigation of private riverfront properties. Therefore, engaging the residents along the river is a primary concern of local non-profit conservation organizations such as Forterra. Successful communication with private landowners begins with an understanding of the residents. This study is aimed to understand the residents in Maplewood Neighborhood in terms of their riparian landscape preference, attitudes toward environmental hazards and watershed management plans and regulations, environmental behavior, and demographic characteristics. A photo survey is hand-delivered to all households in the neighborhood along with questions regarding landscape preference, attitudes, behaviors, and demographics. Factor Analysis with SPSS is performed to reduce the items of preference and attitudes. Relationship between preference and demographics is examined with analysis of variance. Logistic regression models are performed to examine the relationship between preference and behavior. Relationship between preference and attitudes is examined with correlation models. A major shared preference of riparian landscape among Maplewood residents contains elements of naturalness, aesthetics, and access to the river. Public use and enjoyment, and flood mitigation are watershed management objectives highly valued by the residents. Gender and housing proximity to the river are major demographic factors that explain preference for different riparian scenes. Landscape restoration should weave residents' preference into ecological design, and thus achieve the overall health of the river.
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