Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Clary, Renee M.

Committee Member

Dash, Padmanava

Committee Member

Schmitz, Darrel

Committee Member

Ambinakudige, Shrinidhi

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Presently, scientific communities are confronting Earth’s foremost environmental issues using best management practices. However, an increase for need in the synthesis of socio-ecological principles using a multi- and trans-disciplinary approach is required for solutions that benefit both nature and humans. To examine whether a community perceives stormwater runoff as both a local resource and threat to coastal water quality, an online survey of the Ventura River watershed community probed local residents’ understanding of watershed knowledge, beliefs, and behavior with regards to their local environment as it pertained to water resources, especially as affected by human activity. Analysis of 144 participants’ responses and their self-reported water activity, water activity frequency, and perceptions of Ventura River’s discharge and stormwater runoff reveals the community’s behavior regarding exposure to poor water quality in a local coastal environment and, ultimately, the survey participants’ level of geoliteracy concerning their local watershed. A statistical analysis between categorical variables of the survey questions examines relationships between self-reported waterborne illness symptoms and the water activities that participants enjoy regularly and/or perform for work. The survey responses demonstrated common themes in water knowledge that exist throughout this particular coastal community. Additionally, through the use of an optical and historical classification system, the Ventura River’s sediment discharge was examined both remotely and in situ. Multispectral ocean color satellite sensors have been useful in monitoring the water quality of Case 2 waters. Particularly, after severe storm events contaminants can be carried along with storm runoff from urban storm drains and Mediterranean river mouths which then enter coastal and recreationally trafficked water. Earth scientists have observed poor water quality occurring offshore in Case 2 waters near major river mouths and urban areas causing the coastal water column to deteriorate in quality.



geoscience||hydrology||geoliteracy||geocognition||sociohydrology||remote sensing||environmental education