Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 145–162 | Cite as

Assessing Perceptions about Ecosystem Health and Restoration Options in Three East Coast Estuaries

  • Joanna Burger


Increasingly public and governmental agencies are concerned aboutrevitalizing coastal environments. Understanding how the publicuses these areas, and what they see as the most important improvements to these regions is critical to their assessment andmanagement. Uses of three estuaries, and perceptions of possiblemanagement and restoration options, were examined for people whowere interviewed in the New York/New Jersey Harbor, Manasquan Inlet, and Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. Nearly 90% of the people interviewed listed pollution as New Jersey's most important environmental problem. Most people (68%) used the habitat for outdoor sports, but rated communing with nature, walking, and the provision of open `green' space as the most valued uses. Pollution prevention was the most often mentioned habitat improvement desired, and people rated removing pollution, cleaning up garbage, and creating more fish breeding habitat the highest. There were significant locational differences inhow people used the estuaries, and in how they thought they should be improved. People from Barnegat Bay ranked most uses higher than did people from elsewhere, while the people from Manasquan Inlet rated the importance of most remediation and restoration actions higher. Many of the improvements fall withinenvironmental management, including (rank order from high to low)creating more fish breeding habitat, improving native vegetation,improving habitat for birds, increasing plant diversity,improving habitat for butterflies, and enlarging adjacentmarshes. The data provide clear support for the importance ofthese coastal habitats for communing with nature and having open`green space' spaces, and for providing recreationalopportunities. To enhance their value, people want to removepollution and improve both the habitat quality and the educational and recreational facilities.

assessment attitudes ecosystem health estuaries monitoring restoration 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Life Sciences, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Center for Urban Restoration EcologyRutgers UniversityPiscatawayU.S.A.

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