Completed Environmental Protection Projects

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A National Survey of Jobs Associated with The Restoration Economy

Todd BenDor and Bill Lester–Co-PIs. Environmental protection has long been seen as a threat to thriving businesses and robust employment numbers. But the assumption that environmental regulations stifle the economy ignores the economic output and emplo …

Understanding and Exploring the Restoration Economy

Todd BenDor–PI. The notion that what is good for the environment is not good for business is widely accepted by the American media. What has been almost entirely missing from the public debate is a detailed accounting of the jobs that would actually be …

The Mortgage Performance of Energy Efficient Homes

Roberto Quercia–PI. “Many have theorized that energyefficient homes should have lower default risks than standard homes because the former are associated with lower energy costs, which leaves more money to make the mortgage payment. However, few empiri …

The National Map in a Global Age: A Study of Science, Territoriality, and Governance in the U.S. and Philippines During the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Scott Kirsch–PI. What is the nature of territoriality in an era characterized by the emergence of new global flows and exchanges that transcend, even as they are structured or regulated by, national boundaries? This question is vital today as it was to …

The Emerging Commodity of Restored Streams: Science, Policy and Economics in New Markets for Ecosystem Service Commodities

Martin Doyle–PI. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this research used the relatively well-established stream mitigation banking industry in North Carolina to examine the interactions and tensions between restoration science, environmental poli …

Regional Land Use Change and Water Quality Modeling: A Landscape Approach

Yan Song and Tracy Hadden–Co-PIs. Due to their polluted watersheds, populated areas nationwide struggle with major threats to public and environmental health. The EPA has identified non-point source pollution, or contaminated storm water runoff from de …

On the Backs of Turtles: The Politics of Conservation in the Galápagos Islands

Altha Cravey and Elizabeth Hennessy–Co-PIs. This research, funded as a National Science Foundation’s Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement grant, explored how relations between science, nature, and society are changing as local leaders seek to inv …

Ecosystem Services as an Alternative Foundation for Development, Urban Planning, and New Water Infrastructure in the U.S.

Todd BenDor–PI. This project will bring traditionally disparate disciplines (engineering, ecology, planning, economics, law, and policy) together to participate in three working groups that will build upon each other over the two years of the grant, mo …

Feedbacks Between Complex Ecological and Social Models: Urban Landscape Structure, Nitrogen Flux, Vegetation Management, and Adoption of Design Scenarios
Larry Ban–PI. The Chesapeake Bay, our Nation’s largest estuary, is threatened by nitrogen (N) pollution from upstream sources. Nitrogen loading into the Chesapeake Bay is of concern because of affects on important aquatic resources such as crabs and oysters and affects on the tourism industry. Regional policy has mandated a 40% reduction in N loading into the Bay by the year 20nn. Progress has been made in mitigating pollution from point sources, and attention is now turning towards non point sources of N inputs. The current focus is on understanding the influence of land use in the upstream watershed, including the urbanizing area, on N inputs to the Bay. The proposed research is designed to assess the N retention capacity of land cover types present in the watershed, and to predictively model the N input to the Bay from contrasting catchments within the watershed. Vegetation management may provide a key strategy for changing N inputs, and we will work with managers to develop vegetation management options that can be hypothesized to maximize N retention. Realization of these options through the use of urban design scenarios will allow assessment of the physical, social, and economic constraints on the adoptability of the designs by different communities. The adoptable designs will result in altering the structure of the landscape, and these new structures will be used to inform the ecohydrologic model to predict the N retention capacity of the designed vegetation management options. This approach incorporates feedbacks among ecological and social models of differential N retention capacities of land covers, vegetation management options, the likelihood of different options being adopted, and the consequences of that adoption for future N retention capacities. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation in collaboration with the Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Appalachia/Southeastern Regional Water Quality Assistance Network
Jeffrey Hughes–PI. The Environmental Finance Center for Region 4 (EFC), the Southeast Watershed Forum (SEWF), the Southeast Stormwater Association (SESWA), the Stormwater Engineering Group and Stream Restoration Institute (NCSU), along with Auburn University (Alabama) propose to work with other local and state organizations to build a Regional Water Quality Assistance Network to help local watershed organizations and communities protect, maintain, and restore water quality in a ten-state region. The principal coordinating partners are nationally recognized in their fields and have years of experience in providing assistance to organizations and communities. The team offers a unique blend of expertise in innovative financing, training, facilitation, outreach/education, and applied research. Local and state partners will include academic institutions, county and municipal governments, regional planning and development councils, the Appalachian Regional Commission, Sea Grant, NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials), Growth Readiness trainers, and other best-practice resources. National partners, such as the Smart Growth Leadership Institute will provide specialized assistance on an as-needed basis. The primary functions of this Network will include: 1) providing watershed organizations with practical tools, (such as model ordinances and public process facilitation) and 2) equipping these groups with sustainable finance mechanisms to support watershed protection efforts.

