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First in Flight, Last in Wetlands Preservation?


Author(s)

John Petersen
Environmental Studies
Oberlin College
john.petersen@oberlin.edu
Nancy London
Environmental Studies Program
Oberlin College

Abstract

Developed for an introductory environmental studies course, this case study explores the ecological, economic, and legislative issues associated with land development and wetland loss. Students role-play the points of view of four different stakeholders and then write a report that provides specific recommendations for the mayor of a city considering an expansion of the metropolitan airport that will result in the loss of wetlands. Biodiversity is a topic that students typically associate with tropical regions of the world. A strength of this case is that it brings this topic home by connecting biodiversity with tradeoffs involved in local economic development, with the functional value of wetlands, and with the controversy surrounding wetland "mitigation" as a means of achieving the national "no net wetland loss" policy goal.


Objectives

  • Explore the legitimacy of alternate perspectives—"smart growth" activist, pro-business person, ecological scientist, and government official—on the ecological and economic implications of wetland destruction and remediation.
  • Understand the role of temperate wetland ecosystems in providing ecological services.
  • Apply knowledge of biodiversity to help craft a solution to a regional problem.
  • Develop skills at articulating and defending a clear position on an environmental issue and then at negotiating areas of potential compromise with other stakeholders.

Keywords

Wetlands; mitigation; biodiversity; ecosystem; Environmental Protection Agency; EPA; Clean Water Act; Cleveland; Ohio

Topical Areas

Policy issues, Regulatory issues, Scientific argumentation, Social issues

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues), Role-Play

Language

English

Subject Headings

Environmental Science  |   Ecology  |   Natural Resource Management  |  


Date Posted

06/11/03

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