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Thread: Susitna River recreation survey bias

  1. #1
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    Default Susitna River recreation survey bias

    I just completed the Susitna River Recreation Survey, a link to which is posted in another thread in the Canoeing forum, so I won't copy it here. I have to say that any statistician would pick this survey to bits. As you read through the questions, the pattern becomes clear as to the purpose of this survey. It is written in such a manner so as to find statistical data to show that support of the creation of a dam equals support of hunting and boating on the river, as though damming the river will increase opportunity and favorable conditions for canoeing and hunting. (Which it may.) The authors of the survey aren't actually interested in how we use the river; they're looking for a way to say their project will make our use of the river better. They've written the survey to find only one conclusion: that the dam will be beneficial.

    Many of the questions relate to water flow and water level with restrictive answers from which to choose, such as "acceptable" "unacceptable" etc. Other questions, such as "Would you use the river again if the levels were the same as you experienced on your most recent trip?" First of all, how does one find a river acceptable or unacceptable? The river is what the river is. If it's "unacceptable" find another river.

    I'm not horridly opposed to a dam, as we need the jobs it will create, but this sort of cherry picking is, well.."unacceptable." I can't believe the state is going to let them call this part of an environmental survey.

  2. #2
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    If you are referring to the Flow and Access study, you are making a lot of erroneous assumptions. The author of the survey is not AEA, its a independent contractor, and the only reason they are doing this study is due to public and agency comments about river use during the FERC licensing review. The gets paid to do the study whether they build the dam or not, they have nothing to do with that decision, they're social scientists. The contractor handled the flow dependent study for the river recreation on the Grand Canyon. They are trying to determine what flows are required for both summer and winter use of the Su (flow dependent recreation). They do ask for actual flow numbers from the Gold Creek gage when possible.

    Its a social/rec survey, not an environmental survey. It is but one of many different studies being conducted.

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