Banner Photo Credit: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington via Flickr
Meadowdale Beach Park is a natural asset that provides a broad range of public benefits to Snohomish County residents. The ecosystems provide habitat for an array of species, the trails and beach are a huge draw for recreational visitors, and the park setting supports a variety of environmental and recreation-based education programs for groups who incorporate park visits into their curriculum. However, the lower park is also frequently flooded and beach access cut off due to the railroad embankment and under-sized box culvert; the only passageway between upland park areas and the beach. To enhance public safety, address maintenance and flooding issues, and restore natural sediment processes and habitat critical for native species, including Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed Chinook salmon, Snohomish County Parks and Recreation lead a collaborative effort to put forth an alternative park design, the Meadowdale Beach Park and Estuary Restoration Project (MBPERP).
Benefit-cost analysis can be used to tie together various stakeholder interests and perspectives in a single comprehensive analysis. Snohomish County and the Sustainable Lands Strategy stakeholders are currently considering several courses of action that address floodplain management in the Lower Skykomish reach. Earth Economics has been asked to provide a holistic benefit-cost analysis framework that incorporates benefits and costs associated with economic, environmental, and social impacts to be used as a decision support tool. A holistic benefit-cost analysis is key to advancing the SLS goals of safeguarding the agricultural sector, restoring and protecting salmon habitat, and reducing flood damage.
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.
To view a full list of Earth Economics' publications since 1999, please visit our Publications Archive.