Performance-based conservation has long been recognized as crucial to improving program effectiveness, particularly when environmental conditions are dynamic. Yet few studies have investigated the use of environmental performance information by staff of conservation organizations. This article identifies attitudinal, policy and organizational factors influencing the use of a type of performance information—water quality information—by Soil and Water Conservation District staff in the Upper Mississippi River Basin region. An online survey (n = 277) revealed a number of important variables associated with greater information use. Variables included employees’ prosocial motivation, or the belief that they helped people and natural resources through their job, the perceived trustworthiness of data, the presence of a U.S. Clean Water Act Total Maximum Daily Load standard designation, and staff discretion to prioritize programs locally. Conservation programs that retain motivated staff and provide them the resources and flexibility to plan and evaluate their work with environmental data may increase conservation effectiveness under changing conditions.
Environmental Management – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 12, 2018
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