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Access and Alteration Rules Related to Significant Wetlands

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Title: Access and Alteration Rules Related to Significant Wetlands
Author: Miller, Justin
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Rural Planning and Development
Advisor: FitzGibbon, John
Abstract: This study sought to explore the access and alteration “rules experience” within an Ontario wetlands case study framework. The study interviewed two key stakeholder groups, key-involved stewardship agencies and key-identified wetland property owners, and aggregated them as a single response group. There were significant overlaps between these groups and the final identified potential respondent group was thirteen. All potential respondents were invited to participate in a detailed exploration of the rules experience via a thorough semi-structured interview process within the existing context of a Long Point, Ontario study area. For their own specified reasons, eight of thirteen identified and invited potential respondents chose to provide a response for analysis. It was imagined that very specific questions about each discovered rule in the study area might provide insight into to effect and understanding of specific rule characteristics within the study area; however, nothing exceptional was revealed with respect to rule characteristics using a small detailed study group. Study area respondents appeared to have focused and specific knowledge of a collection of study area rules (often within their direct interest), but few respondents had a relatively comprehensive knowledge of the entire alteration and access rules framework. The most interesting results within in the interview process, including the most interest in response provision by respondents, centred more generally on wetland management- with emphasis on private and public management initiatives. In this theme, while generally supportive of the apparent goals of the existing rules, respondents were divided as to how management should actually function within the study area. Despite interest by both key informant groups in wetland conservation and maintenance, the application of public rules on private and/or organized wetland spaces occasionally appear to conflict. During the study, there appeared to be much more interest in wetland alteration rules, and, expectedly, a strongly expressed desire to have these rules more carefully scrutinized and adapted to the study area. The study area is fortunate to have a history of public and private interest in wetland conservation; this study highlights the need for these similarly interested groups to work together to reconcile the differences in expected applications of public rules.
Date: 2012-05
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