Educating Citizens to Understand Runoff and its Consequences.
Stormwater is, unfortunately, not a concept with which most citizens have a high degree of familiarity, despite considerable lifelong exposure to its presence and effects. While most individuals from a very young age can recognize and differentiate between many types of precipitation (even toddlers can tell whether it’s raining, snowing, sleeting or hailing), few persons of any age display adequate knowledge when it comes to understanding what happens to this precipitation once it reaches the ground. And, even more unfortunately, among those who do possess an adequate knowledge base about what happens to this water, there are a significant number who don't care. Stormwater runoff, after all, is someone else's problem, isn't it? These two factors, ignorance and apathy, pose significant barrier to the restoration of riparian environments which have been adversely affected by runoff, as well as to the protection of these environments from the further negative impacts of stormwater in the future. Models for stormwater management must address both public ignorance and public apathy if they hope to have long-term positive effects on hydrologic systems including lakes, streams, and oceans. This chapter will discuss a watershed-based stormwater management strategy with considerable emphasis on addressing and minimizing public ignorance and apathy.
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