Visitor Values and Local Economic Impacts of Riparian Habitat Preservation: California's Kern River Preserve
|Title||Visitor Values and Local Economic Impacts of Riparian Habitat Preservation: California's Kern River Preserve|
|Year of Publication||2005|
|Authors||Colby, BG, Smith-Incer, E|
|Journal||JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association|
|Publisher||Blackwell Publishing Ltd|
|Keywords||birding, economics, expenditures, recreation, water allocation, willingness to pay|
Preservation of the few remaining ecologically vital riparian areas in the southwestern United States is a significant policy concern. This article reports on two economic aspects of preserving a nationally renowned riparian birding area in Southern California. First, the article examines visitor willingness to pay (WTP) for habitat restoration and estimates an annual WTP of US $77 per visitor to preserve the habitat, about a half-million dollars a year for estimated visitor numbers in 2000 and 2001. Second, it documents visitor expenditures in the local economy to be approximately three-quarters of a million dollars per year. This direct visitor spending attributable to the riparian habitat generates around US $1.3 million in increased local business activity in this relatively remote rural area.