Native Shoreland Buffer Initiative

Where the natural sciences meet the social sciences.

The largest group of Minnesotans that actively manage shoreland areas are private landowners. This project takes a fresh look at the motivations of private landowners to maintain or restore shoreland buffers. All too often the conservation community finds itself proposing landowner incentives without being specific about their intended audience or establishing a basic understanding of what motivates them.

Many times the common prescription will be education programs or financial incentives, which may or may not be effective or sustainable in any given lake or group of landowners. In addition, a vast majority (88%) of water quality projects do not, at the conclusion of their project, evaluate the impacts and outcomes on local audiences. In this new approach, however, the natural sciences meet the social sciences to spur innovation, improve effectiveness and evaluate relative successes of landowner outreach strategies.

This is accomplished through a partnership with U of M researchers and Extension, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Minnesota DNR funded by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.