90 Multi-Benefit Resources


A Path Forward forCalifornia’s FreshwaterEcosystems

Author: Mount et al., Public Policy Institute of California (2019)
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A Path Forward for California’s Freshwater Ecosystems makes the case for shifting Endangered Species Act implementation from the species to the ecosystem level. This shift could allow for the creation of direct ecosystem-based objectives and increase implementation of multiple benefit projects.

From ash pond to Riverside Wetlands: Making the business case for engineered natural technologies

Author: Guertin et al., (2018)
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From ash pond to Riverside Wetlands: Making the business case for engineered natural technologies applies a nature valuation framework to a case study on the Tittabawassee River in Michigan. This framework was developed through a partnership with the Dow Chemical Company and the Nature Conservancy to meet a goal of $1 billion in long term value for business projects that improve nature. This article explains the framework and applies it to the Tittabawassee River site.

Conservation Gateway

Author: The Nature Conservancy (N/A)
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The Conservation Gateway provides resources to support conservation practices in water management. The gateway provides a variety of resources from funding for freshwater conservation to protocols on water quality assessment. The resources are divided between: Corporate Water Use, Environmental Flows, Water Infrastructure, Water Quality, Habitat Protection and Restoration, Financial Solutions, Saving Great Rivers, and Setting Freshwater Priorities.

Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework

Author: National Recreation and Park Association (2019)
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The Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework allows for people planning green infrastructure projects to identify and systematically calculate project benefits. Step one of the framework has a tool to identify all the different benefits that could be expected. Step two lays out how to collect and manage data to evaluate green infrastructure. Step 3 builds a structure on how to use the data, once collected, for communication inside and outside of the organization.

Renaturing cities using a regionally-focused biodiversity-led multifunctional benefits approach to urban green infrastructure

Author: Connop et al., Sustainability Research Institute (2016)
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This article, “Renaturing cities using a regionally-focused biodiversity-led multifunctional benefits approach to urban green infrastructure,” considers the biodiversity outcomes of case studies in three locations in Europe. The authors discuss the “multifunctional” design in these three case studies and conclude it is effective at improving biodiversity in urban settings.

The contribution of constructed green infrastructure to urban biodiversity: A synthesis and meta-analysis

Author: Filazzola et al., University of Alberta (2019)
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The contribution of constructed green infrastructure to urban biodiversity: A synthesis and meta-analysis examines efficacy of green infrastructure in improving biodiversity. The authors examined 33 published green infrastructure cases that included quantification of biodiversity. The synthesis of these cases suggests there are significant biodiversity benefits. Some projects achieve levels of biodiversity found in undisturbed sites.

Economic valuation of river restoration: An analysis of the valuation literature and its uses in decision making

Author: Bergstrom & Loomis, The University of Georgia, Athens (2016)
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Economic valuation of river restoration: An analysis of the valuation literature and its uses in decision-making compares valuations of 38 river restoration projects. The majority of valuations used contingent valuation methods and focused on fish populations. Other valuations used revealed preference or stated preference and valued water quality, recreation, or other benefits.

Water for Wilderness Areas: Instream Flow Needs, Protection, and Economic Value

Author: Brown, US Forest Service (1991)
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Water for Wilderness Areas: Instream Flow Needs, Protection, and Economic Value reviews literature to examine the needs of wilderness for instream flows. Instream flows sufficient for supporting recreation may not be sufficient for supporting wilderness needs. There is no consensus on how much quantity or value these flows have, but existence value techniques may be able to estimate this.

Wellspring: Source Water Resilience and Climate Adaptation

Author: Matthews et al., The Nature Conservancy (2019)
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Wellspring: Source Water Resilience and Climate Adaptation contributes to the evolving discussions connected to source water protection, risk, resilience, and climate change. This report provides a thorough description of literature, tools, and case examples of resilient management of source waters.

Identifying linkages between urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services using an expert opinion methodology

Author: Elliott et al., Columbia University (2019)
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Identifying linkages between urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services using an expert opinion methodology compares benefits in urban distributed stormwater infrastructure. This is commonly known as green infrastructure (GI), provides a wide variety of benefits. This study offers both a methodology for evaluating the multiple benefits of GI as well as a decision-support tool developed through interviews with 46 academic experts that helps to rank different GI strategies based on their known ability to deliver a variety of co-benefits.

Lower Snake River Dams: Economic Tradeoffs of Removal

Author: EconNorthwest (2019)
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The report, Lower Snake River Dams: Economic Tradeoffs of Removal, analyzes the costs and benefits of removing four dams along the lower Snake River in Washington State. The analysis applies economic values to the following benefits and tradeoffs: changes related to hydropower electric grid services, irrigation water supply, transportation along on the river corridor, recreation, and non-use values such as a restored natural river system and reduced extinction risk of wild salmon.

