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Lake Erie Algae Views of Ohioans on Causes and Solutions Pre- and Post-Toledo Brian E. Roe McCormick Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "Lake Erie Algae Views of Ohioans on Causes and Solutions Pre- and Post-Toledo Brian E. Roe McCormick Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lake Erie Algae Views of Ohioans on Causes and Solutions Pre- and Post-Toledo Brian E. Roe McCormick Professor

2 Ohio State Lake Erie Research National Science Foundation Dynamics of Coupled Natural-Human Systems Program OSU Climate, Water, & Carbon Initiative Field to Faucet Initiative Contributors to Today’s Results Erik Nisbet (OSU School of Communications) Greg Howard (East Carolina University) 2Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

3 >?<>?< Farmer land management decisions P runoff from field into watershed P loadings to Lake Erie Changes in ecosystem services Value of these changes to people Opinions on policy options Policies Economic behavioral models Spatial watershed model Hydrodynamic lake model Economic welfare analysis Costs of policy ($) Benefits of policy ($) Nutrient Service Firms 4R Certification Conceptual Framework: Lake Erie Research at Ohio State 3 >?<>?<

4 Toledo Water Advisory 2:00 am on Saturday, August 2, 2014 through 10:00 Monday, August 4 (56 hours) Do not drink, boil or, for some, bathe with Toledo city water About 500,000 affected  4Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

5 Broad Media Coverage 5 Question : Did the Toledo event and subsequent media coverage fundamentally reshape Ohioans views of …. Lake Erie water quality issues? The role of agriculture in Lake Erie algae? The types and intensity of policies that are justified to deal with agriculture’s role in Lake Erie water quality issues? Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

6 Online Survey of Ohio Residents Wave 1: March 2014 Part of NSF funded research to assess Ohioan’s Awareness of Lake Erie algae issues Willingness to pay for various policy initiatives 6 Wave 1Ohio (18 yrs+) Age College Degree or More35.6%24.7% Identify Caucasian84.7%83.2% Male49.7%49.2% Median Income$40k - $50k$48.2k # of Respondents M Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

7 Online Survey of Ohio Residents Wave 1: March 2014 Toledo water crisis: August 2-4, 2014 Wave 2: September 10 – 26, 2014 Online convenience sample: difficult to generalize to all of Ohio 7 Wave 1Repeat Responders Ohio (18 yrs+) Age College Degree or More35.6%39.8%24.7% Identify Caucasian84.7%86.8%83.2% Male49.7%48.3%49.2% Median Income$40k - $50k $48.2k # of Respondents M Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

8 Lake Erie Perceived Water Quality “How would you rate the overall quality of the water in Lake Erie?” 7 point scale 1 = “Very Bad” 7 = “Very Good” 8Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

9 Lake Erie Perceived Water Quality For respondents who answered both before and after Toledo More rate Lake Erie water quality in lowest categories But difference is not statistically significant One event apparently not enough to taint overall water quality portrait of Lake Erie 9Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

10 Perceived News Coverage “In the last few months, how much have you heard or read in the news about each of the following environmental or agricultural issues?” List of 4 topics 7-point scale 1 = “none at all” 7 = “a great deal” 10Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

11 Perceived News Coverage Attention shifted from climate change to Lake Erie algae Statistically significant increase for all algae and farm topics Statistically significant decrease in climate change topic Post-Toledo differences in perceived coverage are statistically different 11Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

12 Attributing Blame for Lake Erie Algae “What do you think is causing the increase in algal blooms in Lake Erie over the past few years?” 8 possible sources listed 7-point scale provided 1 = Contributing None at All 7 = Contributing a Great Deal 12Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

13 Who is to Blame? 790 rated all sources prior to Toledo event Crops, Industry & Urban not significantly different Animal Ag and Lawns second tier of ratings 13Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

14 How did Toledo Change the Blame Game? Only those who answered the surveys both before and after the Toledo event (about 300) Increased attribution assigned to: Animal Agriculture (+4.1%)** Crops (+3.4%)** Weather (+3.8%)** Less attribution post-Toledo for: Industry (-5.3%)** Urban (-1.7%) Septic (-1.8%) Post-Toledo: General Public clearly perceives Crops as largest source of Lake Erie Algae Only 24% rate Industry higher Animal Ag statistically similar to Industry & Urban ** Statistically significant change 14Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

