Targeting Investments to Cost Effectively Restore and Protect Wetland Ecosystems: Some Economic Insights
Economic Research Service ERR-183, February 2015
63 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 19, 2015
USDA has spent more than $4.2 billion on wetland restoration and protection over the last two decades. One challenge in allocating these funds is the lack of information on variations in wetland benefits and costs across the Nation. This report discusses the biophysical impacts of new wetlands for eight benefit categories: duck hunting, carbon sequestration, flood protection, nitrogen removal, species protection, open space, sediment removal, and groundwater recharge, as well as the value of these impacts for some categories. In addition, it presents county-level estimates of the costs of restoring and preserving wetlands for some parts of the United States. Although the estimates range in precision and are not comprehensive, they call attention to some areas where the benefits of new wetlands are likely to exceed costs or perhaps may be insignificant. For example, the benefits of restoring and preserving wetlands near the Missouri River in central North and South Dakota are likely to exceed costs. Findings underscore the need for additional information that may increase the number, accuracy, and spatial resolution of wetland benefit estimates.
Keywords: Wetland conservation, ecosystem benefits, environmental economics, environmental targeting, nonmarket benefits, values of wetland ecosystems
JEL Classification: Q24, Q28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation