This report explores the value of floodplains and attempts to explain how the nation's rivers and floodplains have become physically disconnected, leading to loss of floodplain functions. With federal agencies now incorporating the value of natural infrastructure into federal planning and decision-making, there are opportunities as never before to examine and change the disincentives for floodplain conservation.
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 ecosystem services valuation was the first comprehensive economic analysis of the entire Colorado River Basin, a 249,000 square mile region spanning across mountains, plateaus, and low-lying valleys of the American Southwest. Colorado River Basin ecosystems provide a suite of ecosystem services that includes water supply, flood risk reduction, and recreation. The analysis highlighted the importance of engaging water utilities stakeholders, as the Basin's ecosystems provide between $56.5 billion and $466.5 billion in economic benefits every year.
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.
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.