Environmental Studies Program



Benjamin Breske

Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2022


Copyright 2022, Benjamin Breske


This case study was completed in a lake community in the upper midwestern United States. It seeks to understand the social factors that allowed a lake community to establish an effort to protect against a zebra mussel invasion, as well as the perceptions of the different stakeholders and the steps they took to get the effort going. Rural community action is important for the sustainability of many of the world’s natural resources as these communities are often the first line of defense. Understanding how efforts like this one come together is vital for creating similar efforts elsewhere. I conducted a series of interviews with key figures in the effort to gain a more thorough understanding of the elements of the case mentioned above. I transcribed and qualitatively coded the interviews to highlight the factors, perceptions, and steps involved in the community’s process. I found that the community has strong instances of each form of capital outlined in the Community Capitals Framework (Flora et al., 2016). Each one of these community capitals played a key role in the successful establishment of the community’s effort. Through the interviews, I identified the three key factors that were important in this instance as the community’s sense of identity and connection to the lake, its effective organization, and high level of education.