Name of Intervention/ Program
The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly

Background and Situation Analysis
The County of Orange, the Orange County Flood Control District (OCFCD), and the 34 cities of Orange County, California are regulated by two municipal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Permits for stormwater quality. The Permits, include requirements for conducting public education and outreach focused on water quality protection and reporting annually on program progress and effectiveness. The region’s education and outreach efforts operate under the brand name H2OC, a mature program and brand housing a range of activities. In recent years, the MS4 permits have shifted their focus from broad-scale education and awareness efforts to requiring measurable changes in behavior. This has resulted in developing targeted social marketing campaigns to foster behavior change. The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly campaign was created to address a high-priority stormwater pollutant: pesticides. To go beyond a simple education program, H2OC, Orange County’s Stormwater Program, utilized community-based social marketing (CBSM) to develop a behavior change campaign to reduce pesticide use behaviors contributing to surface water contamination. CBSM is a data-driven process for developing targeted behavior change programs and has emerged as a leading framework in developing behavior campaigns to address water quality. H2OC began with a literature review to identify a list of residential behaviors associated with controlling priority pests in outdoor areas. This was supplemented with interviews of pesticide and water quality experts to prioritize pest control behaviors that would have the most impact on reducing pesticide reaching waterways through the storm drain system. The outcomes from the literature review and interviews informed the selection of a smaller set of target behaviors for a behavior change campaign focused specifically on controlling ants and spiders. Specifically, the campaign focused on eliminating the use of sprays to control ants and spiders and shifted people to alternative methods that would prevent pesticides from entering waterways. For ants, the target behavior was to use bait stations instead of sprays. For spiders, the behavior was to use non-spray methods such as sweeping away webs. We conducted a countywide telephone survey of residents to gather quantitative information on perceived barriers and benefits to the potential target behaviors. The survey was supplemented with resident focus groups, which further explored perceptions and experiences of controlling ants and spiders with alternative methods, such as using bait stations and cleaning outdoor areas. Barriers to using bait stations included effectiveness, safety, and time to take effect. Barriers to using alternative spider control methods were primarily tied to knowledge. For both, the perceived benefits focused on removing the pest and protecting waterways. Based on the audience research, communications were cautiously crafted to assure residents that the proposed “water-friendly” pest control methods were effective and safe for use around pets, children, and visiting wildlife. Additionally, the campaign used messaging that was direct and not overly technical. Residents were most interested in messages that clearly articulated the problem at hand, the proposed solution to that problem, and the positive environmental impact they would achieve.

Priority Audiences(s)
The campaign’s audience is residents of Orange County, California, who currently use sprays to address ant or spider problems in areas outside of their homes.

Behavioral Objectives
The foundational research activities resulted in a list of three behaviors that represented ideal candidates for a behavior change campaign based on their potential impact, probability of adoption, and low rates of adoption (i.e., low penetration). The behaviors were: (1) use ant bait stations instead of sprays and (2) use non-spray methods, such as sweeping away webs, for spider control.

Description of Strategy/Intervention
Barrier and benefit research, along with motivational tools drawn from behavioral science, were used to develop the campaign. The campaign included a suite of vivid materials with engaging graphics and messaging. Strategy elements are described in detail below: Audience Value Proposition: Using non-spray methods results in spider- and ant-free outdoor spaces that are safe for people, pets, and local wildlife. Key Messages: Using non-spray alternatives at home to control ant and spider populations keeps local waterways clean and protects the health of children, pets, and local wildlife. Messenger: H2OC, Orange County’s Stormwater Program Creative Strategy: We used visible branding that tied the overarching H2OC awareness campaign to the behavior change campaign by using a similar color scheme but incorporating new campaign-specific elements; We highlighted the importance of pesticide pollution prevention, used positively framed messages, used normative language highlighting social approval of the behavior, and incorporated terms that both coastal and non-coastal communities would connect to. We used approachable ant and spider imagery and infographics instead of realistic pictures of insects. Each campaign element was designed to directly address the barriers and benefits identified in the research and to enhance motivation by highlighting self-perception and social norms. The assets included commitment cards that were completed and posted publicly and on social media to ensure that commitments were public and durable; instructional videos/guides to address common challenges with using bait stations and non-spray spider control methods; flyers and infographics to help with identification of good spiders; tools to help residents place, care for, and remember the location of bait traps; and a pesticide pollution prevention campaign landing page. Channels: The campaign was delivered through in-person demonstrations on alternative ant and spider control methods. The campaign also incorporated social media channels and a website landing page. Commitments: Orange County residents were asked to commit to protecting local waterways by engaging in one or both of the two target behaviors. Commitments are powerful behavior change tools, especially when written and displayed publicly. To further encourage social diffusion and support efforts to make commitments public and durable, residents can take their commitment cards with them at in-person events to post on their social media and are encouraged to use a specific hashtag. Flyers and infographics: These are used to address knowledge gaps related to each of the desired behaviors that were identified through the preliminary research. Using vivid imagery and positively framed messaging, flyers and infographics addressed knowledge deficits around the use of non-spray control methods and communicated the importance and relevance of pesticide pollution prevention to Orange County residents. Behavior Prompts/ Tools: Feedback collected from residents revealed that barriers to using ant bait stations were not remembering where the bait station had been placed and not knowing when it was appropriate to remove the bait station. To help residents overcome these barriers, we created prompts to aid residents in the process of checking on and maintaining bait stations once they have been placed. Campaign Landing Page: To support in-person events and demonstrations, a campaign landing page was developed on the H2OC website. The page was designed to display program information, house digital versions of outreach materials, showcase commitment photos and provide residents with the opportunity to sign up for H2OC emails.

