Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 267–281 | Cite as

Exurban residential subdivision development: Effects on water quality and public perception

  • Joan Iverson Nassauer
  • J. David Allan
  • Thomas Johengen
  • Sandra E. Kosek
  • Dana Infante
Article

Abstract

We investigated how future alternative designs for exurban residential subdivision development in agricultural landscapes might affect aquatic ecosystems and public perceptions, and we asked whether better aquatic ecological quality would correspond with public perceptions of greater landscape attractiveness. The alternative exurban futures we compared were: ecologically beneficial subdivisions, conventional subdivisions, and conventional agriculture. To judge their aquatic ecology effects we measured the chemistry and biota of six first-order streams within our study area, the Huron and Raisin River watersheds in the Detroit CMSA. We chose two stream catchments that exhibited land cover to represent the same proportions as each of three types of alternative exurban futures. Streams in catchments representing ecologically beneficial subdivision designs had the most total macroinvertebrate taxa, the most sensitive macroinvertebrate taxa, lowest nitrates, lowest total phosphorus, and lowest total suspended materials. Nutrient concentrations were highest in agricultural catchments, and suspended sediments were highest in conventional subdivision catchments. To compare public perceptions of the alternative futures, we surveyed 336 suburban and exurban adult residents of the upper Midwest. All respondents viewed digital imaging simulations of each of the futures and rated their attractiveness as if they were seen from the window of a home in the area. Ecologically beneficial futures were perceived as most attractive. Comparing the alternative futures, rankings of aquatic ecological quality were consistent with public perceptions of attractiveness.

