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NCCOS Project

Initiation of Programmatic Approach to Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Management Outcomes

Region(s) of Study: Waterbodies / Gulf of Mexico
This project began in May 2022 and will be completed in May 2026.

Conserving coastal places provides economic benefits to local communities. We will explore both monetary and non-monetary approaches in valuing the benefits of federal investments in habitat restoration or coastal adaptation projects. This body of work will provide information to decision-makers regarding the value, benefit, and perceived efficacy of federal investments in habitat restoration and climate adaptation projects that employ nature-based infrastructure.

Spanish moss draping a live oak at Chalmette Battlefield in Louisiana.

Spanish moss drapes a live oak at Chalmette Battlefield, located along the Mississippi River just east of New Orleans, Louisiana. Credit: Heidi Burkhart, NOAA.

Why We Care
Conserving coastal places provides economic benefits to local communities. Understanding how a community values its resources and the economic potential of stabilizing and restoring a coastal place’s natural infrastructure is key for justifying an investment in continued protection and restoration.

What We Are Doing
We will explore both monetary and non-monetary approaches in valuing the benefits of federal investments in habitat restoration and coastal adaptation projects. We will use both primary data (i.e., surveys of human populations) and secondary data to value these benefits.

The first approach, a primary data approach, will include the development and clearance of either a series of shoreline valuation surveys in multiple locations or a regional survey to evaluate ecosystem service valuation for shoreline stabilization. Once cleared, we will collect data to meet informational objectives by conducting surveys of target populations.

We are also simultaneously exploring a secondary data approach for future execution of this work. While accurate valuation of ecosystem services at fine spatial scales and using only secondary data remains challenging, there are several methods for possible consideration. Valuation research will require close collaboration with physical and ecological scientists and modelers, especially when focused on ecosystem services of flood attenuation, habitat restoration, and carbon sequestration in relation to large- and small-scale projects that employ nature-based infrastructure. Our team will determine an appropriate path forward for future valuation assessments that can be used independently or in concert with primary data analysis.

Benefits of Our Work
This body of work will provide information to decision-makers regarding the value, benefit, and perceived efficacy of federal investments in habitat restoration and climate adaptation projects that employ nature-based infrastructure.

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About NCCOS

NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

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