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1 ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC AND STAKEHOLDER PERCEPTIONS OF GROWTH MANAGEMENT A ND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN NORTHEASTERN FLORIDA By MAX JOSEPH MILLSTEIN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PA RTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Max Joseph Millstein
3 To my Mom, Dad, and C h esca
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First, Id like to express thanks to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. Specifically, I thank my parents the most for always being there to sustain and encourage me; for keeping me in check when I needed it; and for putting a good head on my shoulders to take on li fes challenges. In addition, at the top of my list, Francesca Bardi has been my rock throughout this whole process. She is the light of my life and I literally could not have done it without her support. I cannot express here the amount of love that I have for all of them. Next, Id like to express my gratitude to Dr. Laila Racevskis, my thesis committee chair, and Dr. Jeffrey Burkhardt, my thesis committee member and graduate program coordinator. Dr. Racevskis and I met on countless occasions to discuss m y progress, which seemed to inch along some times, and race by on others. Dr. Racevskis continuously had a supply of good ideas to mold the project into what it has become today. Id like to thank her for her perseverance; for always finding time in her sc hedule for me; and for keeping me focused on this research. Last but not least, Dr. Burkhardt Hes been there for me since I entered the program, and has always helped me with whatever means were available. He made the shift from undergraduate to graduate student as easy as possible, and I wouldnt have completed (or probably even started) the program without him.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................................ 7 LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................................................................. 8 ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCT ION AND RESEARCH OBJECTIVES ............................................................ 10 2 BACKGROUND ON STUDY AREA THE TCAA .............................................................. 18 Environmental Iss ues in the TCAA ........................................................................................... 19 Economy of the TCAA ............................................................................................................... 20 Land Use in the TCAA ............................................................................................................... 21 Agricultural BMPs & Water Quality Issues .............................................................................. 23 3 METHODS .................................................................................................................................. 30 Implementation of a Delphi ........................................................................................................ 34 Survey Design ...................................................................................................................... 35 Participant Selection ............................................................................................................ 37 Survey Implementation ....................................................................................................... 39 Analysis of Survey and First Ro und Delphi Responses .................................................... 40 Real time Delphi Workshops .............................................................................................. 42 4 ANALYSIS AND RESULTS .................................................................................................... 47 Response Rates and Question Types ......................................................................................... 47 Growth Management P rocesses and Goals ............................................................................... 49 Roles of Local Government and Coordination Between Governments .................................. 50 Regional Planning and Visioning Processes ............................................................................. 52 Information for Planning Decisions ........................................................................................... 53 Input in the Growth Management Process and Conflicts ......................................................... 59 Understanding the Effects of Development and Incentives for New Growth Strategies ....... 62 Agricultural Best Management Practices .................................................................................. 63 Causes Of Environmental Quality Degradation In The TCAA And St. Johns River ............. 63 Follow -Up Survey ....................................................................................................................... 67
6 5 CONCLUSIONS ......................................................................................................................... 78 Hypotheses Revisited .................................................................................................................. 78 Success of Workshops ............................................................................................................. 80 Insights into Future Delphi & Consensus Building Techniques .............................................. 83 Future Impacts ............................................................................................................................. 85 APPENDIX A SITUATION ASSESSMENT .................................................................................................... 87 B KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE SURVEY .......................................................................... 90 C REAL TIME DELPHI WORKSHOP AGENDAS .................................................................. 99 Academic Faculty Group Workshop Agenda ............................................................................ 99 Area Stakeholder Group Workshop Agenda ........................................................................... 100 D COMPLETE SURVEY RESULTS ......................................................................................... 101 E FIRST ROUND DELPHI QUESTION R AW RESPONSES ................................................ 104 Information Needs ..................................................................................................................... 104 Academic Group ................................................................................................................ 104 Stakeholder Group ............................................................................................................. 105 Causes of Water Quality Impairment ....................................................................................... 106 Academic Group ................................................................................................................ 106 Stakeholder Group ............................................................................................................. 107 F FOLLOW -UP SURVEY .......................................................................................................... 108 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................................. 110 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................................................................................... 113
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 1 Geography facts ...................................................................................................................... 17 2 1 Per capita income and percent below poverty by county .................................................... 29 4 1 Information -needs first round Delphi question categorized responses ........................... 75 4 2 Information -needs re -categorized responses from Delphi workshops ............................ 75 4 3 Stakeholder influence first round Delphi question categorized responses ...................... 76 4 4 E nvironmental quality first round Delphi question categorized responses ..................... 76 4 5 St. Johns River water quality impairment first round Delphi question categorized responses ................................................................................................................................. 77 4 6 St. Johns River water quality impairment re -categorized, ranked responses from Delphi workshops ................................................................................................................... 77
8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 Map of t he Tri -county Agricultural Area ............................................................................. 16 2 1 Population by county 19202030 .......................................................................................... 26 2 2 Population growth rate by county 19302006 ...................................................................... 26 2 3 Housing starts for both single and multi -family dwelling 19862015 ................................ 27 2 4 Output impacts of agricultural and natural resouce industries ............................................ 27 2 5 Output impacts of agricultural and natural resource industries ........................................... 28 2 6 Total farm outputs and incomes in 2002 .............................................................................. 28 4 1 Question 2.1 survey responses. ............................................................................................. 71 4 2 Question 2.8 survey responses. ............................................................................................. 71 4 3 Question 13.5 survey responses. ........................................................................................... 72 4 4 Ques tion 17.7 survey responses. ........................................................................................... 72 4 5 Question 13.2 survey responses. ........................................................................................... 73 4 6 Question 17.6 survey responses. ........................................................................................... 73 4 7 Question 13.4 survey responses. ........................................................................................... 74 4 8 Question 17.3 survey responses. ........................................................................................... 74
9 Abstract of Thesis P resented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC AND STAKEHOLDER PERCEPTIONS OF GROWTH MANAGEMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN NORTHEASTERN FL ORIDA By Max Joseph Millstein August 2009 Chair: Laila Racevskis Major: Food and Resource Economics Northeast Floridas Tri -County Agricultural Area (TCAA), which is located in Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns Counties, is currently facing numerous growth management and environmental quality issues that have serious implications for the future of natural resource conservation, agricultural land preservation, water quality, infrastructure and many others related to sustai nability and quality of life in the region. Information on the perceptions, attitudes and knowledge of local area stakeholders with respect to these issues, along with an understanding of how different stakeholder groups prioritize the major issues will he lp them to better address constituents concerns and plan longterm solutions. The objectives of this research project were to 1) assess stakeholder knowledge and perceptions of the major growth management and environmental quality issues in the TCAA, and 2) identify differences and/or similarities in the prioritization of these issues between different stakeholder groups. This research employed a tailored application of the Delphi Method that helped stakeholder groups reach a representative consensus of t he local issues and concerns related to information needs for planning decisions and top sources of St. Johns River water quality degradation within the TCAA.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND RES EARCH OBJECTIVES The Tri County Agricultural Area (TCAA) is a regio n in Northeast Florida encompassing parts of Putnam County, St. Johns County and Flagler County (see Figure 1 1) The region has distinct economic and demographic features : t raditionally the TCAA has been a rural region with a relatively high proportion o f land used for agricultural productivity. As Table 1 1 shows, over 20% of the land area in Flagler and Putnam counties are under agricultural or natural resource production. The population densities of these counties are also significantly under the state average. Putnam and Flagler Counties only claimed close to a third of the statewide population density in 2000. The TCAA has other characteristics typical of rural areas in the US, such as relation to nature, and history (Galston and Baehler, 1995). The roots of agricultural production in the TCAA began with Thomas Hastings, a designer for Henry Flagler (Gannon, 2003). Flagler made such an impression in the area that Flagler County bears his name, while Hastings is also the namesake of the town where the IFAS extension facility is located There is a strong agricultural tradition among some farmers, such as Frank Johns of Tater Farms, whose family has grown potatoes in the area for more than four generations. These area farmers, according to Johns, have fo rmed a strong bond with nature: they see themselves as stewards of the environment. This role is so important to farmers such as Frank Johns, that many choose to stay in agricultural sector despite economic hardship. Two of the most debated issues in the r egion have to do with water quality and quantity Recently, there has been an inability of area stakeholders to communicate effectively and agree with one another on the best resolution to certain water quality issues. On September 4, 2003, the Lower St. J ohns River was declared an impaired body of water under Rule 62 303, Florida
11 Administrative Code (F.A.C.) (Identification of Impaired Surface Waters Rule, or IWR). This meant that it could not meet the water quality standards for its designated use. In Jul y 2002, in anticipation of the establishment of Total Maximum Daily Load ( TMDL ) standards, which are required to be implemented for any impaired body of water, the Northeast District of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in conjuncti on with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) attempted to receive broad -based community input by creating a TMDL Executive Committee. The TMDL Executive Committee consists of fourteen members, representing thirteen different stakeholder groups. Their mission is to recommend a reasonable and equitable allocation of pollutant load reductions for achieving TMDLs in the lower basin, (FDEP, 2008) The committee members failed to agree with each other on exactly how much to reduce the n utrient loads. The representative for St. Johns Riverkeeper, an environmental advocacy group, ceased to participate in the meetings so that they would not be associated with the resulting TMDL requirements, and they threatened litigation if the allegedly i nsufficient standards were adopted. In December 2003, based on the recommendations of the remaining committee members, a nutrient TMDL was adopted by the state and then formally submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval on Ma rch 14, 2004 (FDEP, 2008) The EPA approved the TMDL by the following month, but later that year, in October 2004, St. Johns Riverkeeper filed a formal complaint in court which stated that the nutrient TMDL would not ensure that the River meets the wa ter quality standard for dissolved oxygen (EPA, 2009) By October 2005, the EPA voluntarily withdrew its approval of the LSJR TMDL. Shortly thereafter, the EPA, which was now responsible for establishing an acceptable TMDL, issued a new standard to meet dissolved oxygen criteria in January 2006. This example shows how different stakeholder groups can disagree severely about specific issues, despite the fact that
12 they were all included in the decision process from the very beginning, and resolvi ng the issue would benefit all parties involved. Another example of stakeholder disagreement on an issue relating to the St. Johns River (SJR) is the controversy over the SJRWMDs decision to allow withdrawals from the Upper St. Johns River and Ocklawaha R iver, as a source of drinking water for Central Florida which is largely located outside of the SJR basin. In effect, under the new permits the District would be exporting its water resources. The issue began on September 10, 2004, when Seminole County filed the first consumptive use permit application for surface water withdrawals from the Oklawaha River, a tributary that feeds the St. Johns River requesting 7.25 million gallons per day ( MGD ) The permit application encountered an immediate opposition from environmental advocacy groups such as St. Johns Riverkeeper and through local newspaper editorials As the issue continued to heat up, i n July 2007, representatives for sev eral Central Florida utilities met with local and county government official s and together, they identified 46 new projects involving surface water withdrawals as viable options to meet future water demands, potentially requesting to consum e up to the entire 155 MGD that the SJRWMD said could be safely withdrawn (St. Johns River keeper, 2007) Later that year, the District reduced the amount of withdrawals requested by Seminole County to 5.5mgd and the SJRWMDs Governing Board was set to vote on the permit March 11, 2008. In January 2008, representatives from the SJRWMD and Orang e County officials tried to gain local support through an opento the public consensus -building exercise with selected stakeholders and informational event, entitled the Northeast Florida Regional Water Supply Summit: The Future of the St. Johns River. However, the Summit was not completely successful, as l ocal governments filed grievances with the SJRWMD and litigations ensue d once again (Northeast Florida Regional Council, 2008). T he
13 permit was p etitioned in administrative court and went to administr ative hearing in October 2008. On January 12, 2009 an Administrative Law Judge recommended that the permit application should be approved as it stood (St. Johns River Water Management District, January 2009) Recently, the Districts Governing Board approv ed the permit on April 13, 2009 at a public meeting in Palatka, FL (St. Johns River Water Management District, April 2009) In order t o further illustrate the complexity of the issues in the region and clarify what channels each stakeholder group has to in teract with each other, a situation assessment table was created. A situation assessment can be a useful too l when trying to identify the relationships that exist among stakeholders, their positions on issues, as well as their influences and incentives Th e situation assessment helps define key players, examine their intentions and their power to affect decisions ( see Appendix A for full situation assessment) The overall objective of this research project is to assess academics and stakeholders knowled ge and perceptions of the major growth management and environmental quality issues in the TCAA. Specifically, the research objectives were to: 1) assess academics and stakeholders knowledge and perceptions of the major growth management issues, informati on needs for planning decisions, sources of conflict between stakeholder groups, and causes of environmental and water quality impairment in the TCAA; 2) identify differences and/or similarities between different stakeholder groups and university faculty i n their identification of information needs for planning decisions, and in their prioritization of the main causes of water quality degradation in the TCAA; 3) better understand group consensus -building processes in order to capture higher quality response s through future studies that may choose to use similar investigative methods. The objectives were achieved by implementing a varia tion of Delphi methodology that used a combined approach of an Internet survey and interactive discussion workshops.
14 The firs t method that was employed to achieve the research objectives was a preliminary knowledge and attitudes web survey, which also incorporated the first round of a conventional Delphi method survey via open-ended questions. The Delphi method is a consensus bu ilding technique that utilizes opinions from selected expert individuals that have some advanced knowledge of the topic in question, as opposed to a traditional random -sample survey of laypersons. Delphi techniques involve multiple iterations of question ing with feedback reported in between rounds. Specifics of Delphi methodology will be discussed more in-depth in Chapter 3. The second method was comprised of two independent real -time Delphi workshops. One workshop was conducted with a group of universit y faculty experts who are familiar with the region. The second workshop was conducted with a selected group of area stakeholders: county government employees, non governmental organization representatives, county extension agents and directors, a water management district employee, and a regional planning council member. During each workshop, participants were asked to revise the information needs categories and rank the causes of water quality impairment categories that were derived from the first round De lphi question results collected in the web survey. After each round of revisions and rankings, workshop participants voted on their satisfaction with the information needs categories, and ranked their top three causes of water quality impairment. This proc ess was repeated until all participants were unanimously satisfied with the information needs categories, and for two subsequent rounds of ranking the causes of impairment. Prior to the web survey and Delphi workshop interactions, expert peers reviewed all questions for content and wording. During the workshops, consensus was measured by following a modified Delphi methodology, which will be described in greater detail in the following sections.
15 Using the methods described, the following hypotheses were tes ted: 1) Differences in opinion exist among different groups of experts about the primary source of, and therefore response to, degradation of water quality in the St. Johns River in the TCAA. 2) Differences in opinion exist among different groups of expert s about the primary information needs for planning decisions, and therefore response to, growth management in the TCAA. 3) The results of separate Delphi method consensus building process es will exhibit some differences between the groups of academic exper ts and stakeholder experts participating in each interaction. The results of the study will also provide information on expert perceptions and attitudes toward local and state growth management policies, resource conservation strategies, as well as the con sensus -building process in general. The results of the project will help identify shortcomings in informationavailability for planning decisions and water -quality issues, as well as suggest possible improvements in consensus building strategies.
