College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
N.C. Agricultural Research Service
N.C. Cooperative Extension Service

Social Aspects of Environmental Management

Prepared by: Thomas J. Hoban, William B. Clifford and Ronald C. Wimberley

Published by: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Publication Number:

Last Electronic Revision: January 1997 (MSD)

Long-term Objectives

1. Understand public awareness of and attitudes about environmental management issues.

2. Evaluate and improve farmers' adoption of environmental management practices, including an understanding of the positive and negative influences on adoption.

3. Anticipate and communicate potential impacts of new technologies and public policies.

Short-term Objectives

1. Evaluate knowledge about water quality and support for management efforts related to coastal resources.

2. Identify farmers' current use of best management practices and attitudes about public policies.

3. Predict public acceptance of new food production technologies and develop educational strategies.


1. Conducted three surveys for the Albemarle Pamlico (AIP) Estuarine Project that determined knowledge and attitudes of North Carolina citizens and opinion leaders regarding the A/P system.

2. Conducted a national survey of farm operators to assess their adoption of best management practices, as well as to determine their evaluation of and experience with the Rural Clean Water Program (RCWP).

3. Conducted a statewide survey of livestock and poultry producers to learn about their adoption of waste management practices and their perceptions of state regulations (0200 rules).

4. Conducted two surveys of Gaston County citizens to determine their knowledge and attitudes about environmental issues and assess the effectiveness of local environmental programs.

Significance of Accomplishments

The work we have recently completed related to livestock and poultry waste is having an influence on the efforts underway at NCSU and elsewhere to help producers comply with recently enacted state regulations. The work documented the educational needs for different groups of producers. The results of the RCWP survey were instrumental in evaluating the success of that program. That survey provided significant guidance for future watershed management efforts. Our work has also helped state and local leaders better understand and respond to public attitudes and concerns related to environmental management. Our work with the Albemarle Pamlico Estuarine study documented high levels of support for coastal resource management, including willingness to pay for water quality. Work with the Gaston County Quality of Natural Resources Commission led to local educational and public policy initiatives. Overall, our work complements and builds on the efforts of natural scientists and public officials who are working to ensure effective, efficient, and equitable environmental management programs.

Future Plans

1. Conduct follow-up surveys on livestock and poultry waste management to evaluate impacts of regulations.

2. Conduct follow-up surveys to measure trends in public attitudes and knowledge concerning coastal resources.

3. Develop a survey to identify emerging needs in the state.

Published by: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Publication Number:

Last Electronic Revision: January 1997 (MSD)