Simone T. Chapman
When development projects happen, like building expansion or road widening, developers are first required to avoid any damages to protected waters, such as wetlands. But if they are unable to avoid damage, they are required to obtain a permit for mitigation to compensate for the loss of that wetland’s functions and values, such as flood plain storage and ecosystem habitat. This mitigation happens in a different location from the developer’s negative impact but within the same watershed. For my research, I am analyzing socioeconomic differences between the populations surrounding the impact locations and populations surrounding the compensation sites in New Hampshire.
However, very few studies analyze the environmental justice impacts of the compensatory mitigation policy. Environmental justice refers to “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” (US EPA, 2019). Existing studies in Florida, Maryland, Chicago, and North Carolina have found evidence of systemic resource relocation, in which wetland resources are shifted from more urban, whiter, more highly educated impact sites areas to more rural, less populated, and poorer compensation sites with a higher percentage of minorities.
I will use data already provided by the NH Arm Fund program (who implements the mitigation program in NH) to identify impact sites and mitigation sites and map census data for the surrounding communities using GIS. I will compare the spatial data for compensatory wetland mitigation with census-tract level socioeconomic data (non-white percentage, population density, educational attainment and household income) to analyze population characteristics.
Then seek to evaluate community access to participate in the ARM Fund program.
- American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting | Washington D.C. |(April of 2019)
- Graduate Research Conference 2019 | Durham, New Hampshire | April of 2019
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Poster Session | Portland, Maine | November 2019