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Using Citizen Science and Agent-Based Modeling to Foster Coalition Building in an Urban-Rural Watershed

Published onDec 24, 2019
Using Citizen Science and Agent-Based Modeling to Foster Coalition Building in an Urban-Rural Watershed

Watersheds are one of the most challenging human-environmental systems for community coalition building. Because watershed divisions cut across jurisdictional and ownership boundaries, they involve stakeholders with often-competing values and needs that complicate collaborative action, planning, and policymaking. This project strengthens research and community engagement partnerships among Iowa State University, Story County Conservation, the local citizen group Squaw Creek Watershed Coalition, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the regional non-governmental organization Prairie Rivers of Iowa as well as an expanding network of other community groups. Through an engaged approach to data collection and social-environmental computer simulation modeling, we aim to empower citizens to work together with researchers and community partners to collect and assess water quality data and to devise locally relevant action projects that foster community building across a watershed. Our objective is to empower citizens to work together with researchers and community partners to:

  1. assess water quality using citizen-science engagement coupled with certified lab testing and

  2. foster community connections across a watershed through stakeholder coalition building and use of an Agent-Based Model.

The project is part of the Iowa State University program “University Translational Research Network” or U-TuRN: “The vision of U-TuRN is to empower communities to build environments and systems conducive to healthy living. We are committed to building and supporting translational research applications in health service and public health settings to study the factors that influence the adoption, implementation and sustainability of evidence-based programs, policies and practices in community settings. The U-TuRN approach emphasizes transdisciplinary partnerships between researchers and community stakeholders to enable shared learning and mutually beneficial collaboration [and] the intersection between transdisciplinary research and science-driven practice is central to sustainable community health impact.”


This event is supported by the National Science Foundation, Award #1929601. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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