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Results released by committee

LEWISTOWN–Penn State’s Water for Agriculture project and the Mifflin County Local Leadership Committee (MCLLC) has released the summary results of a recently conducted survey. The survey was developed to better understand the perspectives of residential and agricultural landowners in Mifflin County – and asked about a range of ground and surface water issues, activities that have potential impacts on water quality and respondents’ ideas about protecting our water quality while preserving a strong agriculture economy in the county. The leadership committee and its partners are already using these results to inform and prioritize its activities.

While a more detailed summary of results is available at the link below, highlights from the survey include:

¯A majority of both farmers and residents rate the water quality of creeks and streams in the County as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Less than 50 percent of respondents thought this way about the Juniata River and less than one-quarter felt this way about the Susquehanna River.

¯Large majorities of both farm and residential landowners were either ‘moderately’ or ‘very concerned’ about the water quality of creeks and streams; the Juniata; the Susquehanna; groundwater well; and spring water sources

Importantly, sizable majorities of both agricultural and residential landowners support the idea that water quality in Mifflin County is important to them and their communities and that it is important to learn about or take steps to improve current conditions. Specifically, the percentages of respondents who either agreed or strongly agreed with the following statements include:

¯82 percent think that it is their personal responsibility to help protect water quality

¯79 percent think the quality of life in their community depends on good quality surface and groundwater

¯67 percent think that people near them would expect them to protect water quality.

¯51 percent would be willing to change their land management practices to improve water quality and quantity

¯42 percent are eager to learn more about opportunities to address water quality issues in their communities.

Addresses for the survey were obtained from publicly available property tax records. A sample of 500 agricultural landowners were sent surveys, and 135 responded (for a response rate of 27 percent). A sample of 500 residential landowners were sent surveys, and 79 responded (15.8 percent). These numbers are consistent with, or above the national average for mail survey responses and are accurate within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

A copy of the summary results is has recently been sent to all those that received a survey and is also available here: https://water4ag.psu.edu/files/2020/04/Mifflin-04-03-20-1.pdf.

The Mifflin County Leadership Committee is comprised of 16 representatives of residents, farmers, agricultural organizations, technical service and education providers, local government, civic groups, and other agencies. It has worked together over the last year or so to assess current conditions and programs, identify and prioritize needs and implement projects that address the issues most important to Mifflin County.

To learn more, visit http://water4ag.psu.edu or contact Walt Whitmer, wew2@psu.edu or 814-865-0468.

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