Effective Knowledge Transfer to Enhance Stakeholder Involvement in Watershed Stewardship
PI: Gayle Zydlewski, University of Maine
The National Need
Urban expansion often results in threats to ecological characteristics of watersheds. Maine is one of the top areas encountering such threats and the Lower Penobscot River in Maine is the top region in the nation in transition from forested to rural landscapes. Examination of the level of threats of urban expansion requires current and comprehensive knowledge of water resources in a specific area. Environmental stakeholders in Lower Penobscot River have expressed an urgent need for enhanced availability and exchange of such water resource information.
Program Overview & Objectives
This proposal seeks to enhance stakeholder involvement in watershed stewardship by developing, evaluating, and improving a user-friendly online map that presents a spectrum of raw and synthesized water resource data. This will be available for all interested parties to make informed decisions about water resources in their communities. Under the collaborative efforts of the Lower Penobscot Watershed Coalition (LPWC) and University of Maine faculty, the project will identify needs of key groups of watershed organizations and translate the needs into the proposed online interface. For effective communication of watershed information, the interface will not only provide ease of access and preferred format availability but also transfer data through spatially explicit interactive maps. The interactive maps will have visual connections to show linkages between two or more water resources variables, indicate areas of concern, show the extent of a problem, and compare information from different time periods. The expected outcomes of the project include: 1) 80% of the individuals in LPWC reporting that they have used the maps within 6 months; 2) 60% of the map users expressing satisfaction with the maps; and 3) a considerable number of watershed associations and municipal officials showing awareness of the availability of the maps as a source of information to their area.
In March 2008 needs of the key stakeholders will be assessed through online surveys, face-to-face discussions and mailed surveys. In April and May 2008 a Beta-version map will be developed based on results from the needs assessment. By mid-summer 2008 the Beta-version will be made available online. Evaluation of the Beta-version will then be conducted through think-aloud protocols and web-based and mail surveys to explore user characteristics, use of the maps, and user satisfaction. Based on evaluation results the Beta version will be improved and updated. In February 2009 a final report of survey results and final map-based interfaces will be available.
5741 Libby Hall, Room 204A
Orono , ME 04469 -5741