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Pilot Project Final Report – Waccamaw Watershed
    
by: Calvin B Sawyer, S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program

 

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Project Summary
Outputs and Results
Appendix 1

Outputs and Results

Status reports have been completed and submitted to DHEC as a regular and continuing part of the NEMO program. They provided an opportunity to examine project progress and to provide context for activities within the NEMO framework. Copies of all submitted status reports are included in Appendix 11.

n July 2000, a paper was also written for, published by, and delivered to the 17th Annual Coastal Society Conference in Portland, OR. The paper was entitled Linking Land Use to Water Quality in South Carolina. A complete copy of the published paper is provided in Appendix 12.

The formal NEMO presentation received the 2001 AT&T Communication Award for South Carolina. The award was presented by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents at their annual conference in Atlanta (Appendix 13). The NEMO program also received the 1st Place 2001 Communication Award for Clemson University.

Workshop Evaluation - Following each workshop, evaluations were conducted to ascertain the immediate level of educational program success. These results could later be contrasted with the overall program survey that would be conducted at the conclusion of the pilot NEMO project grant period. The evaluation instrument (Appendix 14a) contains eight (8) questions, designed to determine presentation effectiveness, comprehension, and willingness of participants to use the information provided in their future land use decisions. The aggregated results of the workshop evaluations are provided in Appendix 14b. Figure 4 shows that 94% of attendees rated the overall NEMO presentation as very good or good.

Figure 4 – Overall NEMO Presentation Question

overall rating chart

 


Further, Figure 5 shows that the educational and strategic information provided during the NEMO presentation was very useful or somewhat useful to 98% of respondents.

Figure 5 – Usefulness of Information

usefulness infomation chart


Perhaps the most important question asked was: would you use the information presented today in your decision-making process? This question was designed to determine the level to which the individual community leaders who participated in the NEMO program, would use the information and strategies presented to them. Figure 6 shows that respondents overwhelmingly indicated that they would consider community planning, site design, and use of BMPs when they made land use decisions.

Figure 6 – Determining Decision Making

decision making chart

NEMO Program Evaluation – In order to ascertain overall NEMO program success, a survey instrument (Appendix 15a) was designed in consultation with the NOAA Coastal Services Center and National NEMO Network staff in Connecticut. The survey would target all participants who attended any of the three (3) workshops. In some cases, survey respondents may not have been exposed to the NEMO program in over two (2) years. The goal was to determine if information was retained by participants and the degree to which it was being used in their decision-making processes. The results of the entire survey are included in Appendix 15b.

Figure 7 shows questions 2a and 2b. Question 2a reaffirms the results of the post-presentation survey, while question 2b points out that a large percentage of participants believe that this knowledge may eventually lead to land use changes in their respective jurisdictions.

Figure 7 – NEMO Program Effectiveness

program effectiveness chart


Respondents were also asked whether they believed the NEMO program would be beneficial to other members of their communities. Ninety-four percent (94%) indicated they did think such programming would be beneficial in their towns or counties. However, the most positive reinforcement was shown by the results of question 8: would you recommend NEMO educational workshops to other municipalities and towns? One hundred percent (100%) of those surveyed indicated that they would recommend NEMO to others. The SC NEMO team was very pleased with this particular result.

Seventy-one (71) surveys were sent out to NEMO workshop participants. Despite follow-up telephone calls, the return rate was only 30%. While not a complete return rate, the NEMO team feels confident in the reliability of the results.

Additional Results - In 2000, the NEMO team received notification that the City of Conway had adopted a new landscape ordinance as a direct result of NEMO. Senior Planner Jason Collins indicated that City of Conway Zoning Ordinance 11.1040 came about after local officials attending a NEMO meeting. The new ordinance requires newly constructed on-site retention ponds to utilize native wetland vegetation around their perimeter to protect water quality. Copies of the notification letter, a photograph of vegetation installation, and a complete copy of the ordinance are included in Appendix 16.

The progress and outcomes of the pilot NEMO project continue to bear fruit long after the grant period has ended. On May 2, 2002 the principle investigator for NEMO provided a presentation at the Stakeholders Meeting for Stormwater Management in Georgetown County. NEMO team members have been asked to participate in the drafting of a stormwater management plan by the City of Surfside Beach. Team members served on the City of Georgetown Visioning Committee, which looked at crafting the revisions to their comprehensive plan. NEMO Team members have responded to countless requests for information and technical assistance. We anticipate these contributions will continue into the future.

Conclusions
EPA Section 319 grant money was instrumental in the establishment and implementation of the SC Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials program. The Waccamaw watershed pilot effort has merged with additional projects throughout the state of South Carolina, including those undertaken in the Pee Dee, the Seneca, the Saluda, the Catawba and the Coastal watersheds. Additional money has been leveraged from the US Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in order to provide long term stability to the SC NEMO program. The NEMO team is confident that our efforts will continue long after the grant money has evaporated.

The biggest challenge for the future of NEMO will be to continue to generate interest from elected and appointed officials. Our evaluation and survey results point to an extraordinary level of education and approval. Despite these numbers, the primary difficulty is to ensure a high percentage of NEMO’s target audience actually attend the programs. If only 20% of the invited officials participate, have we truly achieved our goal? We need to explore additional methods for attracting and retaining high levels of participation.

Acknowledgements
The completion of the pilot NEMO project would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of many individuals. The coastal communities specialist April Turner came into the pilot project after it was halfway over. She deserves recognition for her adaptability and perseverance. Special thanks goes to our NEMO program intern, Steven O’Shields. He compiled and analyzed all of the quiz, evaluation, and survey data, which was no small task. Some of the results from his data manipulation will be submitted to several academic journals for consideration. Finally, those individuals who served on the Technical Advisory Committee also deserve to be acknowledged. The project could not have been completed without their assistance.


Appendix 1

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