The Efficacy of Water Quality Communication: A Case Study of Choctaw Lake
An Honors Thesis presentation will be made by Paige Hagley (Jeremy Brooks, advisor), titled The Efficacy of Water Quality Communication: A Case Study of Choctaw Lake, in 333C Kottman Hall.
Harmful algal blooms in the United States have been increasing in number and economic cost in recent decades. Lakes in Ohio are struggling to combat the causes of the growth in cyanobacteria populations. Despite recognition of the importance of effective and strategic scientific communication, these efforts often lack the participation of scientists communicating with the public. Therefore, community leaders and other residents often end up communicating these environmental issues. Such communication has the potential to improve the environmental literacy of the public. The nearly 800 households of Choctaw Lake near London, Ohio, are experiencing an increase in harmful algal blooms and presence of toxins in the lake. A Lake Water Quality Committee was formed in 2012 to address these problems and work with the public in creating rules and regulations to protect lake water quality. This study explored whether and in what ways information on Choctaw Lake’s water quality is disseminated and understood within the community. The levels of trust in sources of water quality information impact the degree to which the public absorbs and uses such information. By understanding these trust levels in different sources of information and the main reasons for concern about water quality in the community, the Choctaw Lake Water Quality Committee will be able to more strategically communicate water quality information to the public and gain public support for policies and regulations to reduce harmful algal blooms.