Title

Valuation of ecosystem services from wetlands mitigation in the United States

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2015

Abstract

© 2015 by the authors. Section 404 of the U.S. Clean Water Act includes most wetlands in its jurisdiction and requires wetland mitigation to compensate for permitted wetland losses. These mitigation wetlands can provide ecosystem services similar to original wetlands if properly constructed. Improvement of wetland monitoring requirements coupled with economic assessment is critical for effective implementation of the mitigation policy. The economic assessment when left out of evaluation of mitigation policy could result in mitigation wetlands being given too little weight in policy decisions. Under the assumption that mitigation requirements reported in the Army Corps permit files represent actual wetland creation, ecosystem services value is estimated using a wetland benefit-function transfer approach. Wetland mitigation requirements during 2010-2012 recorded in the Army Corps permit files is used for the analysis. The results indicate that cumulative ecosystem services value per acre per year is in the range of $5000 to $70,000, which translates to a nationwide annual aggregate benefit of $2.7 billion. Given the history of the ecosystem services not fully captured nor adequately quantified, the current analysis is an initial step in understanding the value of wetland mitigation.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Land

First Page

182

Last Page

196

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