Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Moving beyond education and outreach to behavior change

Description

In 2012, Snohomish County Surface Water Management (SWM) launched LakeWise, a social marketing-based outreach program to address residential non-point pollution at lakes with declining water quality. Lakes are highly sensitive to nutrient loading. Even small quantities of pollutants, particularly phosphorus, can lead to serious impacts such as harmful algal blooms that threaten human and animal health. SWM has been conducting long-term monitoring of 35 lakes since 1992. Many lakes are showing statistically significant increases in chlorophyll a and/or in epilimnetic and hypolimnetic phosphorus concentrations. For most, the primary cause is non-point source phosphorus pollution from residential activities, including yard care practices, poorly maintained septic systems, stormwater runoff, and pet waste. Although many of the lakes are still in satisfactory condition, continued non-point pollution puts them at high risk for future algal problems and increased internal phosphorus loading which requires costly in-lake restoration. To achieve long-term phosphorus reduction, residential best management practices (BMPs) and shoreline restoration need to be voluntarily adopted by lake community residents. SWM determined that a social marketing-based outreach program would be the most effective approach to gain willing adoption of BMPs by residents. SWM developed the program by researching other outreach programs to identify successful strategies and conducting targeted market research. The end product was, LakeWise, builds awareness of water quality impacts that residents have on their lakes and effects behavior change through incentives and partnerships to implement best management practices (BMPs).The centerpiece is a property certification program where landowners must complete a Clear Choices checklist of the most important actions they can take on their property to reduce nutrient pollution. Piloted at one lake in 2012/2013, LakeWise was expanded to eleven target lakes in 2014 and enhanced by the inclusion of financial incentives for septic system care and shoreline restoration. It is a model for social marketing campaigns that contribute to the long-term health of lakes, rivers and marine waters through nutrient reduction across Puget Sound.

Comments

This abstract is part of the larger session being coordinated by Tiffany Odell, Pierce County (todell@co.pierce.wa.us)

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LakeWise: Motivating and Inspiring Clear Choices for Healthy Lakes

2016SSEC

In 2012, Snohomish County Surface Water Management (SWM) launched LakeWise, a social marketing-based outreach program to address residential non-point pollution at lakes with declining water quality. Lakes are highly sensitive to nutrient loading. Even small quantities of pollutants, particularly phosphorus, can lead to serious impacts such as harmful algal blooms that threaten human and animal health. SWM has been conducting long-term monitoring of 35 lakes since 1992. Many lakes are showing statistically significant increases in chlorophyll a and/or in epilimnetic and hypolimnetic phosphorus concentrations. For most, the primary cause is non-point source phosphorus pollution from residential activities, including yard care practices, poorly maintained septic systems, stormwater runoff, and pet waste. Although many of the lakes are still in satisfactory condition, continued non-point pollution puts them at high risk for future algal problems and increased internal phosphorus loading which requires costly in-lake restoration. To achieve long-term phosphorus reduction, residential best management practices (BMPs) and shoreline restoration need to be voluntarily adopted by lake community residents. SWM determined that a social marketing-based outreach program would be the most effective approach to gain willing adoption of BMPs by residents. SWM developed the program by researching other outreach programs to identify successful strategies and conducting targeted market research. The end product was, LakeWise, builds awareness of water quality impacts that residents have on their lakes and effects behavior change through incentives and partnerships to implement best management practices (BMPs).The centerpiece is a property certification program where landowners must complete a Clear Choices checklist of the most important actions they can take on their property to reduce nutrient pollution. Piloted at one lake in 2012/2013, LakeWise was expanded to eleven target lakes in 2014 and enhanced by the inclusion of financial incentives for septic system care and shoreline restoration. It is a model for social marketing campaigns that contribute to the long-term health of lakes, rivers and marine waters through nutrient reduction across Puget Sound.