An Ecosystem Services Valuation of
the Lower Skykomish and Braided Reach
Understanding the value of the goods and services that nature provides is a critical first step when making decisions regarding natural resource management. Nature’s goods include fish, timber, drinking water and agricultural products, while services include food protection, drinking-water filtration, local weather and climate stability, beauty, and recreation. These are just a few examples of the natural goods and services which our communities rely on.
This report values some of the ecosystem goods and services provided by the Lower Skykomish Reach and the Braided Reach, including their associated sub-basins, in the Snohomish Watershed in Western Washington State. Our analysis reveals that the combined ecosystems of the Lower Skykomish and Braided Reach provide between $888 million and $1.6 billion in economic value every year. In present terms, the Lower Skykomish Reach and the Braided Reach are valued between $89 billion and $166 billion when considering a 100-year timeframe.
Resilient communities and economic sustainability rely on healthy ecosystems. Ecosystem Services Valuation (ESV) is key to advancing the Sustainable Lands Strategy (SLS) goals of safeguarding the agricultural sector, restoring and protecting salmon habitat, and reducing flood damage. When nature is included in the financial bottom line, it becomes harder to ignore costly impacts development decisions have on our ecosystems, and economy.
Suggested Citation: Van Deren, M., Armistead, C., Casey, P., Flores, L. 2017. Nature’s Value in the Skykomish Watershed: An Ecosystem Services Valuation of the Lower Skykomish and Braided Reach. Earth Economics. Tacoma, WA.
Prepared for Snohomish County and Snohomish County Sustainable Lands Strategy Executive Committee.