Oliver Graf Biel/Bienne January 24, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

I'm currently working on a project trying to engage Swiss farmers in handling liquid manure more cautiously.

In a target area with high conservation value approximately 150 farmers cultivate areas close to brooks and streams that harbor threatened fish species. When liquid manure is spilled into these waters there is a very high risk of killing entire populations, cancelling out several year's conservation efforts.

Each year up to about 5 accidents are reported in the target area (in some years there are none). We are faced with a difficult situation:

* the farmer's risks awareness is generally low
* many farmers care little for the environment, certainly not for rare fish species that aren't even edible
* individuals operate by themselves and not collectively (like say, in a factory)
* accidents occur with low incidences but bring about dire consequences

Is anybody aware of similar situations and willing to offer advice or references on how to proceed?

We are considering to head for a strategy that involves (public?) commitments and prompts but feel not quite sure.

Your help is warmly appreciated


Oliver Graf