Identifier

etd-04092014-183836

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Wetlands are an extremely important natural resource in the United States. They offer storm surge protection, sediment stabilization, groundwater recharging, carbon sequestration, and habitat for many species. Despite their values, wetlands have a long history of being misunderstood. It was not until the mid-1970s that scientific understanding helped transform policy from that of rapid conversion to that of conservation. By this time, the lower 48 states had already lost 53 percent of its total wetlands. The nature of wetlands and federal limitations make the management of this natural resource a primarily state-based responsibility. However, the way that states construct their wetland programs varies greatly. The theoretical framework of “policy determinants” has been continuously explored in past research that seeks to further understand what factors influence a state to adopt certain environmental policies. The goals of this study are to determine which states have the most active wetland programs and what underlying contextual factors may be of importance in explaining variation in those effects. California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have the highest level of wetland policy activity and Arizona has the lowest. Four categories of potentially influential underlying conditions include political capacity, bureaucratic and agency capacity, economics, and environmental conditions and pressures. A total of 13 independent variable measurements were used, along with “total wetland policies” as the dependent variable. A Pearson correlation analysis identifies multicollinearity among independent variables and a linear regression identifies which independent variables were significant relative to the level of wetland policy activity. Underlying conditions most present in states with highest levels of policy activity are high levels of historic wetland loss, more wetland area, and stronger environmental group presence. This research provides information that can help states further improve their own wetland programs.

Date

2014

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Secure the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of one year. Student has submitted appropriate documentation which states: During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in works, without prior authorization from LSU. At the end of the one year period, either we or LSU may request an automatic extension for one additional year. At the end of the one year secure period (or its extension, if such is requested), the work will be released for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Reams, Margaret

Share

COinS