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This report describes many of the benefits and costs associated with snow and snowpack, with a focus on the Upper Colorado Basin (UCB). We explore some of the ecological and economic changes that can be expected from climate shifts, and discuss their significance throughout the UCB and beyond. We point to a few policy responses that are attempting to mitigate and adapt to the risks associated with decreasing snowpack and water flows.
This benefit-cost analysis investigated Southeast Washington's Lower Snake River dams, modeling the regional economic benefits in the form of outdoor recreation expenditures that are expected to accompany a free-flowing river. The dams yield a benefit-cost ration of only 0.15, but a free-flowing Lower Snake River may yield a ratio of over 4.3. In a dam breach scenario, outdoor recreation could generate as much as $500 million in consumer expenditures in the first few years alone.
This report evaluates the effect that calculating environmental benefits could have in two flood and stormwater mitigation case studies in Wisconsin: the first, a partially-funded property acquisition project in Jefferson County; the second, a stormwater mitigation project in the City of Portage. Integrating environmental benefits into hazard planning will enable local and state floodplain and emergency management professionals and stakeholder groups to use FEMA policy updates on benefit-cost analyses to fund innovative flood-risk reduction projects.
This report evaluates the costs and benefits of floodplain protection in Waterbury, Vermont and Willsboro, New York in the Lake Champlain Basin, U.S.A. The primary elements of the project are ecosystem services valuation, buildout/conservation analysis, hydrologic calculations of current existing peak flows and predicted future peak flows, hydraulic modeling of floodplains, building damage simulations due to flooding, and cost-benefit accounting to determine the best form of flood risk reduction for each community. The most economically sound flood risk mitigation plans were found in towns in which damage reductions were high, the loss of tax revenue was low, the cost of mitigation activity was low, and the ecosystem service value was high.
This report presents a return on investment analysis of the North Wind’s Weir Restoration project. The environmental benefits provided by the restored transition zone of the lower Duwamish River are considered over time. The restoration, although a small area, will provide long-term benefits, particularly for salmon habitat. The results justified investment in the North Wind's Weir restoration project, and the report outcomes have been featured in numerouspresentations to federal partners, namely HUD and FEMA, in support of natural capital investment.
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