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Research Project: Ecohydrological Processes, Scale, Climate Variability, and Watershed Management

Location: Southwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Valuing preservation and restoration alternatives for ecosystem services in the southwestern U.S.

Author
item BROADBENT, C.D. - Illinois State University
item BROOKSHIRE, D.S. - University Of New Mexico
item Goodrich, David - Dave
item DIXON, M.D. - University Of South Dakota
item BRAND, A. - Us Geological Survey (USGS)
item THACHER, J. - University Of New Mexico
item STEWART, S. - Adams State College

Submitted to: Ecohydrology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2015
Publication Date: 10/15/2015
Citation: Broadbent, C., Brookshire, D., Goodrich, D.C., Dixon, M., Brand, A., Thacher, J., Stewart, S. 2015. Valuing preservation and restoration alternatives for ecosystem services in the southwestern U.S. Ecohydrology. 8:851-862. https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.1628.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.1628

Interpretive Summary: Conservation of freshwater systems in the semi-arid southwestern U.S. is a critical issue as these systems support habitat for wildlife and provide water for humans and agriculture. Economists have utilized a survey-based method to value non-marketed goods and services such as freshwater systems for much of the last four decades. Recently, several studies that have advocated for ecosystem accounting units to be created in valuing ecosystem services such as freshwater systems. Working with natural scientists a set of ecological end-products were developed for two river regions in the southwestern U.S. and are used in the survey to obtain a survey participant’s willingness to pay values for riparian restoration and preservation alternatives. The results demonstrate statistically significant preservation and restoration estimates for the Upper San Pedro and restoration estimates for the Middle Rio Grande. This demonstrates that the development of ecological end-products, grounded in natural science information are comprehensible to survey participants and can be used to establish monetary values for non-marketed goods like riparian condition and riparian bird populations.

Technical Abstract: Conservation of freshwater systems in the semi-arid southwestern U.S. is a critical issue as these systems support habitat for wildlife and provide for consumptive use for humankind. Economists have utilized stated preference techniques to value non-marketed goods and services such as freshwater systems for much of the last four decades. Recently, Boyd and Banzhaf (2007) have advocated for ecosystem accounting units to be created in valuing ecosystem services such as freshwater systems. Working with natural scientists a set of ecological end-products were developed for two river regions in the southwestern U.S. and are used in a contingent valuation survey to obtain willingness to pay values for restoration and preservation alternatives to the regions. The results demonstrate statistically significant preservation and restoration estimates for the Upper San Pedro and restoration estimates for the Middle Rio Grande. This demonstrates that the development of ecological end-products, grounded in natural science information are comprehensible to survey participants.