Community assets such as trails, parks and public open space provide numerous economic and social benefits, from improved health and reduced medical expenses to purchases at local businesses and job creation. Without access to trails, parks and open space, these benefits would be greatly diminished. This report summarizes the return on investment for community assets in the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Basin of south-central Alaska, including social (recreation, tourism, human health, public safety, subsistence, culture, and history) and economic (business, tax revenues, taxpayer savings) benefits.
This report demonstrates the value of Washington State Parks in connecting Washingtonians to outdoor recreation opportunities. State parks are responsible for $1.5 billion in consumer expenditures and serve as a vehicle for rural development as wealth transfers from urban to rural areas. State parks generate at least $64 million in state sales tax that directly benefits the Washington general fund. Every year, land conserved by the State Parks system also provides the state between $500 million and $1.2 billion in ecosystem services that include water quality improvements, native species habitat, and aesthetic values.
The St. Louis River in northeastern Minnesota provides tremendous economic benefits to the stakeholders within its watershed. Its water and land are natural capital assets that produce ecosystem service benefits that include clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and natural food sources. Every year, the watershed's ecosystem services provide $5 billion to $14 billion in economic benefits. Despite mining activity in the river's headwaters and the Area of Concern at the river's mouth, the St. Louis River still provides significant economic inputs for the regional economy.
In collaboration with the USFS, Earth Economics presents a measurable framework for ecosystem goods and services, cultural services, and human well-being concepts. Cultural services often go unrecognized in land management and decision making for development plans, and thus risk degradation and loss. This report offers an approach to measure ecosystem services alongside cultural, social, and health benefits across the urban to rural gradient. The Green-Duwamish Watershed is highlighted to represent diverse land-use cases, from rural,indigenous groups to South Seattle's urban city dwellers.
This report presents the results of the first ever open space valuation of Western Washington’s Central Puget Sound region, including King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Ten open space services, comparable with ecosystem services, are valued for each of 15 land cover types. These services represent a substantial and critical component of the regional economy, contributing $11.4 to $25.2 billion per year.
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 explores the importance of outdoor recreation in Whatcom County. The County's recreation-related businesses form an important hub of regional economic activity and contribute to the local tax base. This report includes an economic contribution analysis of outdoor recreation and further illustrates the value of Whatcom County's recreational lands through an ecosystem services valuation.
This report presents an independent environmental and social benchmarking analysis of Nautilus Minerals’ proposed deep seabed mining project. The primary goal of the analysis was to measure the environmental and social impacts of the Solwara 1 project in comparison with three terrestrial mines.
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.
The natural capital in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, provides a robust flow of essential economic goods and services benefits, including food, water, clean air, natural beauty, climatic stability, storm and flood protection, and recreation. Agricultural lands make up over 65% of the ecosystems in Lancaster County, which is the first county in the nation to reach 100,000 acres of preserved farmland. This analysis identified the natural capital from farmland preservation at $676 million in annual economic benefits. If treated like an asset, Lancaster County ecosystems value at $17.5 billion.