Division of Water
State Survey Stresses Importance of Streams, Wetlands
The State Stream and Wetland Conservation Plan survey recently released by the Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) reveals the majority of respondents believe that Kentucky’s streams and wetlands are of critical importance and need to be protected from the effects of development and resource extraction.
The survey was conducted by Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and administered by DOW. The 800-plus persons surveyed statewide included environmental professionals, federal and state regulators, farmers, homeowners, coal industry representatives, stream restoration engineers, foresters and sportsmen.
Dr. Stephanie McSpirit, an associate professor in EKU’s Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work who oversaw the survey, said respondents also emphasized the need for more environmental education and improved coordination and partnerships among agencies, universities and other stakeholders.
“While survey respondents agreed that concerted efforts have been made over the past five years to better protect Kentucky’s water resources, they also stressed the need for more education, outreach and research,” said McSpirit. “They feel the general public and certain other stakeholder groups -- for example, landowners and local officials -- lack accurate knowledge, scientific understanding and technical information to make informed land-use and water resource planning decisions.”
McSpirit added that many respondents also recognized the tradeoffs and conflicts between economic activity and environmental protection, specifically the problems associated with residential growth, sewage and storm water. Much of the critical advice centered on reversing trends of wetland and stream loss.
The survey results can be found online at /http://www.water.ky.gov/permitting/wqcert/. For more information, contact Barbara Scott at DOW at 502-564-3410, ext. 4874, or Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org.