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

See all articles by LeRoy Hansen

LeRoy Hansen

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Daniel Hellerstein

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS), Resource and Rural Economics Division

Marc Ribaudo

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

James Williamson

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

David Nulph

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Charles Loesch

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

William Crumpton

Iowa State University

Date Written: February 19, 2015

Abstract

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

Hansen, LeRoy Thomas and Hellerstein, Daniel and Ribaudo, Marc and Williamson, James and Nulph, David and Loesch, Charles and Crumpton, William, Targeting Investments to Cost Effectively Restore and Protect Wetland Ecosystems: Some Economic Insights (February 19, 2015). Economic Research Service ERR-183, February 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2735071

LeRoy Thomas Hansen (Contact Author)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E St., SW
Washington, DC 20036-5831
United States
202-694-5612 (Phone)

Daniel Hellerstein

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS), Resource and Rural Economics Division ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5613 (Phone)
202-694-5756 (Fax)

Marc Ribaudo

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5488 (Phone)
202-502-6174 (Fax)

James Williamson

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
(202) 694-5539 (Phone)

David Nulph

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States

Charles Loesch

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ( email )

Washington, DC 20240
United States

William Crumpton

Iowa State University ( email )

613 Wallace Road
Ames, IA 50011-2063
United States

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