Public Perceptions of Lake Mendota Water Quality in Madison, Wisconsin
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Public perception is an important part of human geography and affects how citizens approach environmental issues. We researched differences in public perception of water quality on Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin. Specifically, we used an online survey and social theory analysis to examine how and why perceptions differ between two key demographics, professors of UW-Madison and the general public, and what respondents are willing to do in rehabilitation efforts. We found visible water quality issues such as presence of trash to be most important to citizens, while non-visible effects like water temperature were least important. Professors also had a narrower view of water quality, while public views were much more diverse. Our study shows the importance of applying public perceptions to environmental management plans in order to effectively increase environmental quality.