15 Changes in Public Feelings “When you think about the problem of algal blooms and water quality in Lake Erie, how do you feel?” 7 point scale 1 = not at all this emotion 4 = moderately 7 = very much this emotion 5 Sentiments Concerned Afraid Angry Upset Worried 15Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

16 How did Toledo Change Public Emotion? Only those who answered the surveys both before and after the Toledo event (about 330 people – varies by question) Uptick in strength of all emotions Largest increase for ‘Upset’ (+3.9%)** Statistically significant increases in ‘Concern’ and ‘Worry’ as well ** Statistically significant 16Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

17 Public Risk Perceptions “In your opinion how much risk do algal blooms in Lake Erie pose to each of the following?” 7 different targets Fish in Lake Erie Human health in Ohio The economy in Ohio Plant and animal species in Ohio You and your family Your local community People in Ohio 10 point scale 1 = no risk at all…… 5 = moderate risk…….10 = Extreme risk 17Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

18 How did Toledo Change Public Risk Perceptions? Only those who answered the surveys both before and after the Toledo event (about 330 people – varies by question) Largest Perceived Risk Increases Human Health (+6.9%)** People of Ohio (+4.1%)** Economy (+3.5%)** Perceived Risk Decreases Fish (-2.0%) ** Statistically significant 18Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

19 How did Toledo Change Public Perception of Control? “How much control do ____ have over the amount of agricultural runoff…” 10 point scale 1 = no control at all 4 = moderate control 7 = a great deal of control No statistically significant change Public sees farmers having significantly more control than government regulatory agencies in controlling ag runoff. 19Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

20 Choice Among Programs Respondents offered competing plans to reduce nutrient pollution from agricultural sources that varied by: Cost to the household Effectiveness reducing negative consequences of HABs Source of funding (sales, income or fertilizer tax) The way the nutrient reduction was achieved additional regulation of agriculture additional farmer incentives for Payment for Ecosystem Services programs tax fertilizer 20Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

21 Willingness to Pay for 10% Reduction in Damages Pre – ToledoPost - Toledo Via Payments for Voluntary Programs~ $40/year~ $35/year Via Increased Regulation~ $47/year~ $39/year Via Fertilizer Tax~ $18/year~ $23/year Preliminary estimates – please don’t quote as our analyses continue 10% reduction in negative effects of harmful algal blooms in terms of fish kills, beach closures and reduced algae coverage of Lake Erie Outstanding methodological issue yet to explore The word ‘tax’ appears earliest in the description of programs financed by Fertilizer Taxes May induce least willingness to pay because the word ‘tax’ appears earliest Want to rule out a saliency effect in future versions of the survey 21

22 Summary The Toledo water advisory event shifted our repeated convenience sample’s survey responses in several ways. Greater…. Awareness of media coverage of Algae and Farm Runoff topics Perception that Algae pose risks to human health and Ohio economy Relative attribution of Algae’s cause to crop and animal agriculture Levels of fear, upset and concern about Lake Erie algae Not a representative sample No changes in Perceived quality of Lake Erie water Willingness to pay to reduce damages from Algae Perceived relative ability to control algae between farmers and government 22Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

23 Pending Legislation in Ohio HB 490 Passed the Ohio House in November on a bipartisan vote of Prohibits surface applications of manure or fertilizer On snow-covered or frozen soil or To fields that are already saturated or When weather forecasts call for more than half an inch of precipitation over a 24-hour period. The restrictions would cover the West Lake Erie Basin in northwest Ohio Exempt if Manure and fertilizer are injected into the ground or Applied to a growing crop 23Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

24 Ongoing Research Efforts Analyzing responses to surveys by corn & soybean farmers in the Maumee Pre-Toledo, with post-Toledo collection planned in several WLEB watersheds Assessing current state of practice by farmers Perceptions of the effectiveness of different interventions Willingness to accept voluntary programs that pay for changes to land management Nutrient Service Providers Costs and benefits of enrolling in 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program Perceived competitive advantages/disadvantages of program commitment General Population More surveys planned to refine WTP and opinions about policy options 24Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae

25 Questions and More Info Brian Roe Available information on practices and perceptions of corn and soybean farmers in the Maumee watershed about nutrient management approaches, see: and-water-quality.pdf and-water-quality.pdf 25Roe: Dean's Outlook, 12/1/14, Public Opinion Lake Erie Algae


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