Southeastern Section - 66th Annual Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 18-3
Presentation Time: 8:40 AM


COCKERILL, Kristan1, ANDERSON Jr., William2, GROOTHUIS, Peter3, GU, Chuanhui2, MOHR, Tanga3 and WHITEHEAD, John3, (1)Appalachian State University, Interdisciplinary Studies Program, ASU Box 32080, Boone, NC 28608, (2)Department of Geology, Appalachian State University, ASU Box 32067, Boone, NC 28608-2067, (3)Economics, Appalachian State University, ASU Box 32013, Boone, NC 28608,

As the EPA noted in a 2016 document, “Stormwater management is a major and growing challenge nationwide, with stormwater pollution, flooding and other impacts imposing serious impacts on water quality, public health and local economies.” To better understand runoff, members of this research team have monitored conditions on Boone Creek in northwestern North Carolina. Monitoring results show that thermal pollution and salt are key water quality issues. If stormwater runoff is to be well-managed, it requires better understanding public knowledge about runoff and attitudes toward managing it. The research team, therefore, developed a survey about stormwater and issued it in Appalachian states that experience snow. The survey assessed general knowledge about stormwater, concerns about impacts from runoff, and attitudes toward who should manage and pay for managing stormwater. Further, the survey included an experiment to assess if and how detailed, science-based information documenting the negative impacts of temperature and salt, influences public concern and support for stormwater management.

Results show that a while a majority of respondents do know what stormwater runoff is, they don’t understand that it goes directly to water bodies and is usually untreated. Respondents expressed the least concern about high temperatures and only moderate concern about salt and about runoff from roads, parking lots and buildings. Respondents agreed that stormwater needs to be managed and when asked if individual, county, state or federal officials should have authority for managing, county level was the most agreed to response. State-level funds, however, were the preferred choice to pay for management. Most importantly, providing more detailed science-based information clearly stating that temperature is an issue and that salt has long-term negative impacts had no influence on respondents’ general concern about stormwater runoff or water quality. It also did not influence attitudes about who should have management authority or who should pay for management.