Client: Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee
Case Study: Peak developed a Wildcat Cove eelgrass protection social marketing campaign aimed at reducing harmful boat launching activities. We worked with Shew Design – a strategic communications company – to develop messaging that encourages boaters to engage in behaviors that protect eelgrass beds when they are launching their boats. Working for the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), the team’s work aimed to avoid boat launching activities that can damage fragile eelgrass beds at Wildcat Cove in Larrabee State Park. The boat launch at Wildcat Cove is the only launch location for many miles and is widely used by local boaters.
Our team conducted field research including boat launch observations, many boater interviews, and a public survey. We assessed how the boat launch is used in a variety of different circumstances, how boaters perceive eelgrass, and what influences their decisions about launching their boats. With key graphic and strategic communication expertise from Shew Design, our team established a target audience and key messages about eelgrass protection. Shew Design built visual and written materials for the MRC to use on-site that will communicate and educate users of the boat launch.
Impact: Eelgrass is the nursery of the sea. Wildcat Cove is full of eelgrass, but recreational boaters may be impacting the eelgrass with their boat launch activities. Learning more about what influences this behavior informed messages that will educate and increase awareness of the potential impacts on habitat and the ecosystem and what to avoid to protect the fragile ecosystem. Key messaging works to inspire voluntary compliance in protecting eelgrass by reducing and limiting boat launching activities in certain places and at certain times. Our resulting campaign was strategically focused and will be used to communicate and reinforce desired behavior by boaters at Wildcat Cove.