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For FY17, the USGS Powell Center has funded a new working group on natural capital accounting whose goals align substantially with the SECI project. Notably, this will extend SECI’s work by aligning ecosystem services and their values with conventional economic measures (i.e., Gross Domestic Product, GDP) to more clearly quantify linkages between the environment and economy. This group also has a proposal currently in review with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) that, if funded, will extend its work through FY19. The group’s primary goals include: 1) synthesizing existing natural capital accounting data to quantify environmental-economic trends over time, 2) running national scale models...
Tags: Pilot Study
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This pilot leverages National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) stream health data collected in Oregon’s Willamette River Valley and Washington’s Puget Sound to estimate the economic value of water quality in this region of the Pacific Northwest. The USGS NAWQA Program is currently conducting a regional assessment of water-quality, habitat stressors, and biological communities (including salmon) in the Willamette River Valley and Puget Sound, with the overall goal of evaluating the relative importance of factors affecting stream health throughout the region. Sampling will take place across more than eighty stream sites in the region to analyze gradients of human disturbance, characterize chemical stressors,...
Categories: Project; Tags: Front Page, Pilot Study
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Cultural ecosystem services (CES) are defined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) as “the non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences.” The ecosystems within which human cultures exist have always influenced the evolution of those cultures. At the same time, human systems continually shape their surrounding environment and modify the availability of certain valued services. While there are specific cultural ‘‘services’’ that ecosystems provide (such as aesthetic enjoyment, recreation, spiritual fulfillment, and intellectual development), it is difficult to separate these services or their combined...
Tags: Pilot Study
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The Delaware River pilot study will integrate biophysical information on freshwater mussels into a stated preference nonmarket valuation household survey to estimate the ecosystem service benefits of clean water supply to downstream users. The Delaware River basin is home to a healthy and substantial freshwater mussel population which has been characterized on a nearly continuous basis for the entire river. It is also unique in that a decision support system (known as the REFDSS) has been developed for the basin as part of the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART initiative and the USGS’s National Water Census to facilitate management of key ecological resources in the river. Because of the well-established...
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Floodplains provide numerous benefits to people by reducing downstream flooding and trapping sediments and nutrients. Floodplain services can be especially important for downstream estuaries such as the Chesapeake Bay. Issue: Floodplains provide numerous benefits to people by reducing downstream flooding and trapping sediments and nutrients. Information on the capacity of floodplains to retain sediment and nutrients is important to understanding the value that floodplain areas provide by reducing the transport of pollutants to downstream rivers and estuaries such as the Chesapeake Bay. Floodplains can improve downstream water quality by intercepting upland sources of sediment and by trapping sediment during...
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Drylands make up approximately 35% of the US and 80% of DOI lands, all located in the West and especially the Colorado Plateau. Consisting of arid and semi-arid ecosystems, drylands are strongly resource-limited with low resilience and resistance to abiotic perturbations. Thus, small environmental changes often have disproportionally large ecological effects. One source of disturbance in the region is energy exploration and development (EED), which has also been a major driver of economic growth and social change in the western US for more than 100 years. In 2007, there were almost 90,000 abandoned and current wells spanning 60 years of activity on the Colorado Plateau, and the number of wells has been increasing...
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Wilderness management agencies are charged with administering the Wilderness Act and subsequent legislation, while balancing that with handling the relationship between the public and lands protected as wilderness. In addition to benefits related to recreation and the existence values of wilderness, many benefits key to human well-being (e.g., clean water and air; refuges for threatened plants and animals) flow off-site from wilderness. The Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute’s Wilderness Economics Working Group (WEWG) facilitates research collaboration among federal agencies on the economic and social dimensions of current and emerging issues confronting American wilderness areas. The WEWG has identified...
Tags: Pilot Study


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