Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Sanctity of Water: Sustainability through Community Engagement and Inclusive Restoration of the Upper Chesapeake Bay
by Wier, Betsy A., Ph.D., Prescott College, 2017, 286; 10681758
Abstract (Summary)

A robust body of research suggests that inclusive and collaborative approaches to ecological restoration, specifically watershed management, are not only successful but also optimal for long-term sustainability. This research is embedded within the context of the EPA regulated Chesapeake Watershed restoration, which spans six states and requires multiple levels of collaboration and engagement. The research used ethnographic methods to explore what motivated community leaders to engage in water resource conservation and restoration initiatives in Havre de Grace, Maryland, a city on the shores of the Upper Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Watershed is a pivotal example of both global and United States trends in degraded water resources. The research questions for the study were: How do community leaders express their understanding of water-related issues through a sense of place, nature connection, and local knowledge? How can community leaders catalyze community engagement in support of water-related environmental restoration, education, and conservation? What are the common points of concern, optimism, and motivation articulated by community leaders to conserve the freshwater and estuarine water resources? Data was collected through in-depth interviews and analyzed using a qualitative coding method. The research contributes to an understanding of how best practices in community leadership and community engagement can be mobilized to conserve and restore critical ecosystems within the context of a broader watershed management initiative. The research results are useful for community organizers and stakeholder institutions with an interest in protecting and restoring degraded natural environments through locally relevant initiatives.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cox Caniglia, Noël
Commitee: Langmaid, Kimberly, Santo, Beverly, Sewall, Laura
School: Prescott College
Department: Sustainability Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Environmental Justice, Sustainability
Keywords: Community engagement, Community leaders, Sense of place, Sustainability, Systems thinking, Watershed
Publication Number: 10681758
ISBN: 978-0-355-52009-5
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