Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4535
Title: Environmental Awareness and Public Support for Protecting and Restoring Puget Sound
Author: Thomas G. Safford, K. C. Norman, M. Henly, K. E. Mills, P. S. Levin
Publication Year: 2014
Journal: Environmental Management
Volume: 53
Issue: 4
Pages: 757-768
DOI: 10.1007/s00267-014-0236-8

In order to garner public support, environmental professionals have attempted to increase awareness about environmental threats and illustrate the need for action.  Nonetheless, how beliefs about the scope and severity of different types of environment problems are inter-related or whether environmental awareness shapes support for management interventions is less clear.  Using data from a telephone survey of residents of the Puget Sound region, we investigate how perceptions of different environmental issues, along with other social factors, affect attitudes about policy options.  Our results show that self-assessed environmental understanding and views about the seriousness of pollution, habitat loss, and salmon declines are only weakly related.  Further analysis shows that women and individuals that believe pollution threatens Puget Sound are more likely to support a range of environmental policy tools.  Conversely, self-identified Republicans and individuals who view current regulations as ineffective tend to oppose governmental actions designed to protect and restore Puget Sound.   One policy measure displays distinct patterns ¿ tax credits for environment-friendly business practices.  In this case, political party affiliation does not have significant effects, and a belief that wildlife habitat is being lost across Puget Sound leads to less support for tax credits.   These findings demonstrate that environmental awareness influences public support for policy tools, but the nature of particular management actions and social forces can have important mitigating effects that need to be considered by practitioners attempting to promote integrated approaches to environmental management.

Theme: Ecosystem Approach to Management for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Foci: Describe the interaction between human activities and ecosystem status and resilience.