State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008MI117B
Title: The returns on investments in the establishment of riparian buffers for water quality remediation in Michigan's inland lakes
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/ 1/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: Eighth
Focus Categories: Economics, Models, Water Quality
Keywords: water quality, economic, hedonic valuation, property values, cost, riparian buffers, property values
Principal Investigators: Cheruvelil, Kendra Spence; Kramer, Daniel Boyd
Federal Funds: $ 15,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 34,015
Abstract: Currently, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MI-DEQ) is drafting new rules that will implement scientifically defensible nutrient standards for all of Michigan inland lakes (11,000 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs with an area of at least 5 acres) and streams (over 36,000 miles of rivers and streams). These standards will serve as a framework within which the MI-DEQ can assess the state of Michigan's waterbodies, protect those with excellent water quality, and better manage those with poor water quality. As part of the process of getting these new rules passed into law, the MI-DEQ must provide evidence of the economic, social, and environmental benefits associated with the implementation of these nutrient standards. Although most people agree with the idea that Michigan's inland lakes and streams are important, it is often more difficult to achieve consensus about the magnitude of their importance. Kramer and Cheruvelil are currently working on a state-wide economic hedonic valuation study of Michigan's inland lakes and streams. Here, we propose to integrate the results of our valuation study with a predictive water quality model and a cost model of implementing riparian buffers to improve water quality. Together, these coupled models provide complete information on the returns on investments in the establishment of riparian buffers to improve water quality. This study will allow for better public understanding of the importance of Michigan's inland water resources and will provide a common currency for communication between scientists, policy-makers, and managers.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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