Saturday, August 23, 2014

It Takes a Watershed to Clean a Lake: Trust and Relationship Building in Environmental Regulation

Poster presentations at the Raw Deal (Photo taken by Chris Ferguson)
Trust forms the backbone of all relationships—between family members, friends and…policy actors and the community? Over the last few months I have been interviewing and observing policy actors (practitioners, policy makers, officials, and organization members) who have influence over the creation, implementation, and enforcement of environmental regulations in the Red Cedar Watershed. This research is a part of the research conducted by the Linking Applied Knowledge in Environmental Sustainability Research Experience for Undergraduates (LAKES REU) at UW-Stout. My goal was to gain an understanding of the ways that policy actors view land use and water pollution in the watershed, their opinions on the effectiveness of current policies, programs, as well as the decision-making process behind those environmental policies.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A little late, but it counts right?

First off sorry everyone for the delay, but I took two long and amazing canoe trips. One of which I had planned since January and one that was a last second idea with a friend. The past two weeks which I spent entirely technology free minus one night that I came home to get supplies and leave for my families annual BWCA trip gave me a lot of time to reflect on my experiences this summer.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The End

Throughout the summer, my research partner and I studied the Groundwater and Surface Water interactions of the Red Cedar River Watershed. We gathered preliminary data for hopefully more promising years to come. By using Solinst Data Loggers that measure water stage and barometric pressure and then taking cross sections, depth, and flow measurements at our three stream sites (Wilson Creek, Tiffany Creek, South Fork of Hay River) we were able to measure the baseflow and stormflow during the 8 weeks we spent in Menomonie, WI.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

8 weeks over... still struggles with titles

Here it is, folks! My previous blogs have touched a bit on my summer research but without much detail. In part, this is because my research project took time to develop and really take shape. Now that the summer is over, I will do my best to summarize my research and findings.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The End of a Beginning to Something Great

For our last blog post, we were asked to write about what our results and what we find most important from this summer (at the end is the touchy feely stuff and the internet in the sticks runs slow so no pictures for now).

The purpose of this study was to better understand the impact that farmers' relationships have on individual farming behavior. To do this, we surveyed and interviewed farmers about BMP adoption as well as who they would name as their closest farming colleagues. From this information, we were able to create a social network map. This research project and experience revealed a lot of useful data as well as allowed student researchers to form some valuable connections to landowners and local farmers.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Leaving Neverland, searching for Narnia

I admit it. 

I fell off the blog train somewhere past the second star to the left. But it's time to grow up and fulfill my duty to the REU blog page. Now that the summer is over, I view this blog as my super informal conclusion that has nothing to do with my research and everything to do with what I learned. In it, you will find a bunch of nonsensical nonsense... or infinite wisdom (depends how much alcohol you consume and how long you sit and stare at it). 

May you find enlightenment. :)

BMPs and BFFs

This summer, I surveyed Wisconsin farmers to understand trends in BMP adoption by capturing the economic landscape of Wisconsin farms. Best Management Practices (BMPs) are ecologically sensitive alternatives to conventional farming practices. Soil loss and declining soil health are of heightening concern to Wisconsin farmers, policymakers, and citizens as these issues can be detrimental to profits and yields and can damage water quality through sedimentation and nutrient loading. BMPs can mitigate soil loss, but their effectiveness is still debated.