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A Survey of Chesapeake Bay Watershed Residents: Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors

Published: September 11, 2002

Conservation Management Institute of Virginia Tech conducted a telephone survey of 1,988 residents of the Chesapeake Bay watershed (including those residing in parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.) in March and April of 2002. The objectives of this survey were to assess residents level of knowledge about, perceptions of, attitudes towards and behaviors in relation to pollution and environmental quality of the Chesapeake Bay region. A secondary goal of the survey was to track changes in public perception regarding water quality issues since the Chesapeake Bay Programs most recent public perception survey conducted in 1993-1994. Several questions from the current survey produced results analogous to this earlier survey.

To assist in analyzing and implementing these data, the counties of the watershed were divided among 10 geographical regions according to such demographic factors as rates of population change, population density, land use patterns and household income. These regions are referenced as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Baltimore/Washington Metro, Tidewater, Delmarva, North-central Virginia, Shenandoah and Western Potomac, South-central Pennsylvania, North-central Pennsylvania, and New York. A minimum of 150 interviews was conducted in each region, with a goal of 200. For further analysis, these 10 regions were collapsed into four distance bands representing their relative distance from the Bay. The overall (watershed-wide) margin of error for these data is +/-2.2% with a 95% confidence level, the margins of error within each region ranges from +/-6.9% to +/-7.3%, and the margins of error for the distance bands ranges from +/-3.1% to +/-6.9%.

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