First-of-its-Kind Economic Study on Everglades Restoration Highlights Projected Rise in Job Creation, Real Estate Values Among Other Benefits
Recently, the Everglades Foundation released the results of a comprehensive analysis of the financial return on investment generated by restoration of America's Everglades ecosystem. The study, conducted by Mather Economics, projects that restoration will produce an increase in economic benefits of approximately $46.5B that could range up to $123.9B based on an investment of $11.5B.
"It is clear that Everglades restoration not only produces ecological benefits, but also generates a robust economic boost to our economy. For every dollar spent on Everglades restoration, we are getting four dollars back in the form of higher home values, increased tourism and stronger fishing, boating and tourism industries," said Kirk Fordham, CEO, Everglades Foundation. "When we invest in protecting and restoring the Everglades, we are also revving up a powerful job creation engine. Aside from the good paying jobs in construction, engineering and the sciences that come with restoration projects, we are boosting employment in a wide range of industries."
The study shows that for every one dollar spent on Everglades restoration as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), $4.04 will be generated in economic benefits. Projections indicate that there will be an incremental impact on employment of about 442,644 additional jobs over 50 years. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also estimates there will be 22,966 new short- to mid-term jobs created as a result of actual restoration projects.
"Let's think about the basic ecosystem services provided by the Everglades as a grocery store featuring 'products' ranging from water purification to enhanced tourism. We created six distinct aisles or divisions and a catch-all section. For each of these categories, we conservatively estimated, using best available data and economic methods, the increase in economic value of a restored Everglades ecosystem," said Bobby McCormick, Ph.D., Mather Economics' principal investigator assigned to the project. "The bottom line, as our analysis strongly suggests, is that the rewards of restoration far outweigh the economic costs."
In addition, the study shows that Everglades restoration will result in added value to the economy of $5,129 per individual residing in the 16- county South Florida Water Management District.
"Too often, we hear arguments that we can't afford to invest in Everglades restoration during an economic downturn. Instead, smart policymakers recognize that the future of our state's economic growth depends on protecting the Everglades and the water supply it provides to one in three Floridians. Simply put: we can't grow our economy if we allow the Everglades to collapse," said Fordham.
"Measuring the Economic Benefits of America's Everglades Restoration: An Economic Evaluation of Ecosystem Services Affiliated with the World's Largest Ecosystem," is available in its entirety at www.evergladesfoundation.org. To access the Summary portion of the report, please click here.
About Florida's Relationship with the Everglades
More than seven million people live in the Everglades watershed and depend on its natural systems for their livelihood, food and drinking water. Florida's agriculture, boating, tourism, real estate, recreational and commercial fishing industries all depend on a healthy Everglades ecosystem, which supports tens of thousands of jobs and contributing billions to our economy. Its waters flow through Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Biscayne National Park and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Together, these parks draw several million visitors each year, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Florida's tourism economy.
About Mather Economics
Mather Economics is an economic consultancy based in Atlanta. Mather Economics was founded in 2002, and works with clients to improve business performance through applied economic analysis. Mather Economics advises business clients in the areas of profit optimization, pricing strategy, predictive modeling and customer analytics. The company works with more than 70 clients on a recurring basis to assist them with applied analytics and performance reporting. Mather Economics also works with clients to value ecosystem services using market data to quantify environmental contributions to economic activity.
About the Everglades Foundation Mission
The Everglades Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, charitable organization dedicated to protecting and restoring one of the world's unique natural ecosystems that provides economic, recreational and life-sustaining benefits to the millions of people who depend on its future health. Since 1993, the Everglades Foundation has played a leadership role in advancing Everglades restoration through the advancement of scientifically sound and achievable solutions. The Foundation seeks to reverse the damage inflicted on the ecosystem and provides policymakers and the public with an honest and credible resource to help guide decision-making on complex restoration issues. For more information, visit www.evergladesfoundation.org.
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SOURCE: Everglades Foundation