Expert Perceptions of Approaches to Protecting Isolated Wetlands in the Northeastern United States
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JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association
In this article, we describe how protecting vernal pools was discussed by experts in the northeastern United States (U.S) within the context of a theoretical policy framework. We offer insight about characteristics of feasible vernal pool policy solutions, and identify gaps in our understanding, particularly regarding conditions in states currently lacking specific vernal pool protections. Vernal pools are geographically isolated, intermittent wetlands that provide important habitat for a variety of plants and animals. Many may not be federally protected as a result of judicial decisions over the past two decades, and the rule intended to clarify what qualifies for federal protection is currently being reviewed by the courts. Thus, state or local policy approaches may be alternatives to conserving vernal pools. We interviewed vernal pool experts in the northeastern U.S. regarding approaches to vernal pool protection and analyzed their perceptions through the lens of Kingdon's (2011) multiple streams policy development framework. The framework denotes 13 characteristics of three processes associated with policy development: problem identification, policy solution development, and the impacts of politics. While analyzed for all 13 components, we found participants most often discussed feasibility of policy formulation and implementation, particularly with regard to protecting vernal pools of high value while also remaining within the bounds of what public opinion supports.
Keywordsenvironmental regulations Rapanos seasonal wetlands SWANCC water policy interviews Clean Water Rule multiple streams framework
Floress, Kristin; Kolozsvary, Mary Beth; Mangun, Jean 2017. Expert Perceptions of Approaches to Protecting Isolated Wetlands in the Northeastern United States. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 53(5): 1048-1061. https://doi.org/10.1111/1752-1688.12553.