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Stream Restoration Projects More Likely in Whiter, Wealthier Areas

Stream restoration projects along the Central Coast of California tend to reinforce class and racial distinctions, just like so many other matters of environmental justice.
April 11, 2018, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Coast Stream

Jennifer McNulty shares news of a study by researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz finding that stream restoration projects tend to be completed in whiter, more affluent, more educated parts of the state. 

"In addition, coastal stream restoration is heavily concentrated in Santa Cruz, Morro Bay, and southern Santa Barbara County, creating 'restoration deserts' with virtually no activity," according to McNulty.

Lead researcher Bronwen Stanford is quoted in the article asking why certain areas are overlooked for stream restoration projects. The study identifies three possible causes of the pattern of stream restoration projects: 1) a greater availability of grant funding in wealthier areas, 2) the political skills of wealthier and more educated residents, and 3) a greater preponderance of restoration organizations in wealthier areas.

"Stanford found that restoration is often dependent on the existence of a local organization, and they are more likely to be present in areas with wealthy, white, and educated populations," explains McNulty on that last point.

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