Methods that Matter: Conceiving (of) Socio-ecological Research at Cane Run

Authors: Karen Kinslow*, University of Kentucky
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology, Field Methods
Keywords: research design, methodology, human-plant geographies, urban ecology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Congressional A, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


My dissertation project, a kind of ex-post evaluation, takes as its field site and case study a restored reach of Cane Run in Lexington, Kentucky. The major planting of the riparian buffer occurred last spring, and I am interested in the function of the plants at the site and within the Lexington municipal waterscape. Lexington, like many other US cities, is a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) city, and a consent decree from the Environmental Protection Agency was the impetus for the Cane Run restoration. My research goal is both to analyze and to create data here that could contribute to a more educated municipality with concern to plants and freshwater management and sustainable futures. Ongoing scientific collaborations like “Human Dimensions in Water Resources” point toward a growing recognition that human systems also need to be considered in water management. Exploring restoration at the interface of human-plant relations at Cane Run, I surmise, could help us rethink education and public participation in local watersheds, both of which are significant to MS4 evaluation. Because Cane Run watershed is adjacent to where I live, it will be possible to conduct a lengthy ethnography, to collect various field data, and to participate and observe in the capacity of a stream steward. With this presentation, I talk about my research design and the theoretical underpinnings for this proposed project.

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