16 Figur e 1 1 Map of t he Tri -county Agricultural Are a. [Reprinted with permission from St. Johns River Water Management District. 200 8 Water Quality Protection Program Fact Sheet, Palatka, Florida.]
17 Table 1 1 Geography f acts Compiled from the U S Census Bureau & USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service St. Johns County Putnam County Flagler County Florida Land area, 2000 (sq. mi.) 609.01 721.89 485 53,926.82 Land area, 2000 (acres) 389,766.4 462,009.6 310,400 34,513,164.80 Persons per sq. mi., 2000 202.2 97.5 102.7 296.4 Land in f arms, 2002 (acres) 37,653 92,619 68,364 10,414,877 Proportion of land area in farms, 2002 9.66% 20.0% 22.0% 30.1%
18 CHAPTER 2 BACKGROUND ON STUDY AREA THE TCAA The TCAA has traditionally been a rural region with a major portion of its economy based in agriculture. The region has experienced rapid growth in recent years, and this growth is expected to continue. There are multiple stakeholders with competing interests, who will influence the future of the TCAA. Moreo ver, environmental problems with the land that is still being used for agriculture are increasing. All of these factors will play into what becomes of the TCAA and the direction that its leaders will choose to take. The TCAA is one of Floridas most econom ically valuable regions under intensive agricultural and natural resource production. It is home to some 37,000 acres of irrigated cropland, chiefly potato, cabbage, and sod farms. In fact, the area in the TCAA immediately surrounding Hastings accounts for 65% of statewide potato production (Elledge, 2006), and is known as the Potato Capital of Florida. Two major factors contributing to the success of agriculture in the region are fertile farmland and climate. Spodosol soil types & warm climate allow mult iple growing cycles per year for a variety o f crops. In addition to food crops and ground cover, a major portion of the 190,000 plus acres under production are being used for forestry, over 96,000 acres. The Georgia Pacific paper company has several operat ions in the region, including a large pulp and paper mill in Palatka that processes locally sourced wood. The forestry sector is so large that it is also responsible for a majority of the economic impact in the region, $622 million per year (Rahmani et al. 2005). Residential development in the TCAA has also been growing rapidly. Historical and projected housing starts show a clear picture of rapid growth in the last two decades for Flagler and St. Johns Counties, marked by two housing booms, one in the la te eighties and another at the turn of the century. As shown by figure 2 3 below, the level of housing starts in Flagler and St.
19 Johns Counties experienced a considerable increase in the decade between 1993 and 2002. Housing starts in these counties were r ecovering from a low point in 1989 for St. Johns and in 1991 for Flagler. The previous peak occurred in 1987 for St. Johns and in 1988 for Flagler. Putnam County did not experience such high growth rates during this period, or such a peak and sharp decline in the late eighties. St. Johns Countys housing start boom peaked in 1999 and Flagler Countys peaked in 2002. The growth in Flagler County seems to mimic the growth in St. Johns County, except delayed by several years. High development rates have slowed down in more recent years for Flagler County, but they still remain and are projected to remain high throughout 2015 in St. Johns County. In contrast, new construction rates in Putnam County remain low and steady, never breaking the 500 housing starts per year mark seen in the other two counties forming the TCAA region One of the most severe consequences of these development pressures is the steady decrease in the amount of farmland in the TCAA. A study published in 2005 shows that f ifteen percent of all farmland was converted to non agricultural land between 19972002 (Rahmani et al., 2005). This same study predicted the trend will continue in the near future. The implication of higher development rates is an increasing competition for land, higher land prices, and competing stakeholder interests. Environmental Issues in the TCAA The main environmental issues facing the TCAA are water pollution from runoff, diminishing undeveloped land available for conservation, and urban rural interface conflicts from population pressures and tourism (St. Johns Vision, 2006). These main issues are being compounded by the changing natural landscape, which provides environmentally, biologically, aesthetically and economically important natural resource services, such as aquifer recharge wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration. If the natural environment suffers damage then it will be less capable of providing these services. The water pollution from runoff is being attributed,
20 in part, to agriculture ( Florida Departmen t of Agriculture and Consumer Services & St. Johns River Water Management District 2002). Regulation is now in place that requires farmers to clean up their production activities and face the choice of adopt ing new techniques in order to reduce runoff or install ing costly on-site monitoring equipment In addition, diminishing undeveloped land is a result of a greater number of housing starts than in the past. New residents are moving to the area as the Jacksonville metropolitan area grows. This growth is r educing the available land for conservation. While there are numerous local and state parks, private land in conservation remains an important goal for many stakeholders in the region. For example conservation is a tenet of the St. Johns County Vision, an d they conserved over 1700 acres in 2006 (St. Johns Vision, 2006). Putnam County has 212 acres of agricultural land enrolled in conservation or wetlands reserve programs (Rahmani et al., 2005). Finally, as the population increases the amount of infrastruc ture, solid waste, air pollution, water use and other environmental stresses also increase. This is another fact addressed by the St. Johns County Vision, which states that, Emphasis will be placed on reducing urban sprawl, encouraging smart growth and co ncentrating development that utilizes existing infrastructure and the most economic buildout of new infrastructure. Smart growth will result in higher densities concentrated in smaller areas with the surrounding areas being used as open space. The result will be a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly community with a reduc ed dependency on the automobile, (St. Johns Vision, 2006). Economy of the TCAA Agriculture and natural resource based industries represent a substantial portion of the TCAAs economy. P utnam County had the highest economic output impacts from agriculture based activities which represented over $718 million in 2002 (Rahmani et al., 2005). As shown in Figure 2 4 the majority of this amount, $622 million, is from forestry, wood and paper
21 m anufacturing alone Putnam is home to the largest number of agricultural and natural resource firms in the TCAA, 466 firms, which are down 11% from 1997. The economic importance of the industry is also felt in the labor market: 3,935 jobs out of 9,134 tota l jobs created in all three counties were in an agricultural -based sector Despite the amount of revenue generated by the agricultural sector, the TCAA, especially Putnam County, is affected by poverty. Table 2 1 shows a brief comparison between the three counties in the TCAA: Putnam County exhibits the lowest per capita income, $15,603 in 1999, and the highest population living below the poverty line 17.3% in 2004. Putnam County is also the highest recipient of government payments, re ceiving almost 73% of total subsidies in the region, at $45,000 per year in 2002. St. Johns County, on the other hand, has much better socio-economic conditions than Putnam County. The average per capita income in 1999 was $28,674, higher than the state average per capita in come, which was $21,557 in the same year. On top of this, St. Johns poverty levels are much lower than in Putnam County: in 2004, 7.5% of St. Johns County lived below poverty compared to 17.3% in Putnam. Although a portion of St. Johns is part of the TCAA the county is also home to the major tourist destination of St. Augustine, which is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. The service industry generates most of the revenue r e ceived by the county A ccordin g to the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, $690.68 million collected from tourism can be attributed to lodging and food services. Land Use in the TCAA In the TCAA, almost 50%, 96,431 acres of the 198,636 acres under production are woodlands. The propor tion of farmland devoted to forestry is slightly higher in Putnam County, much higher in Flagler County, and significantly lower in St. Johns County. Putnam County has
22 the 2nd largest percentage of total county land devoted to agricultural production in the TCAA, 20%, while Flagler County has the highest percent of its land, 22%, under production, and St. Johns County only uses 9.7% of its total acreage for agriculture. Even though St. Johns County has the least percentage of its land in agriculture, it has the most acreage in cropland, 24,960 acres. Recent events, however, are changing the land usage in the TCAA. The region, which traditionally has been inhabited by farmers, has experienced high levels of growth in the last 30 years. Figure 2 1 shows the po pulation of each county for the last 86 years. According to this data, the population of Putnam County has grown over 200%, St. Johns County has grown over 550%, and Flagler Countys population has grown over a staggering 1800%. Flagler County ranked 1st i n the state of Florida in population percent growth rate from 1985 to 95 and 2000 to 2005. The Bureu of Economic and Businness Research, affiliated with the University of Florida, has projected that Flagler County will again be ranked as first in growth d uring the period of 20052010 (BEBR, 2002). It is important to notice such significant population growths because of its implications for the preservation of agricultural lands. As the population in a particular region grows, so do the number of homes, r oads, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure and amenities required for the livelihood of the population. In an area such as the TCAA, this unprecedented growth has started to fuel the emerging urban rural interface issues. The newly established res idents move to the area with certain demands and expectations such as: clean and readily available water, housing that will hold their economic value, access to nature, good schools for their children, low crime rates, access to health care, and transporta tion. Unfortunately, these demands are fueling high-density urban and suburban developments, along with urban sprawl. The result is that from 19902000, Flagler County had a 30.9% increase in low -density land use (3003000 people/sq. mi.), ranked third in the state of Florida (Chapin et
23 al.,2007). This kind of development is having an immediate impact on the environment: quick clearing of forests, draining the wetlands and increasing the value of agricultural lands As these pressures increase, the farming community, which was the backbone of the region, has to choose between selling their properties to land developers or incur higher costs for staying in the agricultural sector. Agricultural BMPs & Water Quality Issues One of the most contentious issues cur rently debated is the quality and the usage of water. Total maximum daily load (TMDL) regulations are being put into effect because the St. Johns River has been declared an impaired body of water by the FDEP in t he Lower St. Johns River basin. The TMDL r egulations will require the SJRWMD to institute a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) in order to meet the limits. Part of the BMAP includes having area farmers implement agricultural Best Management Practices. Agricultural best management practices or BMP s are specific farming techniques that have been field tested and scientifically proven to lower the amount of pollution from runoff, usually by reducing the amount of inputs required or by applying them differently. The main two components that determine the feasibility of a BMP are technological and economic considerations. BMPs have been developed in recent years to answer claims that agricultural runoff is responsible for a large portion of the pollution in certain watersheds. This is also true for the TCAA and the St. Johns River basin. Florida Statutes, Subsection 403.067(7)(b) state that non -point pollution sources must comply with pollutant reductions to meet Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements by implementing BMPs. Agriculture is a major non -point pollution source. There are multiple agencies working together in the TCAA to establish and evaluate cost -effective best management
24 practices (BMPs) that can be implemented by local growers to decrease pollution loading from are a farms to the St. Johns River. Water quality studies conducted prior to 1994 concluded that land use loading rates associated with agricultural production are four to five times greater than for other land uses and contributed substantially to the nutrient load of the St. Johns River. Growers who participate in BMPs are also eligible for certain cost -share opportunities from the water management district, DACS, or others. The St. Johns River Water Management District has oversight over the water quality in the St. Johns River, which flows north from Orange County to Duval County in northern and central Florida. They are also responsible for providing a sufficient quantity of water for consumption by residents and for use in commercial activities. Over the past eight years, t he St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) has worked cooperatively with the North Florida Growers Exchange and other state and federal agencies, including the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), Natural Re sources Conservation Service (NRCS), Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (FDACS). Research initiatives have proven that BMPs can b e implemented successfully, and that they can significantly reduce nutrient loading without impacting crop yields. BMPs are being developed by the state with the goal of reducing the nitrogen and phosphorus loading by 30% from row -crop potato production to the surrounding surface waters to comply with the Clean Water Act s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) regulations However, some agricultural producers have expressed concern over their ability to implement BMPs successfully because of cost for the new nutr ients and the sandy soils in the TCAA, which dont hold nutrients as well
25 according to Wayne Smith in a personal communication on May 16, 2008. Some agricultural producers, such as Wayne Smith, say that the only problem with reducing nitrogen inputs by so much is that its bound to decrease crop yields, because biology has proven that plant growth is in part, a function of nitrogen availability In addition, the types of soils found in the TCAA are unique in the fact that they are sandy and do not hold nu trients as long or as well as other soils, thus requiring greater amounts of nutrient input s. So, even without BMPs being implemented, TCAA farmers are at somewhat of a disadvantage in terms of nutrient application rates
26 Figure 2 1 Population by c ounty 19202030. Compiled with data from the U.S. Census Bureau & Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida Figure 2 2 Population growth rate by county 19302006. Source: U S Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic and Busi ness Research at the University of Florida 50 100 150 200 250 300 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 2020 Flagler Putnam St. Johns -10.0% 10.0% 30.0% 50.0% 70.0% 90.0% 110.0% 130.0% 150.0% 170.0% 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2006 Year Growth Rate Flagler Putnam St. Johns Florida Year Population (in thousands)
27 Figure 2 3 Housing starts for both single and multi -family dwelling 19862015. Source: Florida Long -term Economic Forecast 2002, Volume 2: State and Counties, Lenze, David G., BEBR, UF Figure 2 4 Output impacts of agricultural and natural resouce industries. Source: Rahmani, Hodges and Mulkey; UF/IFAS 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 1986 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 2007 2010 2013 Years Housing Starts St. Johns County Flagler County Putnam County NE FL Planning District (in tens) 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 Agricultural Inputs and Services Environmental Horticulture Forestry, Wood & Paper Product Manufacturing Fruit and Vegetable Farming and Processing & Other Crops Livestock & Dairy Farming & Animal Products Mining Other Food Product Industries Millions of US$ St. Johns Putnam Flagler
28 Figure 2 5 Output impacts of agricultural and natural resource industries. Source: Rahmani, Hodges and Mulkey; UF/IFAS Figure 2 6 Total farm outpu ts and incomes in 2002. Source: Rahmani, Hodges and Mulkey; UF/IFAS 60.5 108.3 668.4 124.5 18.3 18.7 14.2 51.2 (in Millions of $) Agricultural Inputs and Services Environmental Horticulture Forestry, Wood & Paper Product Manufacturing Fruit and Vegetable Farming and Processing & Other Crops Livestock & Dairy Farming & Animal Products Mining Other Food Product 23.789 7.044 46.67 19.663 59.681 17.636 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Market Value of Agricultural Products Sold Net Farm Income Millions of $ St. Johns Putnam Flagler
29 Table 2 1. Per capita income and percent below poverty by c ounty. Source: US Census Bureau St. Johns County Putnam County Flagler County Florida Per capita income, 1999 $28,674 $15,60 3 $21,879 $21,557 Persons below poverty, percent, 2004 7.5% 17.3% 7.8% 11.9%
30 CHAPTER 3 METHODS This study applies the Delphi method by using a combination of surveys and workshops conducted using focus group protocols and qualitative analysis to tes t the following hypotheses: 1) Differences in opinion exist among different groups of experts about the primary source of, and therefore response to, degradation of water quality in the St. Johns River in the TCAA. 2) Differences in opinion exist among dif ferent groups of experts about the primary information needs for planning decisions, and therefore response to, growth management in the TCAA. 3) The results of separate Delphi method consensus building process es will exhibit some differences between the g roups of academic experts and stakeholder experts participating in each interaction. In order to test the three hypotheses, information was collected using two main approaches. First, stakeholder knowledge, attitudes and perceptions related to growth management and environmental quality issues in the TCAA were collected by web survey. University faculty who are familiar with the situation in the TCAA and local area stakeholders who are directly involved in land use planning decisions made up the two main ta rget groups of participants. Second, two separate Delphi workshops were held that assembled respondents to the web survey in order to review the groups responses, expand upon and justify their own responses, and re -categorize or change any responses befor e ranking or stating that they were satisfied with the final list of responses. Delphi is a method used to capture the opinions of experts in a field on a certain subject, and determine an estimate, which usually predicts the future value of something, ba sed on the average of their responses over multiple rounds. In this study, Delphi was used to capture the complete set of information needs for planning decisions, as well as to prioritize which types of
31 causes of water quality impairment in the SJR deserv e the most attention. A modified Delphi ranking method was utilized in order to estimate the level of consensus among stakeholders with respect to these questions. The Delphi Method originated with a study conducted by The RAND Corporation in the 1950s (D alkey and Helmer, 1963). The study gave a small group of experts a series of questionnaires, which were combined with the reporting back of results in between rounds. It was commissioned in order to achieve a reliable estimate about the number of nuclear w eapons that it would take the Soviet Union to cripple United States munitions production. For quite a dismal topic, however, the study succeeded in producing results that showed the Delphi method indeed does have potential for producing a reliable consensu s among experts. The method is based on the same concept as the Oracle at De lphi from the Greek mythology: knowledge is gained by consulting those who are knowledgeable. The Delphi method is characterized by structuring a group communication process. Th us, the process is effective in allowing a group of individuals, as a whole, to deal with a complex problem. (Linstone and Turoff, 1975). Expressed more simply, the Delphi method is a way to survey experts from diverse backgrounds. A key element of Delphi methodology is structured communication because of its reliance on multiple iterations of questions with results reported back to participants between rounds to maintain anonymity, while calculations are carried out to measure level of agreement. T he th r ee main goals of a Delphi are to forecast events, generate quantitative estimates, and produ ce qualitative evaluations (Sackman, 1974) The extent to which Delphi studies achieve all three goals varies from study to study The first RAND Corporation study, for example, was entirely centered on gen erating a quantitative estimate, number of bombs. While
