MS Thesis Defense
Targeting Landowner Willingness to Implement Conservation in Minnesota Watershed Planning
Nonpoint source pollution is a persistent problem for water quality management. State-funded planning and implementation efforts to improve water resources in Minnesota rely almost exclusively on physical watershed characteristics to prioritize issues and spatially target limited funds to achieve the greatest water quality improvements. This paper reviews previous environmental psychology and sociology work regarding landowner decisions to implement conservation practices and explores the use of past conservation participation records as an indicator for future willingness to implement to spatially target sub-watersheds based on previously-demonstrated landowner values and intentions. Example maps made using this method are discussed for the Cedar River Watershed in south-eastern Minnesota and Nicollet County in south-central Minnesota. Comparison with mapped survey results by Moeller, Pradhananga, and Davenport (2018) seeking the same spatial targeting of the ‘social landscape’ of watershed conservation intentions did not support the use of past conservation participation data as an indicator of future intent to implement.