Viewing entries tagged
Matt Van Deren

San Juan County Oil Spill Risk & Consequences Assessment

San Juan County Oil Spill Risk & Consequences Assessment

The shoreline and marine ecosystems of San Juan County provide benefits that would be impractical or even impossible to replace, including water quality, air quality, flood risk reduction, and habitat for threatened and endangered species. Once lost, these services that the county receives for free must be replaced with costly built solutions, which are often less resilient and shorter-lived. Understanding and accounting for ecosystem services reveals the true economic benefits of healthy ecosystems and the true economic damages that pollution events such as oil spills generate for communities like the San Juan County.

The Costs of Sprawl

The Costs of Sprawl

In 2017, Earth Economics consulted with the Puyallup Watershed Initiative to prepare an exploratory report to better understand the potential tradeoffs that can occur when developing properties in incorporated and unincorporated Pierce County.

The Whales in Our Waters

The Whales in Our Waters

To better understand the economic incentives to invest in Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) recovery, Earth Economics conducted an economic contribution analysis to estimate the value of whale watching in San Juan County.

THE NATURAL VALUE OF  DISCOVERY PARK

THE NATURAL VALUE OF DISCOVERY PARK

Discovery Park is an important natural asset for the City of Seattle. The park has provided ecosystem benefits for generations, and continues to support a vibrant culture and robust economy today. 

Flood Damage in the Skykomish Watershed

Flood Damage in the Skykomish Watershed

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.

Nature's Value in the Skykomish Watershed

Nature's Value in the Skykomish Watershed

An Ecosystem Services Valuation of
the Lower Skykomish and Braided Reach

As long as we are forced to make choices we are going through the process of valuation.
— Robert Costanza

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.