32 the Delphi Method is typically driven by a need to build consensus, it could be heuristic in nature (Martin and Frick, 1998) The Delphi Method also provides a means of eliciting options and alternatives from participants and to identify opposing positions on contentious issues (Franklin and Hart, 2007) and is therefore not necessarily always used to generate consensus. In this particular study, the Delphi meth od is being used to produce qualitative evaluations by assessing the knowledge and perception of two groups of players on issues of growth management and environmental quality. The diverse approaches and lack of consistency from one study to other present difficulties in the identification of the common goals and purpose of all Delphi studies. This challenge is augmented by the fact that the method has been applied across many different disciplines and diverse research topics. In the half century since its inception, Delphi has been used in almost every type of consensus building activity imaginable including government planning, policy formation, selecting survey questions (Harmon and Maretzki, 2006), identifying research priorities (Rushford, 2007), stream lining journal submission review processes (Saunders and Benbasat, 2007), defining terms (Walter and Reisner, 1994), assessing state environmental agencies (Yasamis, 2006), and curriculum development (Martin and Frick, 1998). An example of the Delphi in action is the Harmon and Maretzki study (2006), which employed the Delphi method to develop a questionnaire assessing the knowledge and attitudes of high school students about the food system. In their case, t hey used the Delphi method because the y thought the task of creating a good survey instrument would benefit from collective thoughts from scholars in the field. The authors selected their panel from a list of members of the Society for Nutrition Educations Division of Sustainable Food Systems. In retr ospect, however, the authors admit ted that by selecting all of their panel members from this single source, as
33 opposed to from multiple academic societies and different disciplines, they may have somewhat limited variety in their feedback and possibly bias ed their questionnaire design. Finally, even though they had a very respectable amount of panelists respond to their call, 30 of 48 possible participants, their response rate is far above average. This study illustrates the need for a larger and more diver se group of panelists when selecting participants for a Delphi interaction. Also, if subsequent rounds are conducted live in person, rather than remotely by mail or e -mail, the drop rate for those rounds effectively goes to zero. Another Delphi study ( Rus hford, 2007) did not employ the method directly, but instead examined its usefulness for identifying research priorities in the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry sees use of the method quite frequently. The author finds that this may be because healthcare is often a setting where there are high levels of uncertainty, and little information on the subject of interest, not to mention the high cost of and barriers to experimentation. These attributes all make the Delphi method a good one to apply under specific circumstances. The methodology applied in each of these circumstances had its own strengths and weaknesses. One article (Martin and Frick, 1998) even suggested that there should be some investigation into the validity of the technique in cert ain fields. The same authors raise the question of, how far a methodology can be bent before it breaks. However, Delphi methodology provides a large suite of approaches that can be applied to understand many different types of complex qualitative problem s, including, but not limited to, event forecasting, information gathering, hypothesis testing, consensus building, defining priorities and even estimating unobtainable quantitative data. Furthermore, nearly every Delphi study is, in part, research into th e application of the method itself. This particular research is an example of a
34 Delphi used primarily for information gathering, consensus building, and to some extent, identifying and prioritizing areas of highes t concern for future attention. Implementat ion of a Delphi The freedom of design that Delphi offers researchers must also be used carefully. Franklin and Hart (2007) in their retrospective article analyzing the Delphi method state five recommendations to consider when creating and conducting a poli cy Delphi study: 1) Use an electronic medium to preserve anonymity of panelists and expedite communications. 2) Develop sound recruiting criteria and define expert early in the planning process. 3) Develop a valid first round questionnaire; consider using at least f our rounds. 4) Include a member -check procedure in subsequent rounds of questionnaires to enhance the validity of the transference of qualitative data in to survey questions. 5) R emain mindful of the potential volumes of data that can be generat ed and plan for timely data analysis and adequate storage. According to Sackman (1975) there are several characterist ics of a conventional Delphi: First, data collection is via a structured, formal questionnaire administered to a group of individuals identified as appropriate subject matter specialists. Second, t he Delphi director or the participants may generate the questionnaire items. In some cases, it may be a cooperative effort. Third, t he participants receive specific instructions to ensure the p roper comp letion of the questionnaire. All administrations of the questionnaire following the first one include statistical feedba ck from the previous round. The statistics are typically a measure of central tende ncy and one of variability. The Delphi dire ctor may solicit verbal feedback from some or all of the participants and publish that inform ation on subsequent rounds. Individual responses are kept anonymous during all administra tions of the questionnaire. The Delphi administrators generally require written justification for extreme resp onses. The cycle of iteration and feedback continues until the Delphi director determines that a sufficient convergence of opinion is reached.
35 For this particular study, the implementation of the Delphi m ethod was achie ved through a series of phases with some variation on the traditional methodology to incorporate aspects of standard surveying techniques and focus group evaluations while still retaining some of the feedback and anonymity associated with a traditional De lphi study T hree distinct phases were developed to meet the research objectives and achieve consensus : 1) survey design and implementation, 2) real time Delphi workshop preparation and execution, and 3) analysis and reporting of results. Each of these pha ses is described in detail below. Survey Design This first phase of the research process began with several preparatory tasks such as identifying specific questions to ask, drafting the survey instrument, identifying possible participants, obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, and receiving feedback on the survey instrument. In the second part of this phase, surveys were administered and survey reminders were sent out periodically. During the final stage of this phase, the survey results were compiled and analysis began. To prepare the surveys on knowledge and perceptions of local area stakeholders and academic faculty, the scope of the survey was first determined based on the research objectives, the audience and participants, and which topic s would offer the most valuable insight s The research objectives specified several topics on which to assess participants knowledge and perceptions. The topics were major growth management issues, information needs for planning decisions, sources of conf lict between stakeholder groups, and causes of environmental and water quality impairment in the TCAA. These categories were chosen because of their current importance in the area, and because no studies have been published to date that assess perceptions of these particular topics in this region.
36 Specifically, each topic included several sub -topics in selected areas of concern. Therefore, the actual survey instrument ended up having eight total topics: 1) Growth Management Processes a nd Goals; 2) Roles o f Local Government a nd Coordination Between Governments; 3) Regional Planning a nd Visioning Processes; 4) Information f or Planning Decisions; 5) Input i n t he Growth Management Process a nd Conflicts; 6) Understanding t he Effects o f Development a nd Incentives for New Growth Strategies; 7) Agricultural Best Management Practices; and, 8) Causes o f Environmental Quality Degradation i n t he TCAA a nd St. Johns River For each category described above, several sets of survey questions were drafted and then revised to create the final questionnaire (s ee Appendix B for full survey i nstrument) The survey questions were in format of attitude and judgment statements that the respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement with on a 5 -choice (Likert) scale from Str ongly Disagree, to Somewhat Disagree, to Neither Agree nor Disagree, to Somewhat Agree, to Strongly Agree by marking the appropriate radio button on the internet survey webpage. A Likert -scale has been shown to effectively reflect the respond ents opinion and knowledge (Dillman, 2007). In addition to the attitude statement style questions, two multiple choice questions were also added in order to double check and clarify the responses of several attitude statements in the subcategories of Visionin g and Behavioral Changes. Finally, several Yes or No questions were asked as preludes to open-ended response style questions. These questions included skiplogic in the web version of the survey so that respondents would not be asked the follow up open -ended question if they responded No. Later, responses to the open-ended questions were used as the first round of input for the live Delphi workshops. The last set of questions on the survey were not used for data collection, but instead were used to gauge workshop attendance after informing the respondent of the live Delphi workshop
37 time, date, location and content. Since the two groups being tested had different workshop details, identical surveys were sent out to the academic group and the stakeholder group with the exception of the workshop invitation question. Once the sur vey was drafted, two university faculty and three county extension directors reviewed it for content and formatting. Any suggested changes were incorporated as best as possible before the survey design was finalized. Participant Selection Before the individual participants could be identified, the total target number of desired participants had to be determined. Many Delphi studies, including the very first one, have taken place with a relatively small number of participants, especially when compared to the amount of people possibly affected by the results of the study. In fact, several studies have been somewhat unsuccessful because of the large number of participants. Few parti cipants are part of the standard methodology because each person is an expert in their field, and their contributions represent the opinions of other experts with similar knowledge and qualifications. Furthermore, a few expert opinions are preferable to many layperson opinions because of their advanced knowledge on the research topic. Since focus group methodology was also being applied, the ideal focus group size of 6 to 8 participants (Kreuger and Casey, 2000) was taken into account. Accordingly, only a bout 8 12 participants in each of the two live Delphi workshops would have been sufficient for this study. In most conventional Delphi studies that collect multiple rounds of data through mail or web surveys, there is usually some drop rate associated with the number of respondents who fail to continue submitting responses after each round. The drop rate after each round is usually higher between the first and second rounds than between subsequent rounds. It has also been shown that the total drop rate also increases with the number of participants, and number of iterations (Linstone and Turoff, 1975) Since the subsequent Delphi rounds would be
38 administered at a live workshop in this study, it was highly unlikely for anyone to leave in the middle of the wor kshop, and therefore, a very low drop rate was assumed for these rounds. However, since no initial contact was made before sending out the web survey invitations that included the first round Delphi questions and live workshop invitations embedded in the survey, an above average first round drop rate of 50% was assumed, meaning that only 50% of the survey respondents were expected to attend the workshop. In addition, for both the academic faculty group and area stakeholder group, a typical web survey response rate of 30% was assumed (where Response Rate = Number of Surveys Completed / Number of Possible Participants Contacted). Using these initial estimates of survey non responses and dropping from the study after the first round, the target number of possi ble participants required to yield 8 12 workshop participants in each group was determined to be a minimum of 54 and maximum of 80 possible participants (54 Possible Participants x 30% Response Rate x 50% Drop Rate = 8 Workshop Participants; 80 Possible Pa rticipants x 30% Response Rate x 50% Drop Rate = 12 Workshop Participants). Participants for the stakeholder group were then identified using a search of organizational websites and through personal recommendations from experts familiar with the TCAA and its key players. First, a list of pertinent institutions and groups in the TCAA with possible participants was made. The target area stakeholder organizations and people included county government elected officials and employees, state and regional regulat ory agency employees, county extension agents and directors, agricultural producers, and non -governmental organization representatives. Next, a web search was conducted for individuals in the groups and institutions on the initial list, which yielded names and contact information for approximately half of the target number of possible participants. Names and contact information for the rest of
39 the possible stakeholder participants were suggested through communications with local university and extension fac ulty Also, some survey respondents suggested contacting additional participants once the survey was sent out, and the participants they suggested were included in the sample as well. A total of 55 people were identified for the area stakeholder groups possible participant list. However, since the knowledge and perceptions survey and embedded first round Delphi questions were part of a web-based survey, the invitations were sent out via e -mail, and 12 contacts were removed from the list because no valid e -mail address could be identified for them, reducing the total number of possible area stakeholder group participants to 43. Participants for the academic faculty group were identified in a similar manner, through personal recommendations, a funded research project database search, and primarily from a list of faculty principal investigators and cooperators for the Florida Partnership for Water, Agriculture, & Community Sustainability at Hastings in St. Johns County. Contact information for the academic facu lty group was obtained from the University of Florida Phonebook. A total of 41 people were identified for the academic faculty gro ups possible participant list. Survey Implementation Before any data could be collected, however, the universitys Instituti onal Review Board (IRB) approval had to approve the study This process lasted several weeks and it took place as the survey was being designed and the participant lists were being compiled. IRB approval is required for any research involving human subject s. In addition to approving the research methods, and number of participants, IRB approved the informed consent document which must be shown to each participant before they decide to participate in the study. Once IRB had approved the study, the surveys h ad been designed, and possible participants had been identified, the surveys and participant contact information lists were then input into SurveyMonkey.com, which is an on -line survey research tool that was used to
40 facilitate web -form design and response management. On February 4th, 2009 the knowledge and perception survey invitations were sent out, including first round Delphi questions and real time Delphi workshop invitations. According to Dillman (2007), a four -contact strategy should be employed to pr ovide the highest response rates possible. A four -contact strategy means that the respondents should be contacted four times to remind them about the survey before the data collection period is closed. For this study, the initial invitation was the first contact. Then, a reminder notice was sent out on February 10th. A second reminder was sent out on February 13th, and a final reminder was sent on February 17th. The collection period closed on February 19th. Analysis of Survey and First Round Delphi Respon ses Once responses to the web survey had been collected, they were c ompile d for data analysis and the first round Delphi question data was analyzed for presentation at the workshops. Raw survey data was examined for the general level of consensus among res pondents of each group. Any attitude and perception questions that exhibited a high level of simil arities or differences among the responses were reported at the workshops. The real time Delphi workshop questions for subsequent rounds of discussion were se lected from the pool of first round questions through review of several different criteria. The first consideration was the potential impact of the topic on area stakeholders and academic faculty. The topics that would best generate a good discussion were carefully evaluated. Next, the Delphi questions that received the most diverse responses were reviewed. Based on these criteria, the topics of I nformation N eeds R equired for P lanning D ecisions and Causes of W ater Q uality I mpairment in the St. Johns Rive r were selected for the Delphi workshop. For each open -ended survey question, the respondents were asked to give up to three responses. So, each of these questions produced a great number of individual responses, which would be unmanageable to report and discuss for two different topics during a short workshop to
41 say the least, and more realistically, quite impossible to do. The best way to report all of the responses was by pre -categorizing them before the Delphi workshops, and having workshop participan ts discuss and modify the categories if necessary before agreeing upon them or ranking them in subsequent rounds. Through a thematic content analysis method, the first round Delphi questions responses were compiled, analyzed and categorized for each grou p individually. Then, the resulting categories for each question were discussed and revised before being reported at the live interactions. Deliberate efforts were made to preserve the individuality of each response when categorizing them. First, all simil ar or identical responses were grouped together and given main category titles, which reflected all responses in that category. Any remaining responses that did not distinctly fit into any major category were reconsidered, and these responses were categori zed in one of several fashions, depending upon the response. If the outlier response was deemed to be similar enough to the responses in any one main category, so that if the main category title were to be slightly reworded to logically include the outlier response, then this would be an option for that response. If the outlier response corresponded to more than one main category, and responses of the two main categories could logically be aggregated into one broader category with several sub -categories, th en this option was considered as well. If the outlier response was somewhat close to other outlier responses, then a third option was to group them together under a single main category that still reflected each response. If the lone response would not fi t in any category whatsoever, and it was unlike any other lone responses, then it was given a category of its own, just so that no responses were left unreported. Caution was taken not to dismiss any unique ideas during the categorization process, so most categories
42 ended up with several sub-categories and some categories only represented one or two responses. Full content analysis will be disclosed in detail in Chapter 3. Real -time Delphi Workshops The final phase of the modified Delphi method used in this study occurred as a real -time Delphi interaction. First, the workshop venue s had to be s chedule d. The academic faculty group workshop took place on February 25th at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida. The area stakeholder group works hop took place on March 5th at the St. Johns County Extension Center in St. Augustine, Florida. Even though the iterations were live and in-person, every attempt was made to retain as many characteristics of a conventional Delphi method as possible. The o nly significant ways in which this real time variation on the conventional Delphi differ ed from Sackmans description of a conventional Delphi (Sackman, 1975) were that subsequent rounds after the first took place in a group setting rather than by mail or e -mail F eedback between rounds was v erbal and instantaneous instead of written and delayed. Although participants feedback in between rounds was not anonymous, their final vote on which topics and priorities they preferred was still anonymous via Tur ningPoints ResponseCard radio frequency (RF) responders The ResponseCards enabled a live discussion to take place where viewpoints would be voiced publicly, while still keeping the ultimate decision of each participant anonymous, because individuals res ponses were not disclosed to the group. The results of each round of voting were only displayed in aggregate. Another possib le way to ensure participants anonymity which was considered but ultimately was not employed, would have been t o identify panelist s b y numbers and have them also submit private written comments. However, this was not feasible since many panelists already knew each other, and the time required for collecting and compiling written responses would have hindered the workshop.
43 So, great e fforts were made to avoid the pitfalls of group interaction such as the influence of powerful personalities, the individuals desire to conform to the majority opinion, and the difficulty of relinquishing support for an opinion once it is voiced publicly. To make sure that each participant ha d an equal chance to be heard recommendations were employed from Breaking Roberts Rules (Susskind and Cruikshank 2006). They describe a three step consensus building process consisting of venting, prioritizing, and inventing. The venting phase is for each participant to express something that they do not like about the current item list. The prioritizing phase allows each participant to choose which topic on the list that they most support. The inventing phase creates an opportunity for participants to add or change any item on the list, taking into account the comments from the other two phases. This process was adhered to more strictly during the area stakeholder workshop in order to keep the discussion moving in an orderly fashion, as there were more stakeholder group workshop participants than academic group workshop participants. The Delphi workshops were both implemented with similar agendas (s ee Appendix C for the full w orkshop a genda s ). Each interaction began with an overview of the workshop, ground rules were explained, and participants introduced themselves After the introductions, the ResponseC ard s were demonstrated by having the par ticipants do a practice ranking question using the ResponseC ards. Pri or to the workshops, each ResponseCard was pre registered to a participant, so that individual results could be tracked later. The sessions were separated by topic. For each topic, a summary of related survey question responses and first round Delphi respo nses were reported. For the Delphi questions, responses were pre categorized and displayed in order of frequency of responses in each category. Then two discussions took place, one for
44 each Delphi topic, with several rounds of voting via ResponseCard in ea ch. However, the interaction for each topic had a different target. During the discussion on information needs, ranking of the pre -categorized responses was not the goal. Instead, the discussion was moderated with the aim to make sure that the resulting ca tegories fully captured the most important information needs that are required for planning decisions, and that the participants could agree on the final list of categories. To determine if all Delphi workshop participants agreed on the list of categories and that all of the categories captured all of the information needs, first, the pre -categorized responses were reported, and workshop participants were asked if they were satisfied with the pre -categorized responses as they were. Once the participants vot ed on their satisfaction, the categories were opened for discussion. Participants had an opportunity to change the categories before voting on them again. Voting ceased after the third round or all participants were unanimously satisfied with the categorie s, whichever came first. It was decided to not rank the information needs categories for several reasons. The first reason was so that more time could be dedicated to identifying and sorting out the categories themselves, and because the responses in the s econd discussion about the causes of water quality impairment were more easily pre -categorized, which, therefore, allowed more time to be dedicated to ranking them. During the second part of the workshop, where participants were asked to rank the causes of water quality impairment in the St. Johns River in the TCAA, pre -categorized responses were first displayed and discussed before any voting took place. This discussion occurred before the first round of voting because the goal was to rank categories that participants already agreed upon instead of actually defining the categories, which differed from the first discussion in that aspect. Once each person was given a chance to comment on the categories and suggest changes.
45 The main causes of water quality im pairment were ranked using TurningPoint ResponseCards. Participants were asked to choose their top three causes of impairment by pressing the corresponding keys on the Response Cards in the order of importance. For example, if the respondent wanted to rank category 3 the highest, category 1 the second highest, and category 2 the lowest, they would have pressed key 3, key 1, and then key 2 in that order. The TurningPoint software would then assign weights to each response based on the order that respondents selected them In the case of this workshop, ranking the top three choices assigned a weight of 10 for the first, highest choice, 9 for the second highest choice, and 8 for the lowest choice. After each round of voting, aggregated ranking results were disp layed to the group, and another round of discussion took place. This pattern was set to continue for three rounds, or until the consensus coefficient was less than 15%, meaning that less than 15% of participants changed their responses from the previous ro und, which is the general level of change where a researcher can determine if consensus has been reached (Linstone and Turoff, 1975). Once the rounds of discussions and voting on each Delphi topic were completed, the final ranking results were displayed fo r the participants to review Following this review, several final survey questions were asked to obtain feedback on the workshop itself. After the workshops, follow up surveys were sent out to the participants that showed them the results of both groups Delphi questions. The follow up survey asked questions about participants suggestions on possible actions to address the top information needs and causes of impairment, as well as several other questions on their opinion of the workshop, and it allowed them to express any other comments that they may have had on any part of the procedure. The workshops were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data was received from voting with the ResponseCards, while qualitative data ca me
46 from the discussion between rounds. The qualitative data was analyzed using focus group guidelines and protocol, even though the workshops were not traditional focus group settings. Focus groups allow the participants to answer open-ended questions as t hey choose, and therefore, are an effective means of collecting qualitative data by listening to people in a permissive environment ( Kreuger and Casey, 2000; Morgan, 1997). The quantitative data was analyzed for consensus and convergence of responses, as w ell as for individuals switching responses after being influenced by a discussion and justification round.
47 CHAPTER 4 ANALYSIS AND RESULTS Response Rates and Question Types The results of the study were compiled separately for the academic faculty group and the area stakeholder group. In the following chapter, results will be reported and compared between the two groups. In the following chapter, results will be reported and compared between the two groups. There were notable differences and similarities between the stakeholder and academic groups survey responses and workshop discussions. Although the sample size used in this study is not large enough to be used to draw true statistical inference (n < 30 for each group), descriptive statistics and compa risons are justified in order to draw some general conclusions about the similarities and differences between the groups. One initial indication of the differences between these two groups is reflected in their divergent response rates. The academic facult y groups response rate of 21.9% was relatively low compared to the area stakeholder groups response rate of 53.4%. This divergence in response rates between the two groups could have been attributed to many different factors such as individual workload a t the time, lack of familiarity with the region, lack of emotional connection to the region, conflicting schedule with the workshop dates, travel, or perhaps the potential respondent was simply not interested. Although the response rate to the survey was very different between the two groups, participation rates in the Delphi workshops were similar, with 55.5% of academic faculty (5 out of 9) and 43.4% of area stakeholders (10 out of 23) attending the respective workshops. One participant attended both wor kshops due to the fact that this individual works closely with members of both academic and stakeholder communities in the TCAA.
48 The participants in this study were not selected at random. Instead, they were handpicked in order to yield a cross -section of two different types of people interested in the same outcome, but who may have different perceptions and opinions of the TCAA with respect to land use planning and environmental issues. The attitude and perception survey was designed to reveal these differ ent understandings of the same processes. Since the participant samples were not randomly selected (even if they were representative), and the number of responses in each separate group was not anticipated to be greater than thirty, the survey responses we re never intended to be reported as statistically significant or scientifically sound data. So, unless otherwise stated, all statistical summary data, especially comparisons of survey responses between the two different groups are for descriptive purposes only. To better facilitate analysis, the 5 -choice Likert scale that was used to collect a majority of survey question responses was converted to integers from 1 to 5, which correspond to increasing levels of agreement, where 1 is Strongly Disagree, 2 is Somewhat Disagree, 3 is Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4 is Somewhat Agree, and 5 is Strongly Agree. Therefore, aggregate results for each attitude statement will be reported as having yielded either a positive consensus (x > 3), negative c onsensus ( x < 3), or no consensus ( x 3), where x is the sample mean of responses for a particular question Logistically, the survey was broken-down by category, with each set of attitude -statement questions relating to one category arranged on a single page. The divisions between categories were marked by open -ended Delphi questions at the end of each page, or by a Yes or No qualifying question, followed by the Delphi question. The categories of questions, in the order that they appeared on the survey, are: 1) Growth Management Processes a nd Goals; 2) Roles o f Local Government a nd Coordination Between Governments; 3) Regional Planning a nd
49 Visioning Processes; 4) Information f or Planning Decisions; 5) Input i n t he Grow th Management Process a nd Conflicts; 6) Understanding t he Effects o f Development a nd Incentives f or New Growth Strategies; 7) Agricultural Best Management Practices; and, 8) Causes o f Environmental Quality Degradation i n t he TCAA a nd St. Johns River. The f ollowing sections describe survey and workshop results (where applicable) for each of these themes (see Appendix D for complete survey results, and Appendix E for raw open -ended Delphi question responses). Growth Management Processes and Goals In the first set of survey questions, which were formatted as 6 different attitude statements on growth management processes and goals, there was generally a consensus present among respondents in both Delphi groups. However, responses to the very first question were a slight exception. Question 1.1 stated The growth management process is well understood by all those who are involved in making and influencing decisions at all levels. This question had the least agreement between respondents of all questions in the f irst section. Responses were skewed toward disagree, with all respondents in the academic group stating that they disagreed with this statement. However five respondents from the stakeholder group chose Somewhat Agree, and none chose Neither Agree nor Disagree, or Strongly Agree. The fact that not one single respondent chose Neither, and no respondents skipped the question, meant that everyone had some definite opinion on this subject, and some level of disagreement was evident. It is also worth noting that three of the five dissenting respondents, who agreed with this statement, would later participate in the live Delphi workshop as well. Therefore, this question was later reported in the Delphi workshop presentation of survey results. The remai nder of the questions in the first section exhibited varying degrees of consensus throughout, but both academic and stakeholder groups had very similar frequency distributions, means, medians, and standard deviations for each question, and each question ha d a higher level
50 of consensus than Question 1.1. Question 1.2, Local approaches to growth management differ widely across the state, had the highest level of positive consensus in both groups for the entire section with nearly unanimous agreement and onl y two respondents who selected Neither There was a negative consensus on both Questions 1.3 and 1.5, which asked if the statewide goals of growth management, and goals of growth management in the TCAA, respectively, are well defined and clear. However, even though the variation among responses was similar for these questions, many more respondents chose Neither for the TCAA compared to the entire state, possibly indicating a lack of knowledge on this topic. In addition, not one respondent agreed that t he goals of growth management were well defined and clear for the TCAA, but 9.7% of respondents agreed with the statement for the state level, indicating that some respondents believe the state may have better defined goals than the TCAA. S ince only a sele cted number of results could be reported at the Delphi workshops, this question was not discussed in detail at the workshops Roles of Local Government and Coordination Between Governments In section two, eight statements addressed the topics of the role of local government and coordination between governments. Throughout this section there were considerably more questions with higher variance among responses than in the first section, especially in the stakeholder group. The firs t question in the section, Question 2.1 read, The roles of local and state government bodies in the growth management process ar e well understood by the public. Results from 2.1 somewhat compare to those from Question 1.1, except that there was a much gre ater negative consensus o n 2.1 than on 1.1. More respondents disagreed with this statement than any other question on the survey and only one respondent agreed with the statement, while none were indecisive or declined to answer (see Figure 4 1) This fact reveals that everyone h ad an opinion on this particular issue, and there was much less divergence than on Q uestion 1.1,
51 which had 15.6% of the respondents agree with the statement. This can be interpreted to mean respondents believe more strongly that the public does not underst and roles of government bodies in the growth management process, than they believe those involved in decision -making do not understand the growth management process. Weak negative consensus was reached among the group as a whole for questions 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4, which all asked about whether or not there is good collaboration and cooperation between local governments within the same county, across different counties, and within the TCAA. On questions 2.2 and 2.3, which asked about collaboration between local governments in the TCAA, and within a single county in general, there were more negative responses, but respondents showed less concurrence, with significantly more variation present in the stakeholder group than the academic group. The most evident disag reement on these three questions was with the statement in Question 2.4, Local governments across different counties work in cooperation to address growth management. None of the academic group and only 15% of the stakeholder group respondents agreed wit h this statement. So, even though the consensus on these few statements was not very strong, they still showed that area stakeholders and academic faculty do not generally feel that there is good cooperation and collaboration between local governments with in a single county, and across different counties. Also in this section, no consensus was reached on three questions, 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7, which each asked about cooperation betw een local governments within specific TCAA counties However, these results may have also been due to a lack of knowledge among the respondents, as 40% of the total responses were Neither and very few responses were at either extreme of the scale. This was particularly true for the academic group, which had about twice the frequency of Neither responses compared to the stakeholder group, and no Strongly agree or disagree
52 responses whatsoever for questions 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7. Despite those facts, the highest level of consensus for the entire survey was reached on Question 2.8, wh ich stated, Improved coordination and cooperation across local governments would improve the state wide growth management process. On this question, 82.8% of respondents Strongly Agreed, and 13.8% of respondents Somewhat Agreed with the statement, lea ving only 3.4% of the respondents who chose Neither, which all happened to be from the Stakeholder Group (see Figure 4 2) So, this exceptional level of agreement, along with the disagreement with the other statements in the section on levels of cooperat ion and collaboration, definitely show that respondents feel the local governments should improve their cooperation levels in order to positively affect the growth management process. Regional Planning and Visioning Processes The third section of the survey had four attitude statements on regional planning and visioning processes. The first question in the section, 3.1, read, Regional Planning Councils play an important role in the growth management process. The stakeholder group generally agreed with th is statement, but the responses were quite varied, covering every response choice. The academic group also agreed with this statement, but with much less variation, as 77.8% of respondents chose Somewhat Agree. This implies that more of the academic facu lty think s regional planning councils play an important role in the growth management process, than do stakeholders. The remaining questions asked about the value and importance of regional visioning processes, local community visioning processes, and both levels considered together, in questions 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4 respectively. There was a positive consensus found in both groups for each of these questions. However, this time the academic faculty group had higher variance among their responses than the stak eholder group. No one chose Stronlgy Disagree in either
53 group, but one respondent selected Somewhat Disagree on each of these questions in both groups. There were also no undecided responses on questions 3.3 and 3.4 in the stakeholder group, while the academic group had one respondent select this Neither, meaning that academics still generally agree, but are marginally less unified on the issue than stakeholders. Question 4 was a standard multiple -choice question that asked which level of visioning i s most effective, and offered the options: 1) Local, 2) Regional, or 3) Local and Regional processes are equally effective. It fell into the same category as the third set of Likert -scale questions on visioning processes, and acted as a ranking and verific ation question to questions 3.2 3.4. Remarkably, both groups had very similar results on question 4, with the highest proportion, about 55% of respondents, who said that they are equally effective. Each group also ordered the two processes similarly, w ith more responses for regional rather than local visioning processes as being more effective. The fact that most respondents said local and regional visioning processes were equally effective reflects the nearly equal high levels of positive consensus on questions 3.2 3.4. This similarity indicates that both groups find visioning processes to not only be important and valuable, but effective as well, and are also possibly important and valuable because of their effectiveness. Results from this section we re reported at the workshops, but no Delphi questions were asked. Information for Planning Decisions This section on Information for Planning Decisions only had one Likert -scale question, one multiple -choice question, and then the first open -ended Delphi question, which were numbered questions 5, 6, and 7 respectively. Question 5 determined the level of agreement with the statement, In the TCAA, stakeholders have sufficient access to and can find reliable information that is necessary to make planning dec isions. This question had no apparent consensus for the stakeholder group, mainly because of the high variance among the respondents, and polarization
5 4 of response frequency. The most frequent response among stakeholders was Somewhat Disagree, with 45.5% of responses. However, the second most frequent response was Somewhat Agree, with 31.8% of responses. In addition, 18.2% of stakeholders chose Neither. Among, academic faculty the negative consensus was a bit clearer, with 55.6% of responses being So mewhat Disagree, and only 11.1% of responses were Somewhat Agree. Once again though, a large number chose Neither which could indicate either indifference or a lack of knowledge on the subject. In summary, positive responses were more prevalent among stakeholders than academics (31.8% vs. 11.1% respectively ), but Neither responses were about the same for both groups, implying a difference in knowledge between the two groups. For example, those stakeholders who may know how to find and access informat ion may have agreed with the statement, while academic faculty might not have as much experience in this area, and therefore could not agree with the statement. Whatever the reason, more responses were still negative, and this consensus was supported by the next question as well. Question 6 was a Yes or No question that was designed as a lead in question to the first round open -ended Delphi question on Information Needs, and as a follow up question to Question 5. It asked, In your opinion, would improv ed information on certain topics enhance long term planning? Skip logic was also embedded into the web survey instrument, so that if the respondent chose Yes, it would go to the next question, and if the respondent chose No, it would skip the next que stion and move on to the next section. Every single respondent chose Yes. The unanimous positive response to Question 6 reinforces the possibility of a negative consensus on Question 5, by suggesting that stakeholders could definitely use improved inform ation and might not have sufficient access to or are able to find information necessary to make planning decisions.
