From May to June 2014, Civinomics conducted 1,003 in-person interviews in order to measure Santa Cruz County residents’ understanding of the storm water system and watershed health. The survey covered four general topic areas:
I. Knowledge of storm water concepts and terms
II. Sources of watershed pollution
III. Behaviors that impact water quality
IV. Input on ways to communicate storm water topics to the public
Representatives collected responses by going door-to-door and used an iPad based survey to simplify processing of the results as well as to increase the visual attractiveness of the survey.
In the past, similar studies have utilized phone surveys. With more people moving to cell- phones this has lead to survey samples that are increasingly skewed towards senior, Caucasian respondents. The in-person, iPad based methodology ensured a more representative respondent pool, including native Spanish speakers that, as in other parts of California, make up a large portion of the Santa Cruz County population.
Enough responses were collected to ensure statistical accuracy with 95% confidence level and at most a 10% margin of error for each of the participating cities (Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley and Watsonville) as well as the unincorporated part of Santa Cruz County. 162 surveys were conducted in Spanish allowing analysis of this population with the same degree of accuracy.Using the data collected, Civinomics issued eight recommendations to broaden awareness of the storm water system and improve the health of the region’s watershed environment. Each included specific actions local governments can take and metrics by which to assess effectiveness.
1. Regularly publish watershed health facts and updates via blog. Include data that is open and machine readable.
2. Utilize television and radio announcements to reach Spanish speakers in their native language).
3. Update direct mailers to target prevalent behaviors practiced by homeowners.
4. Optimize bilingual, educational signage in sensitive watershed areas.
5. Create a Public Works text hotline for hazard reporting and incorporate it into all signage.
6. Measure the effectiveness of partners’ youth education programs.
7. Expand partner programs to Watsonville and other concentrations of Spanish speakers.
8. Sponsor a contest for videos and artwork that convey watershed lessons.
To view the full report, click here.