An economic analysis of alternative water allocations and habitat investments for anadromous fish production, John Day Basin, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/n009w437v

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  • This thesis focuses on the economic efficiency of alternative habitat, streamfiow, and land use allocations within a major drainage of the Pacific Northwest. Specifically, productivity of present habitat and streamfiow conditions is evaluated with respect to anadromous fish species (chinook salmon and steelhead trout) in the John Day River Basin, a high-desert system in the Pacific Northwest. Alternative water allocations and fish habitat enhancements to improve anadromous fish productivity are also examined. This biophysical information is combined with economics concepts to evaluate comparative benefits and economic efficiency of selected technically feasible habitat/streamflow alternatives. The John Day River Basin is used as a case study because it provides one of the most significant runs of wild summer steelhead trout and spring chinook salmon in the Columbia River Basin. Specific categories of alternative enhancements included water transfers to instream flow, habitat vegetation improvements, and habitat structural measures. The benefits of changes in fish numbers are valued through the travel cost method. Costs of habitat investments are derived from a synthesis of cost data for similar investments for the region. For most lower-reach stream sections, benefits of habitat investments/streamflow alternatives do not equal costs. However, changes in water allocations and habitat do appear economically efficient to some upper reaches. The main results suggest that economic efficiency varies greatly within the system, indicating the need for site-specific proposals for streamfiow or habitat alterations within this or similar high desert streams. In addition to providing preliminary estimates of the economic efficency of streamfiow and habitat investments, this thesis serves as a methodological template for future integrated bioeconomic evaluations of water and fishery management issues.
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