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Public Service Research Program

Photo: Recycling can takes a spill in Laguna Creek

Recycling can takes a spill in Laguna Creek

Linking Urban Runoff and Watershed Health

Through building awareness of the connections between urban runoff and the health of the creek and engaging community members in activities related to reducing the volume and improving water quality of urban runoff, our goal is to foster citizen stewardship of the Laguna Creek Watershed in Elk Grove.

Our project is an outreach-based sub-project of the "Evaluating BMP effectiveness to reduce volumes and improve quality of runoff from urban environments" (Oki & Haver). The outreach project has been designed to complement the outreach efforts of the main project and use components of their project and research design to investigate and add to the understanding of the human behavioral component of runoff reduction and water quality improvement. The outreach project, based in Elk Grove, involves collaboration with the local watershed council, schools, and neighborhood associations. In the initial phase, a base line of watershed awareness and landscaping practices of residents in designated areas of Elk Grove is assessed. In the second phase, the Liaison works with the local groups and schools on the co-development of a variety of runoff related outreach and education projects tied to the BMP's outlined in the main project. In the final phase, a post-survey is distributed to evaluate the impacts of the outreach projects on reported watershed awareness and landscape practices.

Project Challenge/Research Question: Through community education, research, and active participation, will members understand and appreciate the connection between urban runoff and the conditions of their local creeks, thereby becoming more willing and motivated to change their activities individually and collectively to the betterment of watershed health? What is the human dimension of resource conservation and watershed health, and can building connections among community organizations, groups, and educational institutions result in attitudinal and behavioral change?

Liaison: Emily Evans, Education, PhD program

Site: Laguna Creek watershed, Elk Grove, Sacramento County

Partners: Laguna Creek Watershed Council, Elk Grove Neighborhood Associations, Elk Grove Unified School District, UC Cooperative Extension, Institute for Environmental Health, local and regional agencies, homeowners, youth.

Associated Projects/Research: This project is part of a large research project on "Effective Improvement of Urban Water Quality and Reduction of Residential Runoff" led by UC researchers Loren Oki & Darren Haver.

Project Time Line: 2006 - 2007

Funding: Funded through a grant to the University of California (Loren Oki & Darren Haver) by the State Water Resource Control Board.