Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

R/E-22e

Linking Stormwater BMP Implementation and Mosquito Infestation to Resident Socioeconomic Status, Knowledge, and Attitudes in Two Suburban Watersheds

Principal Investigator: 

Paul Leisnham

Start/End Year: 

2016 to 2017

Institution: 

University of Maryland, College Park, Department of Environmental Science and Technology

Co-Principal investigator: 

Kanoko Maeda

Strategic focus area: 

Resilient communities and economies

Description: 

The quality of water in our streams, lakes, and estuaries results from interactions between the biophysical landscape and the attitudes and behaviours of communities. Unfortunately, the majority of watershed research and intervention programs have been on either the biophysical or the social components alone. The artificial separation of coupled human-natural dimensions of watersheds appears particularly damaging in urban systems that are under acute stress from non-point source pollution, are managed by numerous private landowners, and that already experience numerous social and environmental stressors. Sustained community based participation is desperately needed to help achieve Chesapeake Bay restoration goals, yet we still know very little about the underlying social factors that may act as barriers (or incentives) to household BMP implementation. The overall goal of my thesis is to better understand barriers to BMP implementation by exploring the links between resident demographics, knowledge and behaviors so that appropriate education can be more effectively developed and targeted. I aim to test relationships between resident knowledge, attitudes, and BMP implementation along socio-economic and other demographic gradients. The focus of the first year of my MS research has been to quantitatively analyze human survey data that was collected in 2014- 15. My preliminary analyses show strong relationships between demographics, knowledge and BMP implementation. They also indicate that nearly 80% of all residents are concerned of mosquito breeding within stormwater BMPs and that this concern may be an important barrier to BMP adoption. Thus, as part of the second year of my MS research, I intend to explore social factors (demographics, knowledge, attitudes) that predict resident mosquito concerns that predict BMP and mosquito management, and test if mosquito concerns in BMPs is related to actual mosquito risks from these potential habitats. I will use these findings to develop a variety of extension outputs, including reports, factsheets, and presentations, on bio-rational household mosquito management in at-risk BMPs, clarify the actual risks of mosquito production from household BMPs compared to other habitats, and increase BMP adoption.