Exploring the Determinants of Household Environmental Behavior: A Socio-Spatial Analysis of Lawn Care Practices
Larry Band–PI. This NSF-funded study will examine the patterns and processes of household environmental behaviors in Baltimore, Maryland with a particular focus on household lawn care behavioral choices. Baltimore is one of a set of coastal communities attempting to reduce the export of nutrients—fertilizers and pesticides–into the Chesapeake Bay, which is threatened with eutrophication. An important portion of these exports is from non-point sources, from residual agricultural land use and septic systems in the outlying county, to residential lawn management. In order to understand the scope of the problem and to be able to target educational or regulatory instruments to reduce these sources, it is first necessary to understand the spatial distribution and the socioeconomic and environmental factors that influence this activity such as informal neighboring or neighborhood-based organization actions. This research will involve the development of specific research hypotheses, along with required data collection and analysis designs. Sampling will involve a mix of in-person household and organizational surveys, telephone interviews, soil sampling, high-resolution image analysis of residential patterns, and the analysis of census and commercial demographic and consumption information. These data will be assembled into a GIS database, which will be used to determine to what extent household versus neighborhood characteristics predict household environmental behavior. Interview and survey responses will complement this analysis by exploring the mechanisms through which these predictors operate.

Grounding the State: An Institutional Ethnography of Agrarian Reform in Brazil
Wendy Wolford – PI. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this research investigates the construction of governance in post-authoritarian Brazil through an institutional ethnography of one of the most important government agencies in the country, the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA). Over the past ten years, INCRA has become increasingly visible as new social actors have mobilized landless farmers and rural workers to demand access to land. Between 1995 and 2001, the Brazilian government expropriated over 18 million hectares of land and settled approximately two million people. In overseeing the juridical, technical and administrative aspects of agrarian reform, INCRA employees are working with the poorest, most marginalized population in Brazil: the rural poor. As such, INCRA employees occupy an unusual position, working with both the needs of social movements and the state to re-distribute land and foster sustainable development on the new land reform settlements. In this study, the complicated process of governance is understood to be a dynamic relationship between institutional structure, everyday practice, and ideology. The four main questions of the research are: 1) Who decides to work for INCRA and why, and how does their work influence their political beliefs? 2) How effective is INCRA in promoting viable land reform settlements? 3) What is INCRA’s relationship with the different political mediators involved in agrarian reform (specifically, the Movement of Rural Landless Workers, the rural trade unions and the Catholic Church); how are these relationships produced and to what effect? 4) How does INCRA’s mode of governance shape political practice among the land reform settlers and their political mediators? To answer these questions, a combination of methods were used at multiple scales–national, state, community, and household–including: observation, semi-structured interviews, resource-allocation and community mapping, and media analysis. The research was carried out in Brasília, the capital of Brazil, and in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. Pernambuco provided an excellent case study for the research because it is one of the poorest regions of Brazil and has recently become a center of agrarian reform activity.

