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County Government Approaches to Protecting, Restoring and Managing Wetlands

In the United States, counties use many formal and informal mechanisms to govern wetlands within their jurisdiction. Wetlands play a major role in the world’s economic, cultural and ecological systems and are among one of the many threatened natural resources world-wide and Wisconsin is no exception. Informal institutions can play a large role in regulating wetlands and can go unnoticed if only the formal institutions are examined. In our survey we ask about strategies county staff use with landowners of which visiting wetland sites and coordinating with land trusts are two examples of informal institutions. We aim to understand both the formal and informal institutions and the interaction between the two in creating a wetland governance system and how it differs across localities. Understanding wetland governance at the local level can help managers and policy makers develop and implement policies that efficiently and effectively manage natural resources.

We looked at the demographics of the wetland managers, along with several different approaches to management such as GIS work, providing incentives to landowners, or applying heavier regulation. 

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​Lower Fox Watershed Clean Water Agenda – Community Rountables

The Lower Fox River and Green Bay have always played a significant role in the vitality of the communities built along their shores. However, many contributing factors over a long period of time have created water quality conditions today that are less than desirable for humans or wildlife in the Lower Fox River system and Green Bay. This impairment to water quality has drawn the attention of community leaders, educators, researchers, non‐profit organizations and citizens whose efforts have led to greater community education and awareness, built a strong scientific foundation to understand factors negatively affecting water quality, and spurred greater community commitment for addressing the problem. The process described in this report builds from these historic and ongoing community efforts by reaching out to those stakeholders who see solutions to these challenges growing out of the talent, resources, and commitment of local community members.

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Green Lake Watershed Social Science Assessment

This research was led by Dr. Aaron Thompson to support efforts cited in the Green Lake Management Plan to improve agricultural operations performance with NR151 by focusing on
understanding the needs and priorities of this community. Using data collected from an attempted census of agricultural landowners, a stakeholder profile has been developed to provide a better understanding of their current behaviors (i.e. adoption of conservation practices), attitudinal factors motivating support or opposition to watershed management, and informs discussion of governance alternatives (i.e. support for farmer-led initiatives) for decision-making about conservation efforts on agricultural lands. This report begins by examining who responded to the surey and comparing this with information about agricultural landowners and producers in the region to evaluate the potential for bias in the survey results.

Once this basic level of demographic analysis is completed, the process uses attitude information measured by the survey questionnaire to differentiate amongst producers based on their goals and priorities. These groups are then analyzed to determine their preference for different application variables, such as experience and interest in conservation practices, perceived barriers to participation, and trusted partners working within the watershed. Finally, the report summarized what is known about landowners in 7 unique areas within the watershed to support the development of landscape strategies that are responsive to the needs of those who live and work the land in these areas.

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