Characteristics that affect valuation of ecosystem services in the Great Bay Estuary watershed

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water quality , ecosystem services , Great Bay Estuary , Student Showcase of Excellence 2017
El-Naboulsi, Noah
According to the US EPA, the Great Bay Estuary (GBE) is recognized as one of the country's twenty-eight "estuaries of national significance" due to its various uses ranging from drinking water to recreational activities to wildlife habitat. However, the GBE has also been experiencing negative impacts as a result of increased human activity and development in the surrounding watershed. Some of these impacts include: increased non-point source pollution of excess nutrients, decreased dissolved oxygen (DO) levels, and increased impervious surface cover. Due to the observed connections between the state of tributaries flowing into the GBE and the health of the GBE, this research aims to look at the ecosystem services of value to stakeholders in the Lamprey, Oyster, and Cocheco watersheds. A more specific area of this project will be to determine which characteristics (if any) influence a stakeholder's decision-making in relation to the status of the GBE. Some characteristics that will be observed include: geographic distance to the GBE, community type, time of residence, demographics, and prior level of awareness. This aspect of the project is important because it can further reveal differences in valuation by specific groups and how to address community concerns.