Air Quality Improvement Through Land Use and Transportation Strategies: Development of a New Policy Analysis Tool for Urban Sustainibility
Daniel Rodriguez, Yan Song and Brian Morton–Co-PIs. This project, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, examines regional development patterns and both market and non-market instruments to determine if these significantly influence localized emissions and regional air quality. Specifically, do various development patterns result in substantially lower emissions and improve air quality while allocating the emissions to different parts of a metro area? The study took place in the Charlotte, NC Metroplitan Area. This area was chosen based on several considerations: existing air quality problems and variations in physical, climatic, development, social, and economic factors as well as data availability. To carry out the study we implement a state-of-the-art cross-sectional land-market equilibrium model to forecast future land uses in the Charlotte area for the year 2055. Our forecasts include the extrapolation of a baseline, and several scenarios resulting from the joint the application of market and non-market approaches to influence land development (e.g. subsidies, taxes, density floors, density caps, zoning). Associated with each land use projection are attributes of development patterns (e.g., density, various types of land consumed, land mixtures) and transportation infrastructure outcomes (e.g., the mix of transportation infrastructure such as roadways, transit service, and pedestrian/bicycle facilities, connectivity and accessibility). Given future land use and infrastructure scenarios, we use state-of-the-art transportation modeling to predict and compare the impact of each development scenario on travel behavior. This involves bringing together recent contributions in understanding how the built environment is related to travel behavior. The result is the determination of the number of travelers, their desired destination (and miles traveled), their preferred mode of travel, their route and the travel speeds for each scenario. This information, in turn, will be used in a state-of-the art meso-scale mobile-source emissions model that will allocate emissions of key air pollutants (VOC and NOx) at a disaggregate, link-based level. Several technology scenarios related to vehicle emissions technology and fleet mix, provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), were tested at this stage of the analysis. Finally, the impact of these mobile-source emissions on air quality were examined spatially at the regional level using a fine grid scale of 4 km. by 4 km. Ultimately, we determined if there are substantial differences in emission and air quality, under conventional and smart growth scenarios, while controlling for technology. Having demonstrated the functionality of the modeling system, the research team intends to design and assess land-use transportation strategies to be considered for inclusion in the Charlotte area’s long-range transportation plan and the new air quality plan that will be developed over the next three years to reduce ozone concentrations. This year, the EPA will issue a more stringent ozone standard. Air quality planning in the Charlotte area will begin anew. With a focus on land use and transportation, this promising tool will facilitate the search for innovative air quality management strategies needed to bring the area into compliance with the new standards and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The National Map in a Global Age: A Study of Science, Territoriality, and Governance in the U.S. and Philippines during the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries
Scott Kirsch–PI . What is the nature of territoriality in an era characterized by the emergence of new global flows and exchanges that transcend, even as they are structured or regulated by, national boundaries? This question is vital today, and was equally vital to problems of governance one hundred years ago when, in the wake of the 1898 Spanish-American War, the U.S. expanded its jurisdictions into the Caribbean and Pacific amidst resistance both at home and abroad. During this period, while extending commercial and military activities and building influence beyond its borders, the US at the same time depended on flows of people, goods, and ideas from the outside for economic growth and prosperity within, making the construction of new modes of territoriality, i.e., the inclusionary and exclusionary practices meant to influence the nature and content of an area, a practical necessity. This research, funded by the National Science Foundation, examines in particular the role of science and scientific modes of representation–including cartography–in the practical and discursive construction of interior, insular, and exterior territories and modes of territoriality. It focuses on the work of U.S. federal and colonial scientists and scientific bureaus during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the U.S. and Philippines, where science and education had crucial roles to play in US colonial governance and tutelage, and explores the intersection of that work with processes of state formation; the creation of national and global markets at a formative stage in US global expansion; and public debates over science, US imperialism, and “insular governance.” The research improves our understanding of the changing dimensions of U.S. territoriality over relatively long historical periods, focusing on the interrelations of science and institutions of governance in effecting these transformations.

Bombs Away—New Geographies of Military-to-Wildlife Conversions in the United States
Scott Kirch and David Havlick–Co-PIs. This study focuses on the conversion of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) lands to new classifications as national wildlife refuges. Since 1988, the DOD has reclassified twenty-one bases on more than 1.1 million acres to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for management as national wildlife refuges. Closures scheduled for 2005 may target as many as 25 percent of the remaining DOD bases, or one hundred more large sites. The purpose of the research is to examine military-to-wildlife conversions with two key questions in mind: How have these particular landscapes been produced, and how do they then function as public lands? I will approach the first of these by asking how these sites have been cast politically, scientifically, and narratively to effect their conversion to national wildlife refuges. Second, I will consider how these reconfigured spaces work as new national wildlife refuges, as former military lands, and as examples of ecological militarization, or the view that military production and environmental protection are compatible. This study will contribute to our understanding of the interrelations of nature, society, and technology implicated in these conversions, and to clarify how these lands are produced by each of these in concert.

