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Economic Analysis of Environmental RestorationEPA Grant Number: U916091
Title: Economic Analysis of Environmental Restoration
Investigators: Czajkowski, Jeffrey R.
Institution: Florida International University
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through January 1, 2005
Project Amount: $118,326
RFA: Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2002) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Economics and Decision Sciences , Fellowship - Economics
The objective of this research project is to conduct and apply appropriate economic analyses, such as the monetary quantification of project benefits, to the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration effort. The results of these analyses should facilitate the evaluation of restoration tradeoffs.
The South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program has been allocated approximately $8 billion in federal and state government funding across 60 major components to achieve its overarching objectives—mitigating the hydrology and water quality; restoring, preserving, and protecting natural habitats; and fostering compatibility of the built and natural systems. However, to date, thorough economic analyses have not been conducted to assess the effectiveness of the proposed projects. It is critical to conduct economic analyses to achieve the optimal balance between ecosystem restoration and economic development. Without such analyses, the proper evaluation of tradeoffs involved in different courses of action becomes nearly impossible, and the future benefit of the proposed $8 billion investment remains relatively unknown. The analysis will focus on the most recent advances in environmental economics applied to one of the restoration projects. I will address the derivation of benefits of groundwater and surface water as they relate to municipal, agricultural, industrial, etc., utilization. Economic models will be developed and combined with available physical water data to calibrate, verify, and validate these models. As a result, the valuation models can be used to predict the monetary benefits of water for the proposed restoration projects. The inherent politics of environmental restoration efforts command numerous tradeoffs to attain the optimal balance between ecosystem restoration and economic development. Economic analysis allows for the proper evaluation of tradeoffs and for the quantification of benefits derived from a taxpayer-funded restoration investment.