STS Graduate Student Karin Patzke to present at New Mexico Tech

STS Graduate Student Karin Patzke to present at New Mexico Tech

Date posted: 2016-01-25 15:02:49

Karin Patzke has been invited by Taylor Dotson, Assistant Professor and RPI STS alumni (2015), to give a presentation of preliminary findings regarding her dissertation fieldwork to New Mexico Tech on Feb 8th, jointly sponsored by the Department of Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences (CLASS) and Earth & Environment Science. She will discuss her fieldwork in Texas concerning the cultural and political aspects of natural resource management and highlight the barriers and strategies to enrolling private landowners in policy initiatives concerning water, watershed management and conservation practices. The title of the presentation is "Collectively Imagining the Waters: the future of water management in Texas" and experts from the abstract are below….

In the Southwest, water that falls from the sky and makes its way to a river is legally different than water that falls from the sky and makes its way into an aquifer. Described separately as ground and surface water, a disparate series of laws, rights and agencies distinguish some water as the property of the state or the public (surface water) and other water the property of individuals (ground water). But when there is no rain, the rivers are dry and the aquifers are empty, will this “duality of water” really matter?

Imagining the future of water in a time of social and climate change requires re-thinking the legal definitions of where water comes from, who has access to it, and where water might go. Confronted with the slow bureaucracy of state legislation, local agents are key players in outreach and education, making key differences in how landowners conserve and protect water systems. Primarily, these efforts are focused on linking water to land, transforming farmers and ranchers to environmental stewards and enrolling (at least temporarily) individuals in collectively thinking about the future of water in Texas. In this work, I present preliminary field work conducted in Central Texas with landowners and Parks and Wildlife agents to understand how barriers to conservation like private property, population growth, and land fragmentation are re-made into strategies for natural resource management policy at the very local level of individual property management.

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