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River Projects: Economics


As river conservation enters the new millenium, conservation advocates are increasingly faced with the challenge of demonstrating to local communities that protecting rivers is a sound economic investment as well as good environmental and social policy. This argument can be made from many perspectives: the economic benefits of river-related tourism, the positive impact on property values, the cost-savings to a municipality in maintaining clean drinking water, etc. RTCA is working with partner programs and organizations to build a solid body of knowledge that analyzes the economic impacts of rivers from many angles, and provides the results to citizen groups in a user-friendly fashion.

examples

resources

 

Resources:

Economic and Social Values of Recreational Floating on the Niobrara National Scenic River (2009)

The intent of this study was to generate objective and accurate estimates of the social and economic values associated with recreational floating on the Niobrara National Scenic River (NNSR) to enable the State of Nebraska to evaluate the merits of a instream appropriation application on the Niobrara River for recreation purposes.

The study combines the results of prior recreation studies of the NNSR in conjunction with new surveys of Nebraskans statewide and of NNSR floaters in 2007 and 2008 in order to: determine Nebraskans’ knowledge, use and perceptions of the Niobrara River; describe the historical and current characteristics of NNSR recreational floating activities; assess floaters’ perceptions of alternative NNSR flow levels; quantify the current (2008) economic value of floating recreation on the NNSR (direct expenditures, multiplier effects and travel costs); estimate both current and potential (future) economic losses associated with sub–optimal (low) flows on the NNSR.

The study was prepared by Univ. Nebraska researchers and funded by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Nebraska Environmental Trust. .

Use and Economic Importance of the Chattooga River

This report presents the results of a comprehensive study of the 57 miles of the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River, flowing through northwestern South Carolina, northeastern Georgia and southwestern North Carolina. During 2001, researchers conducted a survey to learn about the river's recreation users, its economic benefits, its economic impacts on towns, and its effects on nearby property values. This study was sponsored by RTCA, the NPS National Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, and American Rivers, Inc. The survey and resulting study were conducted and written by North Carolina State University.

Use and Economic Importance of the West Branch of the Farmington River

This report presents the results of a comprehensive study of the 14-mile Wild and Scenic segment of the West Branch of the Farmington River in Connecticut. During 2001, researchers conducted a survey to learn about the river's recreation users, its economic benefits, its economic impacts on towns, and its effects on nearby property values. This study was sponsored by RTCA, the NPS National Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, and American Rivers, Inc. The survey and resulting study were conducted and written by North Carolina State University.

Case Studies of Water Trail Impacts on Rural Communities

by Lindsy Johnson, MCRP, for National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, 2002 (4 MB)
This paper presents a comparative analysis of rural communities with calm water trails. Case studies illustrate impacts of calm water trails and trends are drawn from community economic development associated with water trails.

This bibliography offers an extensive list of studies, papers, and articles that explore the economic benefits of conserved rivers. Each listed document is accompanied by an annotation which describes its relevance to river conservation. The bibliography is organized into the following categories: floodplain management, instream flow, adjacent property value, general value to the public, recreation and tourism, removal of unsafe/obsolete dams, water quality, wildlife/habitat/riparian, "How to…".

Small Dam Removal: A Review of Potential Economic Benefits

This publication describes many of the potential economic benefits associated with restoring fisheries and river health through the selective removalof small dams. Using examples of more than 20 removed small dams, it makes the case that removal is often much less costly than repair. Also described are issues that local decision-makers should consider when confronted with the question of repair versus removal. This report was a cooperative effort between RTCA and Trout Unlimited.

 
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