First Advisor

Melissa Haeffner

Term of Graduation

Summer 2023

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental Science and Management


Environmental Science and Management




flood, Income, mitigation strategies, Race, Trust



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 76 pages)


Trust plays a central role in coastal flooding management because the support or opposition to costly mitigation strategies depends, in part, on how much stakeholders trust in the effectiveness of these strategies. Despite the importance of trust in the approval of flood mitigation strategies, trust is rarely measured. Furthermore, Environmental Justice (EJ) studies have consistently shown that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and low-income communities are more vulnerable to environmental hazards. Therefore, if these communities are more exposed to flooding, we hypothesize they will have less trust in flood mitigation strategies to protect them; yet trust is understudied in EJ research. We test this hypothesis using three commonly tested measures of trust in the risk perception literature: integrity (quality of providing equal or equitable protection), competence (quality of being successful or efficient) and dependability (quality of performing consistently well). Because coastal flood mitigation strategies are varied, we test if trust depends on type: gray (human-made structures using hard building materials), green (solutions that mimic nature by absorbing, diverting, or storing water), or nonstructural (government actions such as flood insurance, land use planning, etc.). We use a randomly and non-randomly sampled survey in Oregon Coast communities that experience chronic coastal flooding. Our findings suggest that race and income can predict trust to a moderate extent, and that respondents trust green strategies more than they trust gray strategies, and do not trust nonstructural strategies. This study contributes to the EJ literature by analyzing race and income as predictors of trust in flood mitigation strategies in coastal areas at risk of flooding. It also contributes to the risk perception literature by analyzing risk perception factors, specifically, trust factors. The results will provide important information about how different communities perceive flood mitigation strategies, which can be used by flood management and governmental institutions to better communicate potential solutions to diverse groups.


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