watershed landscape agriculture sprawl web-based survey 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alberti, M. (1999) Urban patterns and environmental performance: What do we know? Journal of Planning Education and Research 19, 151–163.Google Scholar
  2. Arendt, R. (1996) Conservation Design for Subdivisions: A Practical Guide to Creating Open Space Networks. Washington, D. C., Island Press.Google Scholar
  3. Arendt, R. (1999) Growing Greener: Putting Conservation into Local Plans and Ordinances.Washington, D.C., Island Press.Google Scholar
  4. Arnold, C.L.J. and Gibbons, C.J. (1996) Impervious surface coverage: The emergence of a key environmental indicator. Journal of the American Planning Association 62, 243–258.Google Scholar
  5. Barbour, M.T., Gerritsen, J., Snyder, B.D. and Stribling, J.B. (1999) Rapid Bioassessment Protocols for Use in Streams and Wadeable Rivers: Periphyton, Benthic Macroinvertebrates, and Fish. U.S. Environmental Protec-tion Agency, EPA 841-B-99-002, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  6. Booth, D.B. and Jackson, C.R. (1997) Urbanization of aquatic systems: Degradation thresholds, stormwater detection, and the limits of mitigation. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 33 (5), 1077–1090.Google Scholar
  7. Burges, S.J., Wigmosta, M.S. and Meena, J.M. (1998) Hydrological effects of land-use change in a zero-order catchment. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 3(2), 86–97.Google Scholar
  8. Cappiella, K. and Brown, K. (2001). Impervious Cover and Land use in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Center for Watershed Protection, Ellicot City, Maryland.Google Scholar
  9. Crowder, D.W. and Diplas, P. (2002) Assessing changes in watershed flowregimes with spatially explicit hydraulic models. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 38 (2), 397–408.Google Scholar
  10. Forsyth, A. (2002) Planning lessons from three U.S. new towns of the 1960s and 1970s: Irvine, Columbia, and The Woodlands. Journal of the American Planning Association 68 (4), 387–415.Google Scholar
  11. Girling, C. and Kellett, R. (2002). Comparing stormwater impacts and costs on three neighborhood plan types. Landscape Journal 21 (1): 100–109.Google Scholar
  12. Gregory, K.J. and Davis, R.J. (1993). The perception of riverscape aesthetics: An example from two Hampshire rivers. Journal of Environmental Management 39 (3), 171–187.Google Scholar
  13. Gobster, P.H. (1999) An ecological aesthetic for forest landscape management. Landscape Journal 18 (1), 54–64.Google Scholar
  14. Gove, N.E., Edwards, R.T. and Conquest, L.L. (2001) Effects of scale on land use and water quality relationships: a longitudinal basin-wide perspective. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 37(6), 1721–1734.Google Scholar
  15. House, M. and Fordham, Maureen (1997). Public perceptions of river corridors and attitudes towards river weorks. Landscape Research 22 (1), 25–44.Google Scholar
  16. Hulse, D., Eilers, J., Freemark, K., Hummon, C. and White, D. (2000) Planning alternative future landscapes in Oregon: evaluating effects on water quality and biodiversity. Landscape Journal 19(1/2), 1–19.Google Scholar
  17. Hunsaker, C.T. and Levine, D.A. (1995) Hierarchical approaches to the study of water quality in rivers. BioScience 45(3), 193–203.Google Scholar
  18. Jennings, D.B. and Jarnagin, S.T. (2002) Changes in anthropogenic impervious surfaces, precipitation and daily streamflow discharge: A historical perspective in a mid-atlantic watershed. Landscape Ecology 17, 471–489.Google Scholar
  19. Jia, Y., Ni, G., Yoshitani, J., Kawahara, Y. and Kinouchi, T. (2002) Coupling simulation of water and energy budgets and analysis of urban development impact. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 7(4), 302–311.Google Scholar
  20. Kaplan, R., and Kaplan, S. (1989). The Experience of Nature. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Klein, R.D. (1979) Urbanization and stream quality impairment. Water Resources Bulletin 15 (4), 948–963.Google Scholar
  22. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). (1997) Qualitative Biological and Habitat Survey Protocols for Wadable Streams and Rivers.Surface Water Quality Division, Great Lakes and Environmental Assessment Section, Lansing, MichiganGoogle Scholar
  23. Martin, J.F., Reyes, E., Paul Kemp, G., Mashriqui, H. and Day, J.W. Jr. (2002) Landscape modeling of the Mississippi delta. BioScience 52s (4), 357–365.Google Scholar
  24. Miller, S.N., Kepner, W.G., Mehaffey, M.H., Hernandez, M., Miller, R.C., Goodrich, D.C., Devonald, K.K., Heggem, D.T. and Miller, W.P. (2002) Integrating landscape assessment and hydrologic modeling for land cover change analysis. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 38 (4), 915–929.Google Scholar
  25. Moglen, G.E. and Beighley, R.E. (2002) Spatially explicit hydrologic modeling of land use change. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 38 (1), 241–253.Google Scholar
  26. Nassauer, J.I. (1992) The appearance of ecological systems as a matter of policy. Landscape Ecology 6(4), 239–250.Google Scholar
  27. Nassauer, J.I. (1995). Messy ecosystems, orderly frames. Landscape Journal 14 (2), 161–170.Google Scholar
  28. Nassauer, J.I. (1999) Ecological Retrofit. Landscape Journal 17 (2), 15–17.Google Scholar
  29. Nassauer, J.I., Kosek, S.E. and Corry, R.C. (2001) Meeting public expectations with ecological innovation in riparian landscapes. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 37(6), 1–5.Google Scholar
  30. Nassauer, J.I. and Caddock, A. (1997) Local Analyses and Development Scenarios.MNAgricultural Experiment Station #39–077. University of Minnesota. St. Paul, MN.Google Scholar
  31. Nassauer, J.I. and Corry, R.C. (2004). Using normative scenarios in landscape ecology. Landscape Ecology. In Press.Google Scholar
  32. Parsons, R. (1995) Conflict between ecological sustainability and environmental aesthetics: Conundrum, canard or curiosity. Landscape and Urban Planning 32 (1), 227–244.Google Scholar
  33. Schueler, T. (1994) The importance of imperviousness. Watershed Protection Techniques 1(3), 100–111.Google Scholar
  34. Southeast Michigan Coalition of Governments. (2001) 2001 Annual Report.Google Scholar
  35. Steiner, F., McSherry, L., Brennan, D. and Soden, M. (1999) Concepts for alternative suburban planning in the northern Phoenix area. Journal of the American Planning Association 65(2), 207–222.Google Scholar
  36. Steinitz, C. (1990) Toward a sustainable landscape with high visual preference and high ecological integrity: The Loop Road in Acadia National Park, USA. Landscape and Urban Planning 19, 231–250.Google Scholar
  37. Wang, L., Lyons, J., Kanehl, P. and Bannerman, R. (2001) Impacts of urbanization on stream habitat and fish across multiple spatial scales. Environmental Management 28 (2), 255–266.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Iverson Nassauer
    • 1
  • J. David Allan
    • 1
  • Thomas Johengen
    • 1
  • Sandra E. Kosek
    • 1
  • Dana Infante
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Natural Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

Personalised recommendations