Economic Valuation of Galveston Bay Ecosystem Services and Estuarine Resources
This workshop will provide the results of two important economic analyses concerning the economic valuation of the Galveston Bay ecosystem and estuarine resources. Interactive key-pad voting by participants will be used to enhance discussion. Quantifying the economic value of estuarine resources and the services provided by estuarine ecosystems provides valuable scientific and communication information for restoring and preserving ecosystems. However, the absence of a market or a market price to reflect the economic value attached to these ecological benefits makes it difficult to account for the non-market economic values of these important resources in planning and decision-making processes. Consequently, many of the valued ecological services provided by Galveston Bay "for free" are overlooked and/or undervalued in both the private and public sectors. During this workshop two economic analyses will be highlighted that begin to address the need for better understanding of the value of Galveston Bay resources and the services they provide. The first presentation introduces an economic valuation method for valuing freshwater use value. The recreational nonmarket use value of water levels at the Guadalupe River was estimated and the results of this research guide the estimates of the use value of freshwater inflows to Galveston Bay. The model used is a travel cost and single site count data econometric model. Results are derived using data mixed with observed revealed preference data and hypothetical contingent behavior data. The second study estimates the economic value of select ecosystem services provided by Galveston Bay. We have identified and catalogued the various ecosystem services within the Galveston Bay system and then systematically matched the available valuation methods to these services. The study also includes a replacement cost analysis for flood mitigation, water quality and habitat provision, and on market value analysis for the Galveston Bay watershed. The preliminary results of this analysis will be presented during this workshop.