55 The first round Delphi question on Information Needs in the TCAA, Question 7, was presented in the form of an open -ended survey question wit h three response blanks, numbered 1, 2, and The question read, On which topics would improved information most enhance long term planning? (List up to three) After cleaning and categorizing the raw responses using the methods described in Chapte r 3 twenty -six distinct responses from nine academic faculty respondents yielded six main categories of information needs and sixty distinct responses from twenty two area stakeholder respondents yielded five main categories and fifteen sub -categories of information needs (see Table 4 1 for categorized responses and Appendix E for raw responses). The area stakeholder pre-workshop main categories incorporated many topics under single headings, and therefore 15 different sub-categories were identified in a ll. In fact, some of the sub -categories had more responses than some of the main categories, and it was discussed whether or not the larger main categories should have been broken up into smaller ones to allow the workshop participants to aggregate them if they thought necessary. It should be noted that not all responses fell into a sub -category, and some responses were included under the main category heading. Also, note that all sub -categories are listed in order from mo st to least responses received. Asi de from the greatest difference between the groups being the volume of individual responses, which was because more than twice as many stakeholders participated in the study, there are many similarities between the two sets of categories for information needs required for planning decisions in the TCAA. The categories of each group are easily related to each other in terms of scope and rank by number of responses in each category. For example, the top category in the academic faculty group was Alternative L and use Patterns and Good Growth, which
56 also was a sub category under the top category in the stakeholder group, Growth, Development and Planning. The next category in the academic group, Economics: Agricultural and Natural Resource Values, did not have the volume or diversity of responses to warrant splitting it into separate categories, but it can be correlated to the second and third categories in the stakeholder group, Importance and Value of Natural Lands, and Importance and Value of Agriculture. Fur thermore, each of the stakeholder groups second and third categories had a sub -category related to economics, Economic/Tourism Value, and Longterm Viability and Profitability of Agriculture, respectively. Finally, the academic faculty groups third and f ourth response categor ies for information needs were Effects of Development on Environment and Water Quality, and Limited Water Supply and Diminishing Quality, both of which also relate to the stakeholder groups fourth category, Water Supply, and its sub -category, Water Quality. Therefore, it can be shown that each group more or less gave the same major categories for information needs for planning decisions, except the categorization process yielded somewhat different titles because the stakeholder group had many more responses to capture. At the workshops, after survey results leading up to this question were reported, the pre categorized responses were displayed to each group. The number of responses in each main category was shown as well, and the cate gorization process was briefly explained before the discussion began. To kick-start the discussion, before any comments were made, the secondround Delphi question on Information Needs was asked, Are you satisfied with these categories as they are? Respo nse choices were Yes, No, or Not Sure. ResponseCard s were then used to collect panelists answers, and the results were displayed immediately after. Results of this question were, first, a measure of how well the pre -workshop categorization of the fi rst round responses captured all the responses, and second, a measure of how well the panelists thought the
57 rest of the groups responses reflected or complemented their own opinions. In the academic faculty group, every participant was satisfied with the categories except for only one of the five 20%, who was Not Sure. The stakeholder group also had a high level of satisfaction from the beginning. All were satisfied except for two participants of the eight who voted on this question (one panelist was la te to the workshop), 25%, who responded Not Sure. So, based on the fact that no panelists were unsatisfied, and very few were not sure, it appears that the initial pre workshop categorization of the responses to the Information Needs question was success ful in reflecting almost all of the raw responses, and that each group offered a sufficient quality and quantity of responses. Then each workshop took a slightly different direction because of the discussion format. Primer discussion questions were first d isplayed to the participants. They read: Was anyth ing left out or miscategorized? Would anyone like to elaborate on or justify any specific responses? Would anyone like to add a new response, combine two or take one away? and Why should each respons e be included? The number of workshop participants in the academic faculty group was significantly smaller than the area stakeholder group (five compared to nine) and consequently the discussion was perceived as being more manageable without strict mode ration. So, the academic faculty members were given greater freedom during each discussion than the area stakeholders. Faculty members were called upon in no particular order, whereas stakeholders were called upon in rounds of comments for each modified pr imer question, which closely followed a three phase consensus -building technique from Breaking Roberts Rules as described in Chapter 3 This change was made after the academic faculty workshop participants continued their discussion right up until the end of their time allotment. The change was primarily incorporated due to time constrains, although other minor issues, such
58 as contention within the stakeholders group, were also considered However, the time restrictive nature of the stakeholder groups dis cussion structure may have also hindered the discussion content as well. The academic faculty had a long, but orderly discussion on the information needs for planning decisions, and made several changes to the list of categories before deciding to vote ag ain on their satisfaction with the list. They left Alternative Land use Patterns and Good Growth untouched along with Limited Water Supply and Diminishing Quality, and Transportation The main category, Economics: Agricultural and Natural Resource Value s was changed during the discussion by replacing and with /, and adding two sub-categories, Market and Non -Market Values and Environmental Asset Identification & Conservation, which was removed as a main category altogether. The faculty then chan ged Development in Effects of Development on Environment and Water Quality to Land use, resulting in Effects of Landuse on Environment and Water Quality. Finally, they added a new category, Effects of Climate Change on Land-Use, Environment and Wat er Qual i ty/Quantity; and 'vice versa' Unbeknownst to the academic faculty group, the addition of this theme completed the comparison between each groups main response classifications. It was the only topic area missing that was mentioned in the first ro und responses by area stakeholders but not by academic faculty. After a lengthy discussion, the level of satisfaction was voted on again, and this time everyone was satisfied with the list of topics (see Table 4 2) The area stakeholders discussion moved more quickly, because the consensus building technique used kept a fast discussion pace, even though there were more participants. The only topic that was not changed by the stakeholder group was Importance and Value of Natural Lands. Adding for Sustaina ble Development/Carrying Capacity modified the category Growth,
59 Development and Planning to make Growth, Development and Planning for Sustainable Development/Carrying Capacity. The panelists also decided that Climate Change/Sea level rise could now be i ncluded within this new broad er theme, so it was removed from the list. The category Importance and Value of Agriculture was further qualified by adding Versus Development Economics. Several sub-categories joined with the Water Supply heading to create Water Supply, Quality and Conservation. Once these changes were made, a new count was taken for satisfaction, and this time only one person was not sure. However, when the discussion was re -opened, there were only some comments made, but no real suggestions to further change the categories. A satisfaction vote was then conducted again, and this time every single panelist was satisfied (see Table 4 2) Both groups eventually reached unanimous agreement on the most important categories. However, the a cademic group had much more discussion on them, and changed the original categories to more transformed versions than the stakeholder group by creating full new topics and sub topics. A richer, longer discussion in the academic group reached unanimous satisfactio n after only 2 rounds, while the stakeholder group took 3 rounds of voting to reach full s atisfaction with their categories However, only one stakeholder panelist was Not sure on the second round, and just wanted to make one more comment before affirmin g the categories. These results imply that longer rounds of less inhibited discussion will yield better, more agreed upon results in fewer total rounds On the other hand, a heavily moderated discussion resulted in resistance by participants who extend ed the number of rounds for another chance at providing input in order to better explain their position Input in t he Growth Management Process a nd Conflicts This section inquired about whether or not different stakeholders groups have an equal input into th e growth management process. The section consisted of five Likert -scale questions,
60 two multiple -choice lead -in questions, and two open-ended possible first round Delphi questions that were not ultimately selected for further discussion at the workshops. Si nce, the open-ended questions were not selected for discussion, the results of this section were not reported during workshops, due mainly to time constraints. The overall level of consensus was very low on this section, compared to others. Negative conse nsus was identified though, on questions 8.2, 8.4 and 8.5 for both groups. Question 8.2 stated that the public is aware of how to participate in the growth management process. Question 8.4 stated that interactions between the public and government bodies w ith regards to growth management are positive and free of conflict. Question 8.5 proposed the same situation as 8.4, except between government, private institutions, and academia. The academic faculty group had a higher level of consensus than the area sta keholder group for each of these questions, with no positive answers received at all on 8.2 and 8.4, and only one person who agreed with the statement on 8.5. These results show that the respondents generally feel that the public does not know how to parti cipate in the growth management process, and that the interactions with regards to growth management are not always free of conflict. The most polarized results in this section were questions on Questions 8.1 and 8.3, which leaned toward agreement, but we re heavily split. Question 8.1 read, Florida's growth management process is conducted with input from a wide variety of stakeholders. Question 8.3 stated that a variety of stakeholders participate in the growth management process in the TCAA. For both gr oups, responses were more substantially more positive for question 8.1 than 8.3, even though a large percentage of respondents disagreed with both. The stakeholder group had 59.1% of respondents agree with 8.1, and only 36.4% disagree, leaving only 4.5% who chose Neither while the academic group had similar response frequencies. In both groups, the amount of
61 Neither responses was much lower for question 8.1 than 8.3, which could mean that less respondents were informed on the make up of participants in the growth management process in the TCAA compared to the state of Florida in general. The next question, 9, asked, In your opinion, do some stakeholder groups influence the growth management process more than other stakeholder groups? and offered the c hoices Yes, No, or Dont Know/Not Sure. Here, every single respondent chose Yes. Both groups completely agreed that some stakeholder groups influence the growth management process more than others. While the open ended questions of this section wer e not discussed, the results were still interesting. Question 10 asked, In your opinion, which stakeholder groups have the strongest influence on the growth management process? (List up to three). The academic groups 22 distinct responses fell into 8 ma in categories and t he stakeholder groups 52 unique responses fell into 8 main categories, with one sub -category (see Table 4 3). It is evident that there was some coincidence among the responses between each group, and this would have made an excellent di scussion session, had the resources and participants to represent each group been available. The section went on to ask another multiple -choice question as a prelude to an open ended question. Question 11 asked, In your opinion, are there some particular issues related to growth management in the TCAA that are often sources of conflict? and offered the choices Yes or No. Again, responses were a unanimous yes. Question 12 then asked, In your opinion, which issues related to growth management in the TC AA are sources of conflict? (List up to three) Results from Question 12 were not categorized through the same rigorous process as the other open -ended questions, and therefore, the results will not be reported here.