Enabling the Next Generation of Hazard Researchers: An Education and Training Proposal
Raymond Burby-PI. This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, will foster through education and training the emergence of a new generational cohort of social science researchers who will investigate societal aspects of hazards, disasters, and other extreme events. The initiation and eventual institutionalization of fields of inquiry is heavily dependent upon generational cohorts of scholars who not only produce new knowledge but also produce new generations of scholars who will continue to develop the field. The proposed project responds to a serious issue in the field: the lack of an adequate cohort of junior faculty to sustain scholarship about societal aspects of extreme events into future generations. The education and training initiative we propose addresses this issue by developing a comprehensive, creative program of mentoring for recently appointed junior faculty at research universities. The objectives of the proposed mentoring program are to: (1) identify and recruit another cohort of well-trained social scientists for undertaking relevant research about societal aspects of extreme events; (2) engage this cohort of researchers in discussions about social science scholarship as it relates to research about extreme events; (3) enable this cohort of researchers to undertake sustained research on these topics by providing tutorials on proposal development; and (4) foster an expanded network of social scientists undertaking research on extreme events.

The Neuse River Basin Agricultural Nitrogen Reduction Strategy: A Cost-effectiveness and Programmatic Analysis
David Moreau -PI. In 1997, the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission adopted the Neuse River Basin Nutrient Sensitive Waters Management Strategy, which, by 2003, was intended to reduce nitrogen inputs to the Neuse River Estuary by 30 percent. The Neuse program includes an “Agricultural Nitrogen Reduction Strategy” that specifically targets farms in the Basin, offering farmers two options: 1) follow a traditional regulatory approach that requires the installation of specific combinations of best management practices, or 2) participate in a local effort with other farmers to achieve the 30 percent nitrogen reduction collectively. This second collective option is carried out by 17 Local Advisory Committees that include farmer representatives and officials from agricultural agencies. The collective option was included because it was believed that it would result in more cost-efficient, targeted, and innovative control efforts than the standard regulatory approach. By 2003, the agricultural strategy had exceeded its nitrogen load reduction goals. However, it is not known whether the collective strategy achieved the goals of being more cost-effective, targeted, and innovative. By analyzing the contents of the 17 Local Advisory Committee plans and comparing them to a hypothetical control case where all farms follow the standard regulatory option, this proposed research effort will answer these important questions. This research project, funded by the North Carolina State University Water Resource Research Institute, will also investigate how pollution control costs were distributed among farmers under the program, the extent to which economic incentives have been used in the program, and whether there are any systematic differences between the farms that selected to follow each option. The information generated by this research project will be useful to those directly involved in the Neuse Program and those working to develop similar programs in other parts of the state and nation. It will also contribute important real-world data to the theoretical debate about how collective pollution control arrangements function.

Water Quality and Quantity Impacts of Urban Form: A Comparative Analysis Compact and Low-Density Development
PI-Philip Berke, Funded by Water Resources Research Institute.The significance of this research is threefold: 1. To provide guidance to state and local planners and public officials on how land use planning and urban design can be used to maintain or restore watershed storage capacity for stormwater runoff. Protection of key open spaces in watersheds is needed for water storage, filtration, and groundwater recharge. Otherwise, downstream flood zones will expand as dramatically demonstrated in places like Tarboro and Princeville during the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd; 2. To provide guidance to state and local planners and public officials on how land use planning and urban design can be used as part of a comprehensive approach to reduce non-point pollution from stormwater runoff. Sole reliance on current BMP technologies will not achieve the 30% reduction goal for Nitrogen that is required by the Neuse River Watershed Management Plan and encouraged by other watershed management plans for major river basins in North Carolina; and 3. To identify how land use planning techniques (e.g., regulations, incentives, infrastructure investment programs, and land acquisition schemes), can be used to implement compact development designs in ways that mitigate stormwater runoff impacts. Objectives This proposed study consists of four objectives: 1. To critically examine the extent to which hydrologic and land use mitigation measures are integrated into the design of two prominent forms of compact developments – new urbanism and cluster development – based on a survey of development projects in four states (Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia). 2. To design prototype compact and low-density development scenarios for two demonstration sub-basins threatened by urbanization in the Piedmont region of North Carolina; 3. To compare the water quality and quantity impacts of compact development scenarios with conventional low-density development scenarios that would occur at build-out in two demonstration sub-basins. 4. To improve the awareness of water resource problems and solutions associated with alternative urban forms through the dissemination of findings.

