Modeling Economic Effects on Recreation from Dam Re-operation
How will ESA recommendations on dam operations impact recreational uses at Reclamation facilities? What are the economic impacts? What is the economic value of changes in the quantity and quality of recreation?
Need and Benefit
This research project is consistent with Reclamation's mission of managing and protecting water and related resources in an economically sound manner.
Water based recreation at Reclamation projects provides many economic benefits to surrounding geographic areas in terms of revenue, income and jobs. If this research is accomplished, the model could be used as a tool by decision-makers and recreation managers responding to changing reservoir and river conditions to assist in formulating operational alternatives to minimize impacts to regional recreation and local economies. This effort will be valuable in adapting reservoir and river management plans to help sustain regional recreation and its associated benefits and balance the demand for water uses to yield the most efficient allocation among competing users. The model output will also assist in identifying mitigation for the activities impacted. This research will further substantiate the value of recreation areas and the benefits provided through Reclamation-managed resources in the region. The identification and measurement of Aspinall Unit re-operation impacts can be transferred or applied to other Reclamation and non-Reclamation projects that require a similar type of analysis.
Where this model can be applied, direct efficiency and monetary savings of $20,000 to $40,000 per study would occur by transferring this technology and applicable data. The model would eliminate the need to develop individual site-specific models to value recreation and its economic impacts.