A primary, but rarely examined, justification for ecosystem valuation studies is that monetization of environmental amenities and services makes a needed contribution to environmental decision making. This paper systematically examines the role and contribution of economic analysis, and specifically ecosystem valuation, in a precedent-setting dam removal case. The removal of operating hydropower dams for the purpose of ecosystem restoration (as opposed for safety reasons) is rapidly gaining national attention. One of the first examples involved two dams on the Elwha River in the state of Washington. In this paper we describe the technical analysis that was employed and how such analysis contributed to that dam removal decision. Ecosystem valuation played a minor role in the decision to remove the Elwha dams and participants in hydropower relicensing decisions in general do not rely on valuation studies to decide levels of ecosystem enhancements.
Leonard A. Shabman
Working Paper — Dec 18, 2018
Ecosystem Valuation and Hydropower Licensing Decisions: Lessons from the FERC Experience
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission considered, and then rejected, using non-market valuation methods for comparing ecosystem values to hydro-electric power values when making dam licensing decisions. Instead, FERC instituted a deliberative and decentralized stakeholder negotiation process as a way to compare and make tradeoffs between environmental values and power production when making licensing decisions.
Journal Article — Jun 18, 2020
Quantifying the Human Health Benefits of Using Satellite Information to Detect Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms and Manage Recreational Advisories in US Lakes
This article presents an impact framework to estimate the socioeconomic benefits of satellite remote sensing for detecting cyanoHABs and managing recreational advisories at freshwater lakes.
Explainer — Jun 17, 2020
Energy Efficiency 101
The basics of improving energy efficiency, from how it can reduce energy use and mitigate climate change to the policies in place to encourage people to invest in energy-efficient products.