Local decision makers' attitudes to vernal pool conservation in Maine

McGreavy, Bridie
Tom Webler
Department of Environmental Studies
Local decision makers' attitudes to vernal pool conservation were explored through a mixed method technique that incorporated interviews and a postal survey. Interviews were conducted with nine local decision makers in Bar Harbor and Wayne, Maine in April and May 2007. Themes from the interviews were used to inform the postal survey, which was sent to a stratified random sample of 700 planning board members in Maine in August and September 2007. This study examined factors that influence the construction of attitudes, including knowledge and perceptions, feelings, and projected behaviors towards vernal pools and vernal pool conservation efforts. Planning board members were familiar with the term vernal pool and demonstrated positive attitudes to vernal pools in general. However, 40% of the planning board members were unaware of revisions to the Natural Resource Protection Act regulating Significant Vernal Pools in Maine. Planning board member attitudes to vernal pool conservation were strongly correlated with private property right concerns. Recommendations to enhance education and communication efforts to promote vernal pool conservation efforts were made.