This report presents a framework for scientists, academic institutions, and land stewards to integrate existing biophysical models within a single modeling platform to enable better decisions concerning land use planning, salmon restoration, storm water projects, forestry practices, and flood risk reduction. The Multi-scale Integrated Models of Ecosystem Services (MIMES) demonstrates how current demographic and ecological trends place immense pressure on the natural environment, with significant economic implications. MIMES is the first platform to integrate existing local, national, and global models to systemically answer questions related to sea-level rise, flood risk, and restoration needs.
The Mississippi River Delta is a vast national economic asset that is being squandered at tremendous cost. Over the last 80 years, the Delta has lost over 1.2 million acres of land, and the coastline has retreated by as much as 30 miles. Yet, this area is well worth the investment for restoration. This report presents the most comprehensive measure of the economic value of the Mississippi River Delta’s natural systems to date, demonstrating that the area’s ecosystems provide at least $12 to $47 billion in benefits to people each year. If this natural capital is treated as an economic asset, the Delta’s minimum asset value is $330 billion to $1.3 trillion. This study also examines the dynamic physical changes affecting the Delta region, outlines the economic implications of those changes, and compares three investment/restoration scenarios for the region.