At the beginning of the workshop, we polled our audience on a few questions that we had previously asked residents, landowners (>5 acres), and members of the forest industry in the region in some of our teams’ research efforts. After we held a poster session (add link to posters) to interactively discuss the results of our study with attendees, we also polled them to see if they thought residents, large landowners, and members of the forest industry professionals perceive risks to saltwater intrusion. In this blog post, we present the results that we shared with the workshop attendees during the last hour of our workshop.
Workshop attendees believed residents, large landowners, and forest industry professionals perceive a risk to saltwater intrusion
Survey Results Tell a Different Story about Salinization Risk Perceptions
Almost all of our workshop participants agreed that the APP was currently at risk of saltwater intrusion. However, few residents (28% of our study population) agreed that the APP is currently at risk from saltwater intrusion. Interestingly, even fewer forest industry professionals (9%) agreed with the statement and many of them (69%) disagreed with the statement. Large landowners on the peninsula agreed a bit more (33%), but even still, the same proportion of this group of stakeholders “strongly” disagreed with the statement (33%).
What Might These Differences in Risk Perceptions Mean?
The workshop has highlighted a gap between the risk perceptions of federal, state and non-governmental natural resource managers working in the region and the people who reside on the Albemarle Pamlico Peninsula. Additionally, the workshop discussions highlighted that the natural resource managers were surprised by, and did not anticipate, such differences in risk perceptions among the other stakeholder groups (residents, large landowners, and forest industry professionals). These differences in risk perceptions illustrate the potential benefits of increased communication and engagement between management agencies and the broader public.
It will become increasingly important to raise awareness about these emerging issues if residents and industries are to adapt to this rapidly changing environment. Residents and landowners are likely to see changes on their properties as sea level continues to rise and the reach of saltwater increases landward. Our next SALT team workshop on the APP focuses on these local stakeholders to share the findings of the research project and help begin the discussion on saltwater intrusion and the risks being faced across the peninsula.