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Idaho State University

Seeing The Past, Shaping the Present and Future of the Portneuf River: How Environmental Perception Influences River Management


Idaho State University Participants

Lead/PI: Yolonda Youngs, Ph.D. (Department of Global Studies), Donna Delparte, Ph.D., Shannon Kobs Nawotniak, Ph.D., MS Student: Connor Martin, MS student: Jared Ogle, CI Programming: Di Wu (and all Department of Geosciences), MURI student: Madison Hanousek, Social Science/GIS PostDoc (TBA)

Partners and Affilation

Stakeholder: Hannah Sanger / City of Pocatello, BSU Collaborators: Josh Johnston, Steve Cutchin, UI Collaborator: John Anderson

Research Problem

Our EPSCoR team of social scientists, ecological scientists, and visualization experts is studying how environmental perceptions of the lower Portneuf River users and the Pocatello community have changed over time and how these perceptions influenced river management in the past, present, and future for a variety of ecosystem services.

Research Outcomes

Our research outcomes will include new datasets, visualizations, and ways of understanding and interpreting the social history and cultural geography of the Portneuf River. We will conduct a visual content analysis of 70 years of historical photographs and postcards of the Portneuf River, then combine the results of this content analysis with a contextual social and environmental history of water use in Pocatello, ID, and, based on this visual and social data, create digital visualizations of historic landscapes along the Portneuf River and Pocatello.

Potential Impacts

Digital visualizations, combined with social history and cultural geography context, can help the local community and river managers to better understand and visualize historic landscapes and environmental perceptions of the Portneuf River and how past decisions may influence present and future management and potential riverfront restoration. How have environmental perceptions changed over time influenced river management past, present, and future? How can popular visual representations riparian environments such as photographs and postcards and contemporary digital visualizations influence current day attitudes to ecosystem services related to the Portneuf River redevelopment (recreation, aesthetic, habitat)?

Our collaborative and interdisciplinary research team will create historic interpretation of the Portneuf River and contribute visualizations of future scenarios that can shape and contribute to planning decisions that emphasize ecosystem service benefits for the local community.




Additional Information

The Portneuf River Vision Study with Historic Pictures