April 9, 2018

LimnoTech’s Derek Schlea, Chelsie Boles, and Todd Redder, with lead author Robyn Wilson of The Ohio State University, have written a paper, titled “Using Models of Farmer Behavior to Inform Eutrophication Policy in the Great Lakes.” The authors look at how you can integrate farmer behavior and watershed models to understand nutrient load reduction targets and attainment to help restore Lake Erie and inform Great Lakes policy. The authors discuss the importance of understanding farmers’ perception of how their actions can reduce nutrient loads to Lake Erie when encouraging them to adopt those actions. The research identifies beliefs that are critical to behavioral change, and explores the likelihood that farmers will more readily adopt management practices critical to reducing nutrient loading to Lake Erie when they believe that these actions are changing things for the better — i.e., when they believe that actions they are taking in their fields can truly help attain phosphorus reduction targets for the lake. Based on their findings, the authors suggest that future efforts to reduce nutrient loading should focus on measuring the effectiveness of education and outreach programs aimed at engaging farmers and promoting adoption of recommended management practices. The paper will be published in the August 2018 issue of Water Research. Early access to the paper is available online at ScienceDirect here.

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