Nature-Based Solutions Evidence Tool

Author: University of Oxford (2019)
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The Nature-Based Solutions Evidence Tool is primarily an online catalog of peer-reviewed research that provides evidence of the impacts of nature-based solutions (NbS) on a wide variety of benefit categories. The tool allows the user to filter results in a variety of ways, including by intervention type, habitat type, climate change impact, effect of Nbs on ecosystem service, geography, and more. Results are displayed in a variety of formats, helping the user to understand the landscape of quantitative and economic research related to a variety of NbSs.

The Napa River Basin, California

Author: Naturally Resilient Communities (2016)
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The Napa River Basin, California provides a short overview of the multi-benefit approach taken by the Napa River communities to mitigate flood risk. The chosen approach deliberately sought not only to reduce the risk and impact of flooding from the Napa River, but also to preserve and restore habitat, reconnect the floodplain, and improve community livability.

Economics for the Environment Project Page

Author: Economics for the Environment (2019)
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The Economics for the Environment Project Page provides summaries of several case studies and economic valuations for natural resources in the United Kingdom. Projects include analysis of natural flood management, economic valuation of urban natural capital, and chemical usage in watersheds.

i-Tree

Author: USDA Forest Service, Davey Tree Expert Company, Arborday Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, International Society of Arboriculture, Casey Trees, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (2019)
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The i-Tree portal allows environmental managers to quantify benefits of urban and rural forestry. The website provides tools from the USDA Forest Service based on scientific studies to create tangible ecosystem services. These tools allow for the calculation of benefits from the parcel to state level.

Plant Community Composition and Biodiversity Patterns in Urban Parks of Portland, Oregon

Author: Talal & Santelmann, Oregon State University (2019)
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Plant Community Composition and Biodiversity Patterns in Urban Parks of Portland, Oregon examines the correlations between park attributes and plant communities. This research article shows significant relationships between park type and the presence of non-native or native species. It also provides analysis on which parks provide the best habitat for specific groups of species. The results help managers to optimize park plans to protect desired species and incorporate biodiversity benefits into design of green spaces.

A Framework for Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Dam Removal

Author: Whitelaw & Macmullen, ECONorthwest (2002)
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A Framework for Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Dam Removal examines the case study of removing dams from the Snake River. The authors use this analysis to provide a list of recommendations for performing a cost benefit analysis on dam removal. They emphasize relying on simplistic endangered species vs endangered jobs can distort calculations and miss other important areas of economic growth.

Recreation Use Values Database

Author: Oregon State University (2016)
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The Recreation Use Values Database catalogs studies that place valuations on recreational activities and the species related to these activities. The database is a downloadable Excel spreadsheet that allows for specific recreational uses and species to be analyzed.

An Analysis of the Demand for and Value of Outdoor Recreation in the United States

Author: Bergstrom & Cordell, USDA Forest Service (1991)
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An Analysis of the Demand for and Value of Outdoor Recreation in the United States examines the valuation for 37 different recreational activities across the US in 1991. Travel cost method determined the total value for recreation in the United States was $122 billion annually at the time of study. Value of individual recreation activities was also calculated.

Towards a New Paradigm of Urban Water Infrastructure: Identifying Goals and Strategies to Support Multi-Benefit Municipal Wastewater Treatment

Author: Harris-Lovett, Lienert, & Sedlak, University of California, Berkeley (2018)
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Towards a New Paradigm of Urban Water Infrastructure: Identifying Goals and Strategies to Support Multi-Benefit Municipal Wastewater Treatment examines the decision making barriers to adopting multibenefit solutions. Transitioning to a new paradigm of water management that supports and advances projects with multiple benefits will require new approaches, tools, and systems. This article attempts to identify the obstacles for these new requirements through a study from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Water LA

Author: The River Project (2018)
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The 2018 Water LA report by the River Project explores the opportunities for and challenges of building a resilient region by making small, distributed changes to the urban landscape. The report offers a case study from LA where parcel-scale water management projects provide different social, environmental, and economic benefits.

Healthy Lands and Healthy Economies: The multiple benefits of Sonoma County working and natural lands

Author: Sonoma County Ag + Open Space (2018)
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Sonoma County Ag + Open Space presents the results of a thorough economic assessment of the county’s agricultural and natural lands, incorporating the multiple benefits of these landscapes.

The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure

Author: Earth Economics (2018)
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The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure is a comprehensive resource for water managers and other decision makers seeking to start or expand investment in green infrastructure. The Blueprint presents five major cultural and institutional shifts that are required at the municipal level for the grown in green infrastructure. Data, tools, tips, and other resources are also provided.

