Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Geography and Environmental Science and Policy

Major Professor

Kamal Alsharif

Keywords

Nonpoint Pollution, Public Participation, Stormwater Management, Water Quality

Abstract

Comparative research was conducted to assess the environmental impacts of the Adopt-a-Pond program, which operates throughout Hillsborough County, Florida. The Adopt-a-Pond program was established in 1992 and designed to address nonpoint pollution through outreach and stormwater pond enhancement. However, the program had never been thoroughly and scientifically evaluated. Therefore, assessments of water quality and vegetative characteristics were made at ninety Adopt-a-Pond participants and eleven control ponds to explore the potential impacts of the program on measurable environmental parameters. Statistical analysis of the results failed to demonstrate any statistically significant environmental improvements associated with the Adopt-a-Pond program, and measures of program activity did not illustrate a consistently positive relationship. These results indicate a need to readdress the policies and implementation of the program. Poor compliance by program volunteers, evident by the limited span of group participation (mean = 2.5 years) and relatively low percentage of actively involved residents, is the most likely culprit for the unremarkable improvements in pond quality, as pond enhancement techniques are firmly established in the literature. Overall, these conclusions underline the need for an integrated evaluation component in policymaking and an adaptive management approach to environmental management. A more detailed analysis is warranted to provide time series data, which examines ponds both before and after entry to the program and after implementing landmark improvement measures. In the end, the results of the study have provided a better understanding of the AAP and other similar restoration programs, and hopes to allow for enhancement of AAP program restoration practices.

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