62 Understanding t he Effects o f Developm ent a nd Incentives for New Growth Strategies This section had eight Likert -scale questions, followed by an open-ended question that was not selected for discussion in the Delphi workshops but which was reported. Questions 13.1 and 13.2 asked about whether or not the effects of traditional commercia l and residential development on environmental quality are well understood by the public, and those involved in land use planning decisions respectively. While the response was clearly negative for the public on question 13.1 for both groups, the responses to question 13.2 were far more divergent for stakeholders than academics. Stakeholder group respondents were split on the issue, 47.6% disagreed, and 42.9% agreed. Academic group respondents had a clear negative consensus, with 66.7% disagreement with the statement (see Figure 4 5) This shows that the stakeholder group is much more divided on the issue of whether those involved in land use planning decisions understand the effects of development on the environmen t. Questions 13.3 and 13.4 both ask about whether the public and those involved in planning decisions understand the effects of green development (e.g. LEED certified green buildings, low impact development technologies) on environmental quality Both q uestions lean toward negative consensus for both groups, except question 13.3 about the publics understanding has a much greater nega tive consensus than 13.4 about those involved in landuse planning. Also, the stakeholder group responses are more diverse than the academic group responses implying that as a group academic faculty are more sure that those involved in land use planning decisions do not fully understand the effects of green development on the environment (see Figure 4 7) Question 13.5 shows clear positive consensus, indicating, Additional policies, programs and/or educational efforts are needed to encourage the use of green develop ment technologies and standards (see Figure 4 3). Question 13.7 showed a large negative consensus, with 76.2% of stakeholder group respondents, and 100% of academic group respondents who disagreed with
63 the statement, Information on the environmental effects of commercial and residential development is adequately considered in local land use planning decisions. A strong level of consensus was also present in questions 13.8 and 13.9, which are the same statement except for the state of Florida and the TCAA respectively. Question 14 asked, In your opinion, what are the top three environmental quality issues, i mpacts or concerns in the TCAA? (List up to three) The results were quite unified on this question, falling into only a handful of categories: Water Resource Issues, Quality and Quantity; and Land -Use/Landscape Change, Habitat Loss Urban Sprawl, Loss of Agricultural Lands. Survey results and Delphi Q content analysis were presented at the workshop, but were not discussed in either workshop, simply due to time constraints and similarity to second Delphi question on Water Quality issues. Agricultural Best Management Practices This group of questions focused on Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs). Question 15.1 stated, Voluntary Best Management Practice (BMP) programs for agricultural producers are an effective approach to reducing negative envir onmental impacts. No consensus was reached on this question. Question 16 asked, In your opinion, which types of programs are the most effective at changing individuals behavior? and gave the choices 1) Regulatory, 2) Voluntary, and 3) Incentive/Market -based. The largest number of respondents chose Incentive/Market -based, 77.4%, including all of the academic group respondents, but the vague and overlapping wording of question 16 might have had an effect on the responses. These s urvey results were reporte d, but no discussion took place other than on the wording of question 16. Causes Of Environmental Quality Degradation In The TCAA And St. Johns River The last set of questions was formatted as 7 Likert -scale questions with a final open-ended first round D elphi question. Question 17.1, which stated, In the TCAA, there is enough
64 information available about the causes of environmental quality degradation, had slightly more negative than positive responses, and many Neither responses among stakeholders wh ich resulted in a lack of consensus for their group on this question while academic group respondents had a nearly unanimous negative consensus, except for one positive response This question exhibits a clear disconnect between academic faculty and area stakeholder respondents. The same pattern occurs, in questions 17.2 and 17.3, which ask about the level of understanding among the public and local governments, respectively, of causes of water quality degradation in the St. Johns River Basin. The series of questions from Q17.217.5 focused on the understanding of causes of water quality impairment in the St. Johns River among the general public the local governments, state government and federal government respectively As the questions move from the ge neral public to the federal government, the aggregate mean response increases regularly from 2.13 to 2.38 to 2.71 in questions 17.2, 17.3 and 17.4 respectively. Then, at the federal level, in Q17.5 the combined mean response for both groups dropped slightl y to 2.59. In Q17.1, 17.2 and 17.3 the academic group showed a negative consensus, while the stakeholders had little or no consensus (see Figure 4 8) The first impression from the data collected is that the public has the least understanding of the causes of water quality degradation T he data also infers that l ocal governments have more understanding than the general public. However, the State of Florida and the Federal Government are perceived as having more understanding on issues of water quality degra dation in the St. Johns River than both local TCAA governments and the general public. The same trend is followed by the standard deviation for this particular topic Standard deviation for both groups combined increases from 1.09 to 1.18 to 1.19 to 1.29 i n Q17.217.5 respectively. The implication in this case is that both groups are more confident that the public knows less
65 than the local governments than they are about the federal government having less understanding than the state government on issues of water quality degradation in the St. Johns River Questions 17.6 and 17.7 both asked about communication of environmental quality information across local, state and federal government, academia and the private sector. Question 17.6 asked if this communic ation is good and 17.7 asked if it can be improved. A clear nonconsensus was be observed on 17.6 (see Figure 46) while a clear positive consensus was observed on 17.7 (see Figure 4 4). Question 18 asked, In your opinion, what are the main causes of wa ter quality impairment in the St. Johns River? (List up to three) The categorized responses for each group shared many features, and could have been broadly categorized in similar fashions, so the pre -workshop categorization process was quite challenging The following categories are listed in order of number of responses received for each one. The stakeholder groups 65 distinct responses yielded 7 categories, and t he academic groups 26 distinct responses yielded 4 main categories (see Table 4 5). The a cademic group richly discussed this theme, but the stakeholder group would not open up as much about it, conceding to accept that all causes of impairment were accurately represented. The causes for this disparity can be attributed to several factors inclu ding the groups dynamics, expectation about the exercise s goals and the format followed on each session. Another possibility is the composition of the groups, which in the case of the academics, was much more homogenous. Both groups then chose their top three categories, which were very broad, but did include all major sources of pollution. However, the broad scope of final categories could have possibly been a product of broad pre -workshop categorization/content analysis. The academic faculty group, after much discussion, reduced their main causes of water quality degradation to three categories: Urban, Agricultural, and Industrial. The area stakeholder
66 group reduced their list only by combining Loss of Habitat/Wetlands with Land -Use Change as a sub -categ ory, moving the Development sub-category to the main heading with Land -Use Change, and by removing Boaters from the Miscellaneous ca tegory, leaving only Invasives (see Table 4 6). The academic stakeholder panelists redefined the Delphi question at their workshop, as the result of a discussion about the meaning of the original Delphi question wording. They pointed out that the question did not specify exactly from where they should consider pollution sources, the TCAA alone, or the TCAA and upstream sources. The question definition made a big difference in their ranking responses. So, to maintain consistency and comparability for between the two workshops, the question was asked once for the first definition, which specified only sources in the TCAA, and once for the second definition, including sources in the TCAA and upstream sources. However, this was not at all a concern expressed at the stakeholder workshop, even after it was clarified and both definitions were incorporated into the workshop agenda for consistency. For the academic group, responses clear showed a switching of panelists top response choice based on the specified question definition, all but one person switched their responses. For the stakeholder group, no respondents at all changed their top response based on question definition, and only a single respondent changed their second choice response. The academic group was almost entirely in agreement, except for one panelist, when asked to rank the causes of water quality impairment f rom the TCAA alone, and they reached full unanimity when asked to rank the causes for the TCAA and upstream. The prevailing ranking for only the TCAA sources ranking was 1) Agricultural, 2) Urban, and 3) Industrial. For sources in the TCAA and upstream, ev ery panelist agreed the rank was 1) Urban, 2) Agricultural, and 3) Industrial. The
67 stakeholder group did not have such levels of agreement among its panelists. The prevalent ranking order for causes within the TCAA and including upstream sources was the s ame because only one person changed their second and third response choices: 1) Non point Sources, 2) Development/ Landuse Change: a. Loss of Habitat/Wetlands; 3) Point Sources. Among the stakeholders, NonPoint Sources was the top response in both rounds with only two respondents selecting Land -Use Change as their highest ranked response. However, the second and third choice responses were not agreed upon, as well, and could have benefited from additional rounds of discussion and ranking to build further consensus. F ollow -Up Survey The follow up survey (see Appendix F) was administered as a web survey, and invitations were sent out the day immediately after the stakeholder workshop. It reported back the results of both workshops to all workshop participa nts, and asked for their feedback on the results, as well as the workshop format itself. The follow up survey received 9 complete responses of a possible 14 workshop participants to whom it was sent, for a total response rate of 64.3%. However the response rates for each group individually differed greatly. The academic faculty group had 4 out of 5 respondents, an 80% response rate, while the area stakeholder group had only 5 out of 9 respondents, a 55.6% response rate. The questions in the follow up survey all built upon one another for each discussion question. For the Information Needs Delphi question, respondents were shown the final categories for both groups, and asked three open -ended questions. The first question asked, Which category would you say will be the most useful to gather information on? (Choose one from either group, or combine two and rephrase). This question sought to determine the highest ranking category from each respondent. The next question followedup, In that category, what
68 spec ific topic would you want researched? The third question concluded, Why is this topic important? How will it affect long -term land use planning decisions? Responses to each of these questions were surprisingly similar to one another, and did not seem t o hold along lines of expert association or affiliation as much as the pre -workshop survey. For the first question, a majority of respondents, 44.4%, combined part of the first academic group category with the first stakeholder group category. They came up with titles such as, Good Growth Patterns and Carrying Capacity, Alternative Land -Use Patterns for Sustainable Development/ Carrying Capacity, and Smart growth planning (good growth and sustainable development). Two more respondents selected just the first stakeholder group category or at least part of it. So, the top categories from each group together claimed two thirds of the responses to the most useful information needs question. A distant runner up was the second academic group category, Eco nomics: Agricultural/ Natural Resource Values with two respondents who chose this category. Finally, one respondent chose the third stakeholder group category, Importance and value of Agriculture versus development economics which is actually quite si milar to the second academic group category. So, it can be assumed that based on these responses the most useful categories t o gather more information on for longterm planning decisions would be some combination of Alternative Land use Patterns & Good Growth, and Growth, Development & Planning for Sustainable Development / Carrying Capacity The second most useful main categories would be Economics: Agricultural / Natural Resource Values and Importance & Value of Agriculture versus Development Ec onomics. The individual topics within those categories could be grouped into three topic areas, 1) Market & Non -market values of major land use types, including: full cost/benefit analysis for the short and long term horizons, and effects of different lan d uses and agriculture on the environment and
69 economy of the region; 2) Carrying capacity calculations for different growth scenarios and development trends, while taking into account: land, water, roads, schools, and carbon footprints ; and finally 3) Envi ronmental Asset Identification and Preservation: Identifying priority focus areas to protect the environment. The responses to the second set of questions, which ask about the cause of water quality impairment that needs the most attention, also coincided with one another. The first question asked which category needed the most attention, and three respondents said Non -Point Sources, while another three said Development / Land -Use Change. One respondent said Urban, and another Agricultural, and the final r espondent said Non -Point Sources (agricultural and urban). Point sources and industrial sources were not mentioned at all, so, based on these responses, Non -Point Urban and Agricultural sources, as well as Development / Land -Use Change are the categories of sources of pollution which need the most attention. The next question asked about the specific topics in those categories that should be researched. For the three respondents that chose the NonPoint Sources category, one respondent said urban and agri cultural non point sources, and another said that residential lawn runoff, especially from large housing developments and golf courses should be studied, while the last respondent who chose the non point source category, also responded Non-point sources for the topic within that category. Out of the three respondents who said that land use and development is the category of impairment that needs the most attention, they all said that urban sources were the topic that they would want researched for fertili zer use, landscaping, buf fer design, impermeable surfaces, and septic tank discharge. The respondent who chose urban sources as the category in need of the most attention, listed nonpoint sources as the topic that they would want researched. The respondent who chose the category of agriculture, said that they would want non -point sources researched, such as
70 fertilizer and pesticide runoff. Finally, the respondent who chose Non-point sources (urban and agricultural) as their main category could not select a single topic with the reasoning that a balanced policy is needed, rather than focus on one cause. So, even though the responses to this set of questions were more diverse than the first set, there is still some agreement among respondents that non -point u rban sources need the most attention and research, and to a slightly lesser extent, non -point agricultural sources also need attention and new research.
71 Figure 4 1. Q uestion 2.1 survey responses. Figure 4 2. Q uestion 2. 8 survey responses. 66.7% 33.3% 43.5% 52.2% 4.3%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly AgreeFrequency Academic Stakeholder 22.2% 77.8% 5.0% 10.0% 85.0%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly AgreeFrequency Academic Stakeholder
72 Fig ure 4 3. Q uestion 13. 5 survey responses. Figure 4 4. Q uestion 17. 7 survey responses. 33.3% 66.7% 4.8% 4.8% 28.6% 61.9%10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0% 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly AgreeFrequency Academic Stakeholder 22.2% 77.8% 4.5% 9.1% 45.5% 40.9%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly AgreeFrequency Academic Stakeholder
73 Figure 4 5. Q uestion 13. 2 survey responses. Figure 4 6. Q uestion 17. 6 survey responses. 22.2% 44.4% 11.1% 22.2% 19.0% 28.6% 9.5% 42.9%0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly AgreeFrequency Academic Stakeholder 25.0% 37.5% 12.5% 25.0% 27.3% 36.4% 4.5% 31.8%0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly AgreeFrequency Academic Stakeholder
74 Figure 4 7. Q uestion 13. 4 survey responses. Figure 4 8. Q uestion 17. 3 survey responses. 11.1% 66.7% 11.1% 11.1% 23.8% 33.3% 9.5% 33.3%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly AgreeFrequency Academic Stakeholder 22.2% 44.4% 22.2% 11.1% 26.1% 39.1% 4.3% 26.1% 4.3%0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly AgreeFrequency Academic Stakeholder
75 T able 4 1. Information-needs f irst round Delphi question categorized responses n Academic faculty group n Area stakeholder group 8 Alternative land use patterns and good growth 29 Growth, development and planning Tr ends in growth projections and limitations Alternative land use patterns and good growth Communication about the planning process Economics and impacts of growth and development Visioning Comprehensive plans Property rights Unchecked growth urban spr awl Alternative transportation 6 Economics: agricultural and natural resource values 12 Importance and value of natural lands Conservation lands, easements and corridors Wetlands Natural and cultural resource identification Economic/tourism value 6 Effec ts of development on environment and water quality 11 Importance and value of agriculture Long term viability and profitability of agriculture Food security 3 Limited water supply and diminishing quality 5 Water supply Water quality 2 Transportation 3 Cl imate change/sea level rise 1 Environmental asset identification and preservation Table 4 2. Information-needs re -categorized responses from Delphi workshops Academic faculty group Area stakeholder group Alternative land use patterns & good grow th Growth, development & planning for sustainable development/carrying capacity Economics: agricultural/natural resource values a Market and nonmarket values b. Environmental asset identification & conservation Importance & value of natural lands Effects of land use on environment and water quality Importance & value of agriculture versus development economics Limited water supply and diminishing quality Water supply, quality & conservation Transportation Effects of climate change on land use, environmen t and water quality/ quantity; and 'vice versa'
76 Table 4 3. Stakeholder influence first round Delphi question categorized responses n Academic faculty group n Area stakeholder group 9 Land developers & real estate 22 Land developers & development in terests Home builders 5 State and local government agencies and individuals 9 State and local government agencies and individuals 3 Special interest & environmental conservation groups 6 Land owners 1 Agricultural interest 6 Vocal, special interest grou ps 1 Local businesses and tourism 2 Local businesses 1 Land holding companies 2 Well organized, focused groups 1 Lawyers 1 Large corporations 1 Unknown/secret organizations 1 Tourism Table 4 4. Environmental quality first round Delphi question ca tegorized responses n Academic faculty group n Area stakeholder group 9 Land use/landscape change Impact of human development Preservation of natural Lands loss of agricultural lands 31 Water resource issues Water quality o St. Johns river water quality is sues Water quantity o Water supply protection 8 Water quality 20 Land use change impacts on habitat, wetlands, and conservation lands Habitat loss Wildlife corridors and land conservation Wetland development 7 Water quantity 6 Loss of agricultural lands Su staining local food sources 4 Habitat loss 5 Agricultural management practices Utilization of agricultural bmps Pesticide and fertilizer use 4 Urban sprawl and over development 2 Effects of climate change
77 Table 4 5. St. Johns River wate r quality impairment first round Delphi question categorized responses n Academic faculty group n Area stakeholder group 13 Urb an development/land use change Urban stormwater runoff Population growth Soil disturbance/changes in soil quality 23 Non point sources of pollution Urban/stormwater runoff Nutrient loading from fertilizers Agricultural runoff Agricultural/residential standards & practices 7 Pollution from agricultural runoff 22 Point sources of pollution Industrial discharges Wastewater treatmen t plant discharges Septic tank discharges 4 Point source pollution from wastewater treatment and industry 12 Land use change Residential growth & development Proximity of landuse change to the river Past land use decisi ons affecting current situation 1 Economics/ water pricing 2 Loss of habitat/wetlands 2 Lack of information and public support 2 Withdrawals for other uses 2 Miscellaneous natural and human impacts Invasive species Boaters Table 4 6. St. Johns River water quality impairment re -categorized, ranked responses from Delphi workshops Rank Academic faculty group Rank Area stakeholder group 1 Urban 1 Non point sources 2 Agricultural 2 Development/land use change Loss of habitat/wetlands 3 Industrial 3 Point sources Lack of information/public support Withdrawals for other uses Invasive species Note: Group ranking order indicated for each category that received votes.