A suite of materials was designed for the campaign, including Commitment Stickers, Commitment Posters, Bait Station and Calendar Reminder Stickers, Informational Flyer – Ants, Informational Flyer – Spiders, and Yard Signs with campaign Badges. The campaign was designed to be implemented by tabling at local events or relevant locations (e.g., garden stores and nurseries) around the county. A campaign landing page was created to supplement the in-person delivery of information. Because of the difficulty in monitoring and measuring pesticide behaviors, the campaign was designed to utilize effective tools from the social sciences to ensure the materials were well received and as effective as possible at promoting proper pesticide use. The materials provided were developed and refined at each step of the process to incorporate the various research findings. Following a protocol and script, staff engaged with event attendees who approached the campaign booth at an event. The conversation began by asking residents to complete a short event survey about current pest control behaviors, which enabled booth staff to provide information to participants that was relevant and useful. Interactions concluded by asking participants to provide their name and mailing address in order to have a program evaluation survey mailed to them. The campaign has been implemented twice at local nurseries and twice at the Orange County Fair. Deliveries at the Fair were in conjunction with the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners’ booth. Given the campaign’s success during the pilot phase, the program materials have been packaged into a toolkit for H2OC cities to use at relevant events across Orange County. Residents in the initial pilot were excited to engage with the program, so it is expected that the program will be successful with others across the county.

Evaluation Methods and Results
Evaluation of pesticide use behaviors is challenging. The behaviors are primarily confined to private spaces and are not directly observable. Furthermore, there are numerous challenges to accurately monitoring pesticides in receiving water. Because of these challenges, the outcomes of this campaign focused mainly on results from audience research, behavioral intention, and self-reported behavior changes. As a result of following the CBSM process, engagement with the materials was a success – residents committed to using bait stations or keeping outdoor spaces clean. While direct behavioral observations were not possible, on follow-up surveys, booth visitors reported that the materials were helpful and intended to use the recommended strategies. Research on commitments and habit forming shows that public and durable commitments like the ones deployed in this pilot have a greater chance of success at ultimately changing behaviors. Specifically, the pilot was evaluated using four primary data sources: 1. Commitment and event engagement (behavioral intent), 2. Online engagement (additional engagement), 3. Event surveys (baseline knowledge, awareness, and current practices), and 4. Post-event mailed evaluation survey (changes in knowledge, awareness, and current practices since the event). Commitment and Event Engagement Results: Across the implementation of the campaign, dozens of residents have committed to the campaign’s target actions. Residents who interacted with the materials remarked how they loved the name “The Good, the Bad, and the Bugly.” Residents expressed appreciation for a tip about keeping bait stations contained under an upside-down flowerpot, among other program information highlights. Online Engagement Results: in periods after campaign events, website traffic has increased. Of those visiting web pages, there was a greater interest in exploring content related to ant control. That aligns with what was heard at events (that most people had issues with/were interested in controlling ant populations). While a campaign hashtag was not used by residents, one event participant did publicly share their commitment by tagging H2OC on an Instagram story instead. Event Survey Results: Findings from the event surveys have corroborated initial research findings, mainly that ants and spiders are common pests. Another finding is that nearly half of respondents do not know that stormwater is untreated before interacting with campaign staff. Post-event Mailed Evaluation Survey Results: The follow-up survey indicated a shift away from general pesticide sprays to the desired behaviors. Participants were asked about the level of usefulness of various program elements, and all but a campaign yard sign was rated higher than a 7 out of 10.

Entry Letter: CC

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