Building Disaster Resilient Communities Course
PI-Raymond Burby, Funded by the University of New Orleans. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill would be assisting the University of New Orleans in a cooperative agreement with the National Emergency Management Training Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency to prepare the “Building Disaster Resilient Communities Course” for FEMA’s Higher Education Project.

Comprehensive Land Use Plans and Water Quality in North Carolina
PI-Edward Kaiser & David Moreau, Funded by the NC Dept of Commerce. This proposed project is a collaborative effort of the Division of Community Assistance and a research team from the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Center for Urban and Regional Studies of UNC-CH to improve comprehensive land use planning by NC local governments to reduce surface water pollution, one of the specific purposes of the state’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund adopted in 1996. The scope of work for the proposed project incorporates three major components: (1) Assess the status of local government comprehensive land use plans in North Carolina, particularly with respect to their attention to water quality issues, by conducting an inventory and assessment of land use plans by the 100 counties and ail estimated 376 municipalities in North Carolina, with particular attention to how they address water quality issues; (2) Formulate guidelines for making feasible and effective county and municipality land use plans; (3) Create and conduct seven regional workshops for local officials. The project should start no later than April 1, 1998, to take advantage of the research team’s availability to conduct the survey, case studies, and plan assessment during the period from mid-May through mid-August, and allow adequate preparation for that work. The project will be completed, except for conducting the workshops, by December 3 1, 1998. The workshops are scheduled for January and February, 1999.

A Proposal to Formulate Alternative Mitigation Strategies Following Hurricane Fran
PI-David Brower, Funded by the NC Dept of Crime, Control and Public Safety. The damages caused in eastern North Carolina by Hurricane Fran consist of several different types, for example barrier islands, riverine flood plains, infrastructure (primarily water and waste water facilities, schools and transportation), -etc. Each of these types of damage will require a different mitigation strategy. The purpose of this project is to assemble a research team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a multi- disciplinary group of experts who will identify and describe the types of damages caused by Hurricane Fran and then develop a series of mitigation strategies that could be used for each.

A Proposal to Prepare Teaching Materials for a College Course Entitled “Principles and Practice of Mitigating the Impacts of Natural Hazards”
PI-David Brower, Funded by the NC Dept of Crime, Control and Public Safety. The purpose of this work is to develop a 42 to 48 contact hour college classroom course on mitigating the impact of natural hazards. The final product will be a complete and ready-to use course which could be taught at four year accredited colleges and universities at the junior or senior level. The course will be developed so that it could be taught within an emergency management major, certificate or other degree program to students who may someday enter an emergency management related profession. The course will contain more lecture material than can be used in a standard 39 contact hour course in order to provide flexibility to the user.

Coastal Hazards: Model Mitigation Project Proposal
PI-David Godschalk, Funded by the Dept. of the Environment, DEHNR. This project proposes to develop a model state coastal hazards mitigation program in North Carolina, based on three major initiatives, all of which were proposed by the 1997 Recommendations for Action report of the North Carolina Disaster Recovery Task Force: 1) Hazards Notification, to assess legislation which requires full disclosure and hazard notification to persons acquiring property on barrier islands, including full, accurate, and easily obtained information on the nature of hazards and related property restrictions prior to purchase. 2) Restriction of Public Subsidies, to assess legislation restricting future state subsidies and support of development in designated high hazard areas on barrier islands, including development of criteria for determining and designating high hazard areas within which restrictions would apply to state funded subsidies. 3) Hazards Area Acquisition, to assess the establishment of a state hazard area acquisition program, designed to acquire properties so that the owner of damaged or destroyed property has the option of selling and relocating versus rebuilding in the hazard area.