Publication Title

Environmental Management

Document Type


Department or Program

Environmental Studies

Publication Date



Lawncare best management practices, Nonpoint source pollution, Perceived behavioral control, Reasoned action approach, Social norms, Urban stormwater management


© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Nonpoint source pollution conveyed by stormwater in urban areas poses a significant threat to quality of waterbodies in the US. In the absence of systematic regulations on household stormwater management, municipalities rely largely on educational programs to encourage voluntary adoption of lawncare best management practices (BMPs) by residents who slow down and temporarily capture excess stormwater and filter out pollutants entering waterways. The current literature on factors influencing urban dwellers’ adoption of lawncare BMPs mostly focuses on demographics, barriers to adoption, and effectiveness of education and outreach programs. This study applies the reasoned action approach (RAA) behavioral theory to investigate how the combination of individuals’ attitudes, social norms, and perceived behavioral control may affect their decision to adopt three lawncare BMPs, including mulching and fertilizer/pesticide avoidance, and support a municipal ban on lawncare chemicals. We use survey data (n = 235) from residents in two neighboring cities in central Maine, USA. We found that perceived behavioral control predicted fertilizer/pesticide avoidance and mulching, and that beliefs and attitudes toward the outcomes of adopting lawncare BMPS were positively associated with mulching and support for a municipal ban on lawncare chemicals. We observed statistically significant but inconsistent associations between several independent variables—including descriptive and injunctive social norms, gender, level of education, age, and home ownership status—and our dependent variables of interest. The findings provide insights into an underexplored set of factors and confirmatory evidence for previously tested factors influencing urban residents’ BMP adoption, and suggest new strategies and communication frames for environmental managers and researchers.