On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services: Bridging the Quantitative Information Gap Using Remote Sensing and Hydrological Models

Author: Simons et al., (2017)
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The white paper, On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services, provides an explanation of and use case examples for a hydrologic ecosystem services model. This is a useful resource for quantification of water-related ecosystem services.The model is spatially and temporally designed for basin-scale analyses.

Top 22 Benefits of Trees

Author: TreePeople (2019)
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This website, Top 22 Benefits of Trees, provides an overview of the top benefits provided by trees, which include, but are not limited to, saving water, preventing water pollution, and many other benefits.

Impacts of desalination plant discharges on the marine environment: A critical review of published studies

Author: Roberts, Johnston, & Knott, (2010)
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Impacts of desalination plant discharges on the marine environment: A critical review of published studies provides a qualitative review of the environmental impacts of desalination plants across the globe. The literature review revealed that the most detrimental environmental impacts have resulted from older multi-stage flash (MSF) plants as a result of the large amounts of discharge with little flushing. The negative environmental impacts cited include increased water salinity and temperatures, as well as the deposition of hydrocarbons, metals, and toxic compounds. The literature review also revealed that selected discharge location directly influenced the severity of environmental impacts.

Accounting for U.S. ecosystem services at national and subnational scales

Author: Bagstad, Ingram, & Shapiro, John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis (N/A)
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Accounting for U.S. ecosystem services at national and subnational scales is an ongoing project of the John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis to create a natural capital accounting tool within the United States. Natural capital accounting involves the national compilation of data, models, valuation frameworks in order to encourage the protection of natural capital. The project aims to provide quantified and monetized ecosystem services on a national and subnational scale.

Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods

Author: Young & Loomis, (2014)
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Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods provides a comprehensive summary of economic valuation techniques used for water management strategies. The book includes a framework for economic valuation of the primary and secondary benefits of water investments, including improved water quality, enhanced fish habitats, and recreation benefits. Non-market valuation techniques are discussed for the valuation of difficult to quantify public benefits. The book also includes an analysis of the various valuation techniques, examining specific applications, limitations, and advantages of each technique.

Water-quality trends in the nation’s rivers and streams, 1972-2012 Data preparation, statistical methods, and trend results

Author: Oelsner et al., U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (2017)
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Water-quality trends in the nation’s rivers and streams, 1972-2012 Data preparation, statistical methods, and trend results analyzes surface water quality trends in the United States. The report includes a discussion of 1) the compilation and processing of water quality data, 2) statistical methods used to analyze the data, 3) modeling considerations, 4) sensitivity analysis, and 5) quantitative results for each site analyzed. The study includes water quality metrics for water quality concentrations and loads (i.e., salinity, sediment, nutrient, major ion, carbon), aquatic habitats (i.e., algae, invertebrates, fish), and pesticide concentrations and loads.

Combining multi-attribute utility and geographic information for boundary decisions: An application to park planning

Author: Keisler & Sundell, (1997)
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Combining multi-attribute utility and geographic information for boundary decisions: An application to park planning provides a framework for inclusion of various objectives when determining park boundaries. The framework combines multi-attribute utility functions with spatial analysis in order to determine park boundaries that satisfy various stakeholders’ goals and objectives. The tool outputs multiple park boundary scenarios, allowing the user to evaluate the alternatives and select the best option.

Green Infrastructure & Health Guide

Author: Oregon Health and Outdoors Initiative, Willamette Partnership, Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI), The Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange (2018)
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Green Infrastructure & Health Guide provides the tools, resources, and evidence for the connections between green infrastructure (GI) and human health. The chapters include Health Challenges and GI Solutions, GI and Health: What is the connection?, Nature Experiences and Health: Current evidence, Shared Language, Identifying Community Health Needs, Make the Case: Business and more, Community Engagement: Why and how, GI Siting and Design: Considerations for health, Evaluating Health Benefits of GI, and Needs and Next Steps. The appendices include Detailed Community Engagement Guidelines, Sample Tree Planting Health Survey, Sample Logic Model Linking Tree Planting and Health, and Sample City Health and Outdoors Opportunities Assessments.

National Management Measures to Protect and Restore Wetlands and Riparian Areas for the Abatement of Nonpoint Source Pollution

Author: U.S. EPA (2005)
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National Management Measures to Protect and Restore Wetlands and Riparian Areas for the Abatement of Nonpoint Source Pollution is a guidance document that is targeted at state level employees seeking management options for non-point source (NPS) pollution. The report provides guidance on reducing NPS pollution through wetland and riparian area restoration and protection and vegetated treatment systems. The report also includes further resources for NPS pollution management practices as well as relevant case studies organized by territory, state, and tribe.

Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation: Final Report

Author: Coughlin et al., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, California Urban Watershed Council (2006)
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Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation Final Report presents a method for valuing the environmental benefits of water conservation and efficiency. Water savings of a particular water conservation strategy are represented by the reduction in water demand, as well as the resulting co-benefits, including enhanced fish habitats, increased recreational opportunities, and improved water quality as a result of wetland filtration. The report provides a methodology for monetizing these environmental benefits so as to provide utilities with a method for comparing the benefits and costs of various best management practices.

Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future

Author: Cooley, Christian-Smith, & Gleick, Pacific Institute (2009)
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Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future examines the potential for agricultural efficiency in California. The report qualitatively and quantitatively explores the potential for water conservation and efficiency under the following management strategies: 1) efficient irrigation technology, 2) improved irrigation scheduling, and 3) regulated deficit irrigation. All three options show significant water savings as well as provide various co-benefits including, reduced water and energy costs, improved crop quality and yield,improved soil health, reduced vulnerability to drought, increased revenues, improved water quality, improved quantity and timing of instream flows, and fish and wildlife benefits.

The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years

Author: Sustainable Business Network (SBN), Green Stormwater Infrastructure Partners, Econsult Solutions (2016)
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The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years evaluates the economic impact of the Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW) plan in Philadelphia, PA. The Green City, Clean Waters was an initiative of the Philadelphia Water Department to implement more green infrastructure in the city of Philadelphia. The initiative resulted in a multitude of benefits, including boosts in the local economy, increased jobs, improved equity, revived habitats, and overall enhanced aesthetics.

Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture

Author: Attwater & Derry, (2017)
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Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture examines water recycling for agricultural use in the peri-urban regions of Western Sydney, Australia. The study provides a qualitative assessment of the benefits associated with agricultural water reuse of treated wastewater and drinking water in the context of the communities larger water system. The benefits identified include enhanced landscape ecology, environmental risk management, water supply reliability, agricultural products and services, reduced wastewater discharges to receiving waters, provision of ecosystem services, community livelihood, social values, and overall enhanced resilience.

Policy and Economics of Managed Aquifer Recharge and Water Banking

Author: Megdal & Dillion, (2015)
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Policy and Economics of Managed Aquifer Recharge and Water Banking provides a summary of a series of papers on managed aquifer recharge (MAR) programs with excess surface water and recycled water. The paper argues that several limitations to implementation of MAR programs exist, including a deficiency in policies and government frameworks that support MAR programs, as well as limited economic analyses on MAR’s programs. The goal of this summary report is to fill these regulatory and economic gaps so as to encourage MAR program development and implementation.

Relevance and Benefits of Urban Water Reuse in Tourist Areas

Author: Lazarova, Sturny, & Sang, (2012)
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Relevance and Benefits of Urban Water Reuse in Tourist Areas presents a case study on factors that influenced the implementation of water reuse on the island of Bora Bora, French Polynesia. The study addresses the regulatory and technical challenges to implementation of water reuse systems, as well as provides methods for overcoming these challenges through the Bora Bora case study. The report emphasizes the need for reliability in treatment operations, feasible prices and operation costs, and effective utilization of the co-benefits of water reuse projects.

Case Study Fluvial and ecosystem restoration of the Arga-Aragón Rivers systems by combining measures

Author: Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) (2013)
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Case Study: Fluvial and ecosystem restoration of the Arga-Aragon Rivers systems by combining measures details the process and implementation of watershed restoration along the Arga-Aragon Rivers systems with the goal of reducing flood impacts and restoring habitat functions. The report provides measures involving wetlands, floodplains, re-meandering, riverbeds, revitalization of flowing water, natural bank stabilization, elimination of riverbank protection, and riparian buffers. The costs of the project, including the amount of money required to reimburse farmers for lost land are included.

Preliminary Data Summary of Urban Storm Water Best Management Practices

Author: U.S. EPA (1999)
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Preliminary Data Summary of Urban Storm Water Best Management Practices synthesizes existing information on costs and environmental benefits of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs). The major goals of stormwater BMPs are flow control, temperature and pH control, and pollutant removal, including solids, oxygen-demanding substances, nitrogen and phosphorus, pathogens, petroleum hydrocarbons, metals, and synthetic organics. The environmental benefits cited include hydrological and habitat benefits, human health benefits (direct contact and seafood), and aesthetic benefits (property value/public perception, dual use systems using less space). The report provides a recommendation for stormwater BMPs and their associated costs and benefits.