Using Visual Graphics of Mass Wasting for Community Outreach

Authors: E Jeninga, Dean Wink

Mentor: Juk Bhattacharyya

Port Washington, WI is a community along the shore of Lake Michigan. Their scenic view makes it a popular destination for tourists. Their shoreline is subject to lake erosion, and increased rainfall leads to landslides within the city. However, the general public seems mostly unaware of the various factors that can cause slope failure events in their own communities. Unless bridged, this knowledge gap can lead to potential death and property damage as people may fail to take appropriate and timely slope stabilization measures to protect their communities. The United States Geological Survey has released a Landslide Handbook, however, the terminology used throughout is difficult to understand without expert commentary. Simply finding the information you’re looking for becomes a game of “Where’s Waldo”. The glossary of landslide terms is found on page 60 of the handbook rather than at the beginning or the end. This makes the first 59 pages incomprehensible to the general reader. To address this issue, we have designed a simple visual graphic of different types of slope failures, with explanations of causes, effects, and general descriptions of each. Community outreach is important when talking about landslides because people need to be prepared so they can be proactive in protecting their own property and the community’s economy. This past summer the community experienced a slump on their North Park Beach. We shared the graphic with Port Washington city leaders and were met with a positive response. This project is part of an ongoing conversation between our team and the Port Washington community. The purpose of creating this poster for the Port Washington community is to bridge the gap between specialists and the general public.