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There are well-established methods for working in interdisciplinary natural resource management settings, but place-based cultural differences are often poorly integrated into interdisciplinary projects. Intercultural adequacy is necessary to ensure that water management strategies are acceptable within the local contexts of water users. In this study we followed four cohorts of graduate students from Canada, Chile, Cuba, and the United States that participated in an international graduate-level water resource management course hosted at the Universidad de Concepción in Chile. The North American students participated in post-experience surveys and interviews to assess changes in their interdisciplinary and intercultural comfort levels. The interviews and survey identified factors that enhanced or detracted from their progress towards integrating disciplinary and cultural differences into their work. Though course material promoted interdisciplinary collaborations across various disciplinary cultures, participants noted that traditional methods of integrating did not adequately bridge differences in place-based cultural worldviews. We propose a framework developed during the experience to integrate place-based cultural differences into all phases of the interdisciplinary research and natural resource management processes.
Building resilience to flooding is a commitment of several universities; however, student interest in flood education programs is unclear. The goals of this research are three-fold: 1) to determine the origin of flood messaging on the Old Dominion University (ODU) campus, 2) to assess on-campus flood awareness, and 3) to evaluate the interest in additional flood education. This study evaluates student awareness of flooding via a survey of ODU students and contextual analysis of University warning messages. Many students experienced reduced access to campus as a result of flooding and expressed an interest in additional flood information. Some students reported receiving flood-related information through in-class instruction or orientation-based programming. However, the content varies in detail, and ODU could formally integrate additional resources into outreach and flood education programming. These findings could support the development of a campus wide flood awareness program at ODU and other universities.
All 54 km of the West Fork of the White River (WFWR) were on Arkansas’s 303(d) list of impaired waterbodies for turbidity, total dissolved solids (TDS), and sulfate for many years. This study identifies which river segments fail to meet applicable water quality standards (WQS) and investigates possible anthropogenic or natural sources of pollutants. We also evaluated a larger dataset of 119 sites in the Boston Mountains and Ozark Highlands ecoregions, compiled from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality online database. In the WFWR, water samples were collected once or twice a month at nine sites from June 2014 through June 2018. Median values for turbidity, TDS, sulfate, and chloride ranged from 1.8 to 10.8 NTU, 40.8 to 151.3 mg/L, 3.5 to 27.9 mg/L, and 3.2 to 5.5 mg/L, respectively, and generally increased from upstream to downstream (p < 0.05). Violations of the water quality standard for the parameters of interest varied by site, but generally occurred in the downstream portion of the WFWR, where land use, riparian soils, and underlying geology change. In the larger dataset, turbidity, TDS, sulfate, and chloride concentrations were all significantly greater in the Ozark Highlands than the Boston Mountains ecoregion (p < 0.05). Anthropogenic activities influence dissolved ion concentrations across these study sites, while geology and riparian soils may be important factors for differences in sulfate and turbidity.
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