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Idaho State University

Impacts of the Urban-Rural Changes in Boise and Portneuf Basins

Idaho State University Participants

Donna Lybecker, Mark McBeth, Katrina Running, Yolonda Youngs

Partners and Affilation

Monica Hubbard at BSU, Tim Frazier at UI, Graduate capstone class in Public Administration at BSU, Courtney Thompson (graduate student at UI)

Research Problem

Assess the societal and ecological implications of the changing boundaries for urbanized areas in the Boise River and Portneuf River basins (Ada, Canyon and Bannock Counties, Idaho). Documentary and survey research aided in gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the historic and current trends associated with the urban-rural landscape changes and give stakeholders and the public an image of possible future scenarios, allowing them to evaluate how they want change to progress.

Research Outcomes

To accomplish this, we used documentary research to construct the historical and current conditions (maps) of the Boise River and Portneuf River Basins. We then developed a survey and sent it to 3000 agrarian landowners, identified through US Census parcel data along with a data from the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The survey asked about land ownership, economic conditions and willingness to sell, support for agricultural policies in Idaho, and connections to community, along with demographic questions. We had 868 responses to the survey. Data was analyzed and results were assessed and combined with historical and current conditions information. The results from the survey allowed us to depict trends in urban-rural land use, boundary changes, and incorporate projections for future urbanization. In particular we found lack of connection to land is an important determinant of willingness to sell agricultural lands for development (taking the land out of agriculture) whereas a strong connection to the land made land owners less willing to sell for non-agricultural purposes.

Potential Impacts

Understanding trends in urban-rural land use and urban/rural boundary changes allow for projections for future urbanization patterns. This work has the potential to help determine where to target conservation measures—maintaining agricultural lands. It also shows the importance of connection to land, in particular cultural connections through groups such as the Shoshone Bannock tribe. This increased understanding of connection to land can help create better working relationships with these groups. Finally, this research involved cooperation and coordination between faculty and students at ISU, BSU, and U of I, creating stronger research relationships and training / giving students experience in survey collection and development pattern research within Idaho.

Additional Information
Lybecker, Donna, Mark McBeth, Monica Hubbard, Tim Frazier. “Agricultural Land Use and Place Connectedness: Empirical Findings and Policy Implications” Under review at Journal of Rural Studies.