Exploring the Meanders in Motivations of Volunteer Stream Monitors AND Developing the Capacity of Water Action Volunteers AND The aquatic invasive species prevention knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs of Wisconsin boaters
Date & Time
Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Three Combined Sessions

 Speaker: Rachel Pierson
Exploring the Meanders in Motivations of Volunteer Stream Monitors in Three Countries and Considering How Motivations May be Shaped In Turbulent Times

What motivates people to become volunteer stream monitors and what keeps them going? How might these motivations differ across countries and what role might place attachment play as a motivation? These questions were all part of a research project that occurred from summer 2019 through winter 2020, concluding just before the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. This mixed-methods study aimed to determine the extent to which place attachment influences people’s decision to volunteer for stream-based water monitoring programs in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand, and how motivations of volunteers compare across these countries. The pandemic has reshaped the way we are able to interact with the environment, and for many of us, may have caused us to reflect upon why we engage in certain activities. This presentation aims to revisit the motivations of stream monitors revealed through this research and consider how motivations may be shaped today.

Speaker: Peggy Compton
Developing the Capacity of Water Action Volunteers to Engage Civically for the Health of Wisconsin’s Watersheds

Participants in the Water Action Volunteers (WAV) program are trained to monitor streams and rivers.  Their volunteer-collected data is stored in the state’s surface water database where it is publicly accessible and can be used by DNR staff.  With the knowledge of their data, WAV volunteers have the potential to be resources locally, as their communities anticipate and address water resource and community development issues. Through research, resource development and educational events, this project will develop the capacity of WAV volunteers to move from data collection to action, becoming leaders in engaging their communities for the purpose of ensuring the health of Wisconsin’s watersheds.  

This presentation will cover the project’s first phase: A survey of WAV participants to determine motivation and identify resources, tools and training needed to move volunteer monitors from data collection to civic action.

Speaker: Tim Campbell
The aquatic invasive species prevention knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs of Wisconsin boaters

Recreational boating is the primary pathway for aquatic invasive species to move between inland waterbodies. Wisconsin has invested considerable resources in preventing the spread of AIS through this pathway. This includes funding watercraft inspection efforts through the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program and through general boater education efforts. As part of an evaluation of these efforts, a random survey of 1,500 Wisconsin boaters was completed in 2018 to determine their AIS prevention knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs. 

Generally, AIS prevention knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs have trended in a positive direction since 2009, and current outreach efforts seem to be reaching boaters using their preferred methods of contact which include in-person contact and signage. However, confusion still exists around some laws and prevention behaviors around draining water. Future prevention efforts should build on existing successful programs while filling understanding gaps using some of the indicated preferred contact methods.