Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the U.S. The Chesapeake Bay watershed encompasses 64,000 square miles, covers parts of six states and Washington DC. The watershed is home to more than 17 million people and includes over 100,000 small rivers and streams and 150 major rivers, which support more than 2700 species of plants and animals, including 348 fish and 173 shellfish species. In the 1970s, the Chesapeake Bay was discovered to have one of the world’s first identified marine dead zones, where water quality had degraded to the extend that it was unable to support life. Decades of overfishing, declining water quality values and disease devastated fish nursing grounds and decimated oyster populations in the Bay: shellfish harvests declined more than 99% and fishing moratoria were imposed on several species including striped bass and sturgeon. Despite these declines, 500 million pounds of oysters, blue crab, striped bass, and many other species of fish are harvested from the bay each year. The total value of the Bay based on the University of Maryland study completed 15 years ago is likely to be above a trillion at present.
The Clean Water Act (CWA) directs EPA to coordinate Federal and State efforts to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. While efforts have been underway to restore the Bay for more than 25 years, and significant progress has been made over that period, the additional measures are necessary to continue progress toward the goal of a healthy Bay. On May 12, 2009 the President signed Executive Order 13508 calling for the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. In response to the Executive Order and other considerations the Environmental Protection Agency established Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment for Chesapeake Bay.
Controlling or mitigating loading of nutrient, sediments, and other pollutants in the Bay may require changes in treatment technologies and in the rate of implementation of best management practices (BMPs). Given that the Chesapeake Bay watershed encompasses 64,000 square miles in parts of six states and the District of Columbia, implementation of the proposed TMDL is likely to be expensive. While these costs may prove high, a wide range of public benefits may also be anticipated from restoring the Chesapeake Bay.
Abt Associates is supporting efforts by EPA’s National Center of Environmental Economics (NCEE) and EPA Chesapeake Bay program to estimate the benefits and costs of Chesapeake Bay restoration. A wide range of benefits expected to be achieved by improved water quality in the Bay, including commercial fishing and harvesting, recreational fishing and other recreational use of natural habitats and products, enhanced amenity values of real estate, ecosystem services arising from changes in land management. Abt Associates is providing support to NCEE in conducting extensive literature review, assessing data sources and ecological models, identifying categories of benefits expected from the proposed TMDL, compiling and analyzing water quality, ecological, and economic data, and estimating benefits. Abt Associates is also providing support to NCEE in implementing a stated preference study of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL benefits.
As a first step toward identifying benefits of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, EPA held a two day workshop titled “Chesapeake Bay Economic Researchers' Workshop” on 10/31/11 -11/1/11. Abt Associates participated in the workshop presentations and provided support to NCEE in compiling workshop proceedings. Workshop presentations are provided below.
Workshop Presentation Documents
Welcome & Introduction
Chesapeake Bay TMDL Primer: Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Bay Water Quality Models by Rich Batiuk, Chesapeake Bay Program Office , U.S. EPA, Region 3
Lowering Barriers to Cost-Effective Restoration by Lisa A. Wainger, Ph.D., University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Water Quality Trading
Factors Affecting the Potential Role of Point-Nonpoint Trading in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by Marc O. Ribaudo, USDA, Economic Research Service
Economic Study of Nutrient Credit Trading for the Chesapeake Bay by George Van Houtven, Robert Beach, and Ross Loomis, RTI International
Ecological Effects & Fishing
Using Fisheries-Focused Ecosystem Models to Assess the Benefits of Chesapeake Bay TMDLs by Howard Townsend, Ph.D. and Tom Ihde, Ph.D., NOAA
Chesapeake Bay Commercial Fishing Benefits Analysis by Steve Newbold, U.S. EPA, National Center for Environmental Economics
Recreational Fishing and Other Water Based Recreation by Matt Massey and Steve Newbold, U.S. EPA, National Center for Environmental Economics
Will The TMDL Result in Increased Benefits from Recreational Fishing? by Doug Lipton, University of Maryland
Hedonic Property Value
Chesapeake Bay Hedonic Analysis by Patrick Walsh, Charles Griffiths, Dennis Guignet, Heather Klemick and David Simpson, U.S. EPA, National Center for Environmental Economics
Partial Identification of Hedonic Demand Functions by Congwen Zhang and Kevin Boyle, Virginia Tech; Nicolai Kuminoff, Arizona State University
Developing a Stated Preference Study of Water Quality Improvements in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by Chris Moore, U.S. EPA, National Center for Environmental Economics
The Definition & Value of Chesapeake Bay Environmental Endpoints by James Boyd and Alan Krupnick, Resources for the Future
Lessons Learned from the 316b Choice Question Development by Erik Helm, U.S. EPA, Office of Water
Using Stated Preferences: Comments by Anna Alberini, University of Maryland
Ecosystem & Other Benefits
Ecosystem Services and Other Values by Andrew Manale, U.S. EPA, National Center for Environmental Economics
Groundwater and Sediment-Related Benefits by Will Wheeler, U.S. EPA, National Center for Environmental Economics
Comprehensive Benefit Analysis of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL by Elena Besedin, Abt Associates
Considerations for a Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL by Charles Griffiths, U.S. EPA, National Center for Environmental Economics
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