78 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS Hypotheses Revisited The initial goal of the research was to test the follo wing three hypotheses: 1) Differences in opinion exist among different groups of experts about the primary source of, and therefore response to, degradation of water quality in the St. Johns River in the TCAA. 2) Differences in opinion exist among different groups of experts about the primary information needs for planning decisions, and therefore response to, growth management in the TCAA. 3) The results of separate Delphi method consensus building process es will exhibit some differences between the groups of academic experts and stakeholder experts participating in each interaction. The first hypothesis was that differences in opinion exist among different groups of experts about the primary source of, and therefore response to, degradation of water qualit y in the St. Johns River in the TCAA. This study found that there are some differences among different groups of experts, namely academic faculty and area stakeholders, about the primary source of water quality degradation in the St. Johns River in the TCA A. Both groups categorized the sources of water quality degradation somewhat differently, but both groups categorized the sources very broadly as well. As shown in the follow up survey, the top main categories of water quality impairment for each group cou ld easily be modifiers for one another. For example, non point sources, the highest response in the stakeholder group could easily modify either top response in the academic group: urban or agricultural. Moreover, the stakeholder groups second highest cau se of water quality impairment, Development / Land use Change: a. Loss of Habitat / Wetlands could also be a symptom of either urban or agricultural land use changes. Finally, the third highest category for stakeholders was point sources, which can easil y be attributed to the third category for the academic group, industrial causes. Furthermore, the responses were
79 categorized before the workshops took place, and the initial categories that were presented may have influenced the outcome. So, it seems as if the first hypothesis was incorrect, and that for the most part, the stakeholder groups do not have such great differences in opinion about the causes of water quality degradation in the St. Johns River. The second hypothesis being tested was that differen t groups of experts would have a difference in opinion on the information needs for planning decisions. In question 5 on the pre workshop survey, more stakeholder group experts than academic faculty experts agreed that TCAA stakeholders have sufficient acc ess to and can find reliable information that is necessary to make planning decisions. On the following question though, not one person denied the assertion that improved information on certain topics would enhance long term planning. The discussion of inf ormation needs at each workshop yielded lists of categories that were similar to each other, not only in content but also in their order as well. In fact, follow -up survey respondents from both group s of experts combined information-needs categories from e ach group to create new areas of research that they thought would be the most useful to gather more information on. Therefore, hypothesis two has not held up very well either, and it cannot be said that there is a significant difference of opinion among ar ea stakeholders a nd academic faculty on the information needs for planning decisions in the TCAA. The third hypothesis wa s that the results of the Delphi consensus building process would exhibit some differences between the area stakeholders and academic faculty. The keyword in the previous sentence is some, meaning that any feature of the Delphi results from either group would be different from the other. This hypothesis served as the most general assumption to prove, if the other two hypotheses could n ot be proved true
80 The two groups of experts exhibited the greatest di fferences o n select ed questions i n the preliminary survey, and in the ir level of dialogue during the group discussions. In the live workshops, t he academic faculty group reached a much greater level of consensus on each of the Delphi questions, than the area stakeholders. For the Delphi question on information needs, only one round was needed to reach a unanimous agreement on the categories. The second Delphi question, on causes of water quality impairment, also exhibited a much greater level of consensus for the academic faculty group, compared to the area stakeholder group. Not only did the academic faculty group tend to agree with each other more, but they also had better workshop part icipation rates and follow up survey response rates than the area stakeholder group. So, altogether testing these hypotheses was not an overwhelming success, as two of the hypotheses were found not to be true. However, the third hypothesis proved to be mos t plausible, while not outright obvious, but there definitely were some differences between the two groups on their responses to Delphi questi ons asked during the workshop. Success of Workshops Any measurement of success is subjective based upon who de fines it, and how it is defined for any given situation. The Delphi workshops had one main goal of capturing consensus and bringing together those who are familiar with issues in the TCAA. Overall the workshops were quite successful in the fact that they w ere able to generate some level of consensus among the participants in each group individually, and between both groups. While analyzing survey responses, the s imilarities in results between the groups turned out to be much greater than expected. Out of 47 survey questions, only 5 questions had a one unit difference in median response from one group to the other. In each case, one of the median responses was 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, while the other would be on either side of the
81 Liskert -scale. This means that on almost 90% of the questions, more than half of the respondents from each group felt the same way as each other. Another interesting point was that the academic groups response rate to the original pre workshop survey, was far less than the stakeholder groups. However, as the study progressed, the academic group response rate to each subsequent round, such as the workshop and follow up survey, increased, while the response rate of the area stakeholders decreased from round to round. This co uld indicate that the initial list of potential respondents for the academic group was too ambitious, or that only those who were truly knowledgeable about the area responded. It could also indicate that as the stakeholders realized this study was primaril y for research purposes, and they could not see the end results as being helpful, their participation levels decreased. Even though the survey results were quite similar, despite the sample sizes, d ifferences in the quality of discussions at the live Delp hi interactions were much greater than a nticipated, but this could have been attributed to several different factors. The academic faculty group discussion on both topics was rich, and examined each possibility carefully. The area stakeholder discussion wa s bland, and no panelists seem to take any real issue with the topics presented or comments that were made by other panelists. The academic faculty engaged in lively debate amongst each other, while the moderators tried to keep up with the quick pace of di scussion and make sure that they were capturing all that was said. The area stakeholders refrained from addressing each other, instead of the moderators, and further comments and opinions had to be coaxed out of them. It is possible that these major diffe rences could have been moderator and/ or discussion format induced or the may have just been inherent in the group members relationship with one
82 another. First, the iterative commenting (or round robin style) consensus -building discussion format in the stakeholder group was so strictly adhered to that it may have stifled some participants from voicing their opinions. The academic faculty group was allowed more freedom to speak at length on a subject, with less moderation to cut them off, because there we re far fewer participants. Another possibility may have been because of the comfort level among participants The academic faculty group members were all university employees at the same university, even though they may have had different specializations and worked in different departments, it was still a homogeneous group of people in terms of affiliation. On the other hand, the area stakeholder group was a heterogeneous group of individuals, made up from many different types of professions and affiliatio ns from non -governmental organization representatives to state government, county government, and local government employees, to county extension agents. Before the workshop, it was not known how these individuals normally interact in their professional re lationships with one another on a daily basis. If there was any contention between the panelists or the organizations they represented, it did not show during this workshop, because of each panelists predisposition to be cordial rather than confrontationa l. Finally, the lack of a clear goal, consequence or outcome other than for the sake of research, seemed like a big deterrent in the stakeholder group discussion, whereas the academic group had no problem with doing research just for the sake of it It s eemed as if they more genuinely enjoyed expressing their viewpoints than did the stakeholders, who kept more to themselves, agreed with the group more, and seemed as if they did not want to cause any trouble if there wasnt anything at stake that would rea lly affect them. This phenomenon could have also been a result of how the two different groups deal with problems they face on a day -to -day basis. The academic faculty group is usually more involved in abstract research and theoretical
83 problems, so it is l ikely that they were more inclined to discuss the broad aspects of growth management and environmental quality issues than the area stakeholder group. The area stakeholder group is usually more involved in solving concrete problems with defined structure a nd clear outcomes, so it is likely they were less comfortable discussing such broad issues, with no explicit consequences, among a group of people whom they may or may not normally get along with. In summary, it appears that stakeholders need to be motivat ed by more than just an interesting discussion. Perhaps they need to feel like theyre really accomplishing something to become engaged, and this might have been especially true for participants of such high caliber. Insight s into Future Delphi & Consensus Building Techniques One of the primary objectives of this research, other than assessing knowledge and perceptions, and determining consensus on specific topics, was to explore the dynamics of group interactions and the consensus building processes themse lves. The first point worth noting is on g roup dynamics It would have been extremely beneficial to investigate exactly who was attending in terms of what responsibilities they have, which other groups or individuals they normally deal with, and how they m ay potentially interact with other panelists. This could have been accomplished through personal communications and an extended literature review including news sources, meeting minutes, and other relevant public records If all background info rmation were available, and the dynamics of how these individuals would normally interact with one another on a day-to -day basis while in the course of performing their normal work duties were known, then the discussion format could have been altered to accommodate these nuances Several techniques might have been employed to help meet the needs of panelists in order to encourage a better discussion. If perhaps, it was discovered that any of the people in attendance ha d prior animosity toward another person or organiz ation that a person represents,
84 which they may bring to the discussion or might cause them not to participate to the fullest, then an alternate person could be delegated to avoid this situation. Another solution could have been to break the large single gr oup discussion into several shorter, smaller sessions, making sure to separate individuals who do not have any resentment toward each other but while still keeping the groups make up heterogeneous A somewhat different approach would be not to have a he terogeneous group discussion at all and instead, hold multiple smaller homogeneous group interactions. This method might have actually worked better, as well as yielded better results because the opinions and outcomes of each individual group would have be en clearly distinguishable and comparable. However, one drawback of this approach is that the logistics of holding numerous workshops would become cumbersome, in addition to the added difficulty of making sure the formatting between each workshop stayed co nsistent. A fourth option to mitigate the reluctance of panelists to express their true opinions would have been to completely eliminate the real time Delphi component of the study. In the real time workshops, the informed consent documents, which partici pants signed at the start, reassured them that their name would not be published in any reports about the study. Even though every effort was made to make each participants responses to the Delphi questions anonymous by using the TurningPoint ResponseCard system, comments in between voting were still heard by the group. Furthermore, even though the workshop environment was not open to the public, nor were any public announcements made about them, some interested guests of panel members attended to sit in o n the sessions. So, if another panelist or their guest, who was not part of the study, decided to repeat what they heard at the workshop there is nothing to prevent that from happening. Using only a conventional Delphi method approach instead of the
85 real t ime workshops would have kept every participants responses anonymous throughout the process, and may have allowed them to be more candid, knowing that they would definitely not be associated with any statements they made during the process. On the other h and, the different levels of interaction exhibited in both of the two groups demonstrated clear differences between them that otherwise may not have been noticeable. Finally the simplest, and probably most effective method of encouraging better participati on from the stakeholder Delphi panel members would have been to just a llow the discussion to flow, rather than stifle it for the sake of keeping within a set time frame Even if the workshop were to run over the time allocated for it but everyone was acti vely engaged in the discussion it would be better than finishing early or on time, and not having any one with anything to say. Future Impacts Economics is the study of human behavior. This study will contribute to furthering the knowledge of human behavio r by expanding upon disciplinary research on the Delphi method and consensus building techniques, as well as be applied to real -world issues of planning, growth management, and pollutant mitigation. The l essons learned from this study are both universal an d unique The universal lessons can easily be applied elsewhere in numerous types of Delphi method studies, consensus building techniques, and other group interactions Academia will benefit from the insights into how to better facilitate group discussions between stakeholders with possibly opposing viewpoints. The collective area of studying Delphi techniques and their applications will be able to gain better understanding of how a variation on the methodology can be implemented, and its advantages and dra wbacks. The unique lessons are exclusive to the p otential b eneficiaries of this research study which include s takeholders in TCAA, such as elected officials, government employees involved in
86 planning and land use decision -making, St. Johns River Water Ma nagement District, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, utilities, citizens advocacy groups, farmers, local business owners, and land developers, as well as university faculty in different departments who are currently conducting research in t he TCAA Each of these groups will be able to use the results from this study to better understand and appreciate other groups viewpoints on certain topics. Differences between them can be recognized more easily and addressed more effectively, with a grea ter knowledge of exactly what issues deserve the most attention and care. It will also hopefully improve the relationship of academic faculty and area stakeholders, by identifying any major differences between them or disconnects and addressing them. Uni versity faculty might also better choose research topics for future projects based on the consensus of information needs required for planning decisions and perceptions of causes of water quality impairment. Private and public sponsors of research may fund more applicable studies based on findings of this study. Finally, the results of this study will have the greatest impacts in their future application elsewhere. R esearchers in other regions of the state of Florida, and in other states facing similar issu es will be able to reapply the methods presented in this study, along with the retrospective advice on how to create a richer group discussion with a heterogeneous, and possibly contentious, group of experts.
87 APPENDIX A SITUATION ASSESSMENT Issue: How t o retain farm profitability while simultaneously supporting local and regional economic growth and residential development, conserving natural resources and open/green spaces, and preparing to implement Agricultural BMPs in order to comply with new TMDL st andards.
