Segmenting boaters based on level of transience: outreach and policy implications for the prevention of aquatic invasive species

Abstract

Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) is a priority for many ecologists and natural resource managers. Because some boaters pose greater risk to spreading AIS, targeted outreach to them may be strategic. This study used data from a Wisconsin boater survey and examined whether boaters who differ in transience level, a proxy for risk, differed in terms of compliance with AIS prevention behaviors and other factors that could inform policy and targeted outreach. Segmenting based on transience yielded differences in terms of behavior, knowledge and communication habits. The results indicate that outreach may need to clarify behaviors related to live bait. Partnerships with lake associations and interpersonal communication may help improve compliance and clarify bait disposal behaviors, as it was found that highly transient boaters discuss AIS more with family and friends, and they hear more about AIS from lake associations. Differences in the three groups confirm their distinctness, suggesting that representatives from each category should be included in public management discussions when inclusivity is desired.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Jordan Petchenik and Allison Howell for their support in conducting this study as well as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for their organizational support and for partially funding this study. The authors also wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their many helpful suggestions.

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Correspondence to Laura Witzling.

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Witzling, L., Shaw, B. & Seiler, D. Segmenting boaters based on level of transience: outreach and policy implications for the prevention of aquatic invasive species. Biol Invasions 18, 3635–3646 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-016-1254-7

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Keywords

  • Aquatic invasive species
  • Audience segmentation
  • Environmental communication
  • Natural resource management