88 Table A 1. Situation a ssessment Stakeholders Positions Interests Power Background/Context Who are the parties or interest groups? 1) Residents 2) Farmers 3) Business Owners 4) Land Developers 5) Regulators 6) Politicians 7) Environmental Protection Agency 8) St. Johns River Water Management District 9) Utilities 10) Public interest groups 11) Foresters 12) Tourists Who has the power to make decisions? 8) SJR WMD 7) FDEP 5,6)Federal Govt 5,6) State Govt 5,6) County Govt 1,2,3) Voters 2) Ag. Producers What are they saying/doin g? What do they want? 1a) Residents are moving into the area as urban sprawl from City of Jacksonville moves south; St. Augustine beachfront communities also attract new residents to the area. They desire nice housing, scenic views, and access to nature. N ew developments are threatening productive agricultural land and green space. 2a) Farmers profits are declining due to competition from abroad, increasing input costs, and regulations on fertilization, irrigation and other practices. They are switching from food crops to ground cover or alternative crops (fruits, organics, wine, local marketing, etc.) and are sometimes faced with the option of selling their land to developers. Farmers must stay in business profitably or sell out. Why are they saying/doing it? Underlyi ng interests in the issue & desired outcomes: W hat do they really want to happen, gain or protect? 1b) Residents demand affordable housing, infrastructure, schools, hospitals and reliable, accessible transportation. 2b) Farmers would like a way to continue doing business profitably. Generally, they want fewer restrictions, regulations and less tax on farm inputs. 12b, 3b) The tourism industry needs the SJR, area beaches and camping grounds to be as clean and pristine as possible to encourag e Power, Roles and Responsibilities What gives them power, authority? Examples: Legal authority Professional position Political influence Resources What do they do? What are their responsibilities? 1c) Residents have the power to vote and influence loca l officials. They can also participate in public interest group actions, as well as attend city council meetings. 2c) Farmers have the power to determine which crops they grow, or if they grow crops at all. They can also sell their land. They can also join growers associations and other interest groups as well as voice their opinions through extension service agents. What is the larger context of the issue you are addressing? History of the issue(s) and/or relationships : Farm profits are declining and resi dential areas are expanding. As land values rise, t raditionally rural farm areas are being sold to make room for new housing developments. This n ew growth, when unchecked may increase pollution loads in SJR from urban/suburban fertilizer/pesticide runoff. What are the causes of any conflicts? Growth Management SJR listed as an impaired body of water by DEP. Establishing TMDL standards that all parties can agree upon. Planned withdrawals from SJR at headwaters as a source of drinking water for growt h in
89 Table A 1. Continued. Stakeholders Positions Interests Power Background/Context to block decisions? 10) Public interest groups Litigators 1,2,3) Voters Who are affected by decisions? Primary and secondary stakeholders? 1) Residen ts (primary) 2) Farmers (primary) Tourists Future generations (secondary) Who has relevant information or expertise? Academics (secondary) Extension agents (secondary) Who will advocate for this party or interest group? 6) County officia ls for 1,2,3) voters 7) FDEP for EPA Lawyers for 10) interest groups 3a) Local business owners rely on economic growth in the region as well as tourism. 4a) Land developers want to be able to build new residential and commercial properties. 5a) Regu lators must enforce code. 6a) Politicians are trying to work for their constituents. 7a) FDEP is the state agency responsible for enforcing compliance with environmental quality standards. 8a) The St. Johns River WMD is responsible for ensuring the avail ability and quality of water for residents in the SJR basin. 10a) Public interest groups give concerned citizens a unified voice to politicians and can also advocate causes outside of the political process through protests, petitions and awareness acts. 12a) Tourists come to enjoy natural resources in the area such as beaches and fishing along the St. Johns River. recreational activities. They want these areas to be preserved. 3b) Georgia Pacific paper company relies on a healthy forestry industry and low cost of living for workers in their paper plants. 6b) Politicians might be trying to get re elected and their duty is to represent the public in their district. 7b) FDEP answers to the EPA, which is the federal agency responsible for ensuring environment al quality by creating and enforcing standards. 8b) It is the mission of the SJRWMD to ensure water quality/quantity. 10b) Public interest groups serve as watchdogs for the environment and educate the public on issues. 4c) Big investors often back land developers. They influence development in the area by constructing new homes and businesses, which attract new residents. They can also have political influence by promising additional revenues for government revenue through taxes and by footing the bill of infrastructure construction. 6c) Local politicians have the power to sign ordinances into effect. Their role is to represent the interests of residents. 5c) State environmental agencies have the power to enforce environmental regulations. Their role is to be stewards of the environment. 10c) Public interest groups have the power to influence public opinion though advertisement. They can also exercise power by litigating against state agencies and local government. Their role is one of advocacy for special interests. Orange County. Declining Farm Revenues Voluntary BMP implementation for farmers (with nonvoluntary consequences if not implemented) Who gets along or doesnt? Are there competing interests? Public interest groups vs. SJRWMD, Land Developers Agricultural Producers vs. Land Developers, SJRWMD for implementing BMPs Are there common interests? Ag. Producers & County Extension Agents Politicians & Voters SJRWMD & FDEP What benefit would additional information on the above que stions provide? Information on each type of stakeholder and their relationships would reveal who is ready to work together and who is not.
90 APPENDIX B KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE SURVEY
97 Workshop Invitation for Area Stakeholder Group Workshop Invitation for Academic Faculty Group
99 APPENDIX C REAL TIME DELPHI WORKSHOP AGENDAS Academic Faculty Group Workshop Agenda Tri County Agricultural Area Consensus -Building Works hop February 25, 2009 1151 McCarty Hall, UF Purpose: The purpose of this group interaction is to build consensus among University of Florida faculty members with respect to growth management and environmental issues in the Tri County Agricultural Area (TCA A), comprised of Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties. Schedule: 2:30 PM Session Start Participant Registration Sign Informed Consent Documents Distribute TurningPoint Response Cards 2:35 PM Welcome & Introduction Serve Refreshments 2:40 PM Ic e breaker, Introduce TurningPoint and Response Card Check 2:50 PM Consensus Project Overview TCAA Atlas Project Presentation 3:05 PM Present Survey Results up to InformationNeeds Section Present Open -ended Responses on Information Needs 3:10 PM Ask 1st TurningPoint Question on Information Needs Show Results Discuss 1st TurningPoint Question Results 3:25 PM Ask 2nd TurningPoint Question on Information Needs Show Results If necessary, Discuss 2nd TurningPoint Question Results If necessary, As k 3rd TurningPoint Question on Information Needs 3:35 PM 10minute Break 3:45 PM Resume Session Present Rest of Survey Results Present Open -ended Responses on Environmental Quality Issues Present Open -ended Responses on Water Quality Impairment Dis cuss Open -ended Responses 4:05 PM Ask 1st TurningPoint Question on Water Quality Impairment Show Results Discuss 1st TurningPoint Question Results 4:15 PM Ask 2nd TurningPoint Question on Water Quality Impairment Show Results 4:20 PM Discuss 2nd Turn ingPoint Question Results Discuss Overall Process Collect Response Cards 4:30 PM Adjourn
100 Area Stakeholder Group Workshop Agenda Tri County Agricultural Area Consensus -Building Workshop March 5, 2009 St. Augustine, FL Purpose: The purpose of this group interaction is to build consensus among area stakeholders with respect to growth management and environmental issues in the Tri County Agricultural Area (TCAA), comprised of Flagler, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties. Schedule: 12:30 PM Session Start Parti cipant Registration Sign Informed Consent Documents Distribute TurningPoint Response Cards 12:35 PM Welcome & Introduction Serve Lunch 12:40 PM Ice breaker, Introduce TurningPoint and Response Card Check 12:50 PM Consensus Project Overview TCAA Atlas Project Presentation 1:05 PM Present Survey Results up to InformationNeeds Section Present Open -ended Responses on Information Needs 1:10 PM Ask 1st TurningPoint Question on Information Needs Show Results Discuss 1st TurningPoint Question Res ults 1:25 PM Ask 2nd TurningPoint Question on Information Needs Show Results If necessary, Discuss 2nd TurningPoint Question Results If necessary, Ask 3rd TurningPoint Question on Information Needs 1:35 PM 10minute Break 1:45 PM Resume Session Pre sent Rest of Survey Results Present Open -ended Responses on Environmental Quality Issues Present Open -ended Responses on Water Quality Impairment Discuss Open -ended Responses 2:05 PM Ask 1st TurningPoint Question on Water Quality Impairment Show Re sults Ask if satisfied with categories. 2:10 PM Ask 2nd TurningPoint Question on Water Quality Impairment Show Results Discuss 2nd TurningPoint Question Results 2:20 PM Ask 3rd TurningPoint Question on Water Quality Impairment Show Results 2:25 PM Discuss Overall Process Collect Response Cards 2:30 PM Adjourn
101 APPENDIX D COMPLETE SURVEY RESULTS
104 APPENDIX E FIRST ROUND DELPHI QUESTION RAW RESPONSES Information Needs On which topics would improved -information most enhance long term planning? (List up to three) Academic Group effects of development on surface/ground water quality sufficiency of water supply / water quantity role of agriculture in regional economy / future of agriculture Urban infastructure development Green space preservation Zoning and water issues modeling of water and energy impacts of development examples of good planning from other places regional planning efforts The value of agriculture to an area The value of eco tourism to an area meeting Lower St. Johns TMDL ne ed Cumulative impact assessment of existing and projected landuse decisions Viability integrated Ag/urban landscape need informatoin on local food production potential and alternative agriculture (mixed vs. mono cropping) system Transportaion need dat a on how price of fuel with affect use of automobile for commute and therefore capacity to support new development in area where jobs are far away Limited resources, such as water supply and quality Soils and land use should be matched to avoid flooding a nd excessive buildup for housing Water and soil should form the basis for water reuse and conservation Value of Agricultural Lands Low Impact Development Transportation Issues Local and regional privatly owned environmental asset inventories. Property ta x revenue versus service cost analysis of various land uses. Potential enviro impacts of land use changes (increased nutrient loading, increased erosion, reduced recharge capacity...) what is the plan for retaining ag lands what doea the region want to lo ok like in 20 years how can we provide more open space for people and wildlife
105 Stakeholder Group food security needs of region water needs of region economic & enviromental impacts of urban development sea level rise temperature increase resource scar city, particulary in transportation fuels growth management goals vision alternative land use development patterns formula for development without a plan of execution comp plans EAR regional visioning urban and rural economic development resources land carrying capacity ie flood plain locations etc multi modal transit improvements and demand Importance of the Agriculture Industry TMDL's conservation easement Water supply issues Future land use Ecological Corridors/Florida Forever Program urban sprawl low impact development ag tourism eco tourism heritage tourism complimentary use plans Long Range vision for the TCAA Better communication regarding planning efforts Agricultural Economics Climate Change/Sea Level Rise Water Supply Limitations/Options re creational and ecological greenways and trails long term viability of agriculture in our economy cost benefit of agriculture land for our community Limits to how much resources can be used without impact Rural Planning and Design Alternatives Property Ri ghts importance of wetlands comp plans alternate transportation TRUE cost of growth environmental sensitive areas landuse conversion and trends What is "good growth" Water supply/conservation/cost Value of natural habitats Protection of significiant env ironmental features and agricultural areas. natural & cultural resource identification importance of agriculture Education of the planning process and its its importance to an area's quality of life. importance of conservation lands growth projections va lue of agricultrual community to the area wetland values Information on new and profitable agri activities Linking a housing and job balance. Information on how the process works and agenda items Is a land use map change a right or a privilege where ease ments exist The role of agriculture in the economy
106 Causes of Water Quality Impairment In your opinion, what are the main causes of water quality impairment in the St. Johns River? (List up to three) Academic Group agricultural pollution runoff from ur ban developments Urban encroachment Non -point source pollution industrial activity stormwater runofff (landscape fertilizers) agricultural fertilizers wastewater treatment discharges Excess nutrients Low dissolved oxygen Fecal coliform Point discharge of inadaquately treated wastewater from treatment plants Intensive agriculture production with inadaquate edge of field control measures Landuse change resulting in soil distrubance, changes in soil quality and increasing volume runoff with inadaquate con trol measures Human population and related development Grandfathering of older land uses with upgrades Lack of water as a expensive resource High density residential development Point Source Pollution Agricultural lands runoff Urban land uses Eutrophica tion caused from water hyacinth detritus Natural and agricultural systems too many people! too much pavement too much fertilizer/pesticide use by everyone
107 Stakeholder Group residential development people roads and buildings machines fertilizer run offs adopted practices for landscaping and turf disposal of affluents into river septic tanks invasives Industrial waste septic tanks storm water runoff Residental development non point source from urban cummunities, municipalities overuse of fert. by home owners & run off from homes Industrial (G.P., etc.) nutrient run off stormwater issues nutrient run off canals that dump straight to the environment lack of knowledge on water quality issues Nutrients from residential, agricultural, and industr ial sectors Nutrients from Wastwater treatment Lack of adequate upland Buffers along river and tributaries run off from non point source septic failure reduction of flows to st. johns river for other uses Non Point Sources (Urban and Ag runoff) Point So urces (WWTP and Industrial Discharges) Indifference overdevelopment poor past actions allowed industrial uses NPS and Point source stormwater runoff Loss of natural areas/development right up to the river Old infrastructure and neighborhoods no cont rols Allowed uses of the river for industry pollutant loading, both point and non point poor land use decisions by local governments paper mill run off from residential areas run off from roads, traffic destruction of wetlands not enough ag using BMPs in terms of pesticides, etc. wastewater treatment nutrient enrichment habitat loss/sprawl nutrient loading incl. fertilizer and septic tank effluent Agri runoff (also nutrient loading) wasting of brine from RO treatment plants Non point source stormwat er run off from developed land Run off from agriculture lands Boaters Urban development adjacent to the River. Agricultural uses without buffers adjacent to the River. Withdrawl for water supply. run off septic tanks point source
108 APPENDIX F FOLLOW -UP SURVEY
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111 Martin, A. G. and Frick, M J., 1998. The Delphi Technique: An I nformal H istory of its U se in A gri cultural E ducation R esearch since 1984 Journal of Agricultural Educaiton 39 (1), 7379. Morgan, D. L., 1997. Focus groups as qualitative research, 2nd ed. Qualitative Research Methods Series 16, Sage, Thousand Oaks. Northeast Florida Regional Council, 200 8. Northeast Florida Regional Water Supply Summit: The Future of the St. Johns River Summit Packet. Northeast Florida Regional Council, 25 January 2008. Rahmani, M Hodges, A W., and Mulkey, W. D 2005. Profile and Economic Impact of Agriculture and Na tural Resource Industries the Northeast Region of Florida U niversity of Florida, Gainesville. Rushford, K 2007. Identifying research priorities: Delphi Technique Pediatric Nursing 19(7), 1010. Sackman, H. 1975. Delphi critique: E xpert opinion, F oreca sting, and G roup P rocess Lexington Books, Farnborough. Saunders, C ., Benbasat, I 2007. A Camel Going t hrough the Eye of a Needle MIS Quarterly 31 (3), iv -xviii. St. Johns River Water Management District, 2009. News Release: Recommended order issued o n river permit application URL: http://arcimspub.sjrwmd.com/website/newsrelease/ViewNews.aspx?nrd=nr09 003, 13 January 2009. St. Johns River Water Management District, 2009. News Release: Governing Board approves Seminole County permit URL: http://arcimspub.sjrwmd.com/website/newsrelease/ViewNews.aspx?nrd=nr09 025, 13 April 2009. St. Johns Riverkeeper, 2007. Central Florida's t hirst t hreatens river URL: http://stjohnsriverkeeper.blogspot.com/2007/09/central -floridas thirst thre atens -river.html 7 September 2007. Susskind, L. E., Cruikshank, J. L., 2006. Breaking Roberts Rules. Oxford University Press, New York. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009. Section 303(d) Lists and TMDL Litigation (Challenges to EPA Establishment or Approval): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Walter, G. and Reisner, A., 1994. Midwestern land -grant university scientists definitions of sustainable agriculture: A Delphi stud y. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 9 (3), 109121.
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113 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Max was born in Palm Beach County, Florida. While growing up, he regularly attended the Gumbo Li mbo nature center in Boca Raton, where he learned about Floridas rich marine life and helped protect sea turtle nests. During periods of drought, he and his family observed water use restrictions, such as limited lawn irrigation. Through these experiences he has developed a deep respect for nature and an affinity toward conservation. In 2007, he graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in f ood and resource e conomics with a minor in a gricultural and n atural resource e th ics. He received his M.S. from the University of Florida in the summer of 2009. His research focus ed on landuse and resource allocation issues in Northeast Florida; specifically building consensus among different stakeholder groups on the prioritization o f issues.