2018 Progress Report: Valuing Water Quality Improvements in Midwestern Ecosystems: SpatialVariability, Validity and Extent of the Market for Total Value

EPA Grant Number: R836166
Title: Valuing Water Quality Improvements in Midwestern Ecosystems: SpatialVariability, Validity and Extent of the Market for Total Value
Investigators: Kling, Catherine L. , Keiser, David A , Finlay, Jacques C , Phaneuf, Daniel J. , Dolph, Christine L , Vossler, Christian , Zhao, Jinhua
Current Investigators: Kling, Catherine L. , Phaneuf, Daniel J. , Zhao, Jinhua , Vossler, Christian , Keiser, David A , Finlay, Jacques C
Institution: Iowa State University , University of Minnesota , University of Wisconsin - Madison , Michigan State University , University of Tennessee
Current Institution: Iowa State University , Michigan State University , University of Tennessee , University of Wisconsin - Madison , University of Minnesota
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2021 (Extended to March 31, 2023)
Project Period Covered by this Report: April 1, 2018 through March 31,2019
Project Amount: $800,000
RFA: Water Quality Benefits (2015) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water


Objective 1: Develop organizational and conceptual frameworks for integrating the project's hydrological, ecological, and economic models at common spatial and temporal scales, with compatible model inputs and outputs.

Objective 2: Develop and quantify a spatially scalable ecological services production function linking ambient water quality (e.g. nutrient concentrations) to ecological outputs.

Objective 3: Investigate the mechanisms through which water quality enters households' preferences and creates economic value, as mediated by the ecological services production function and the spatial distribution of quality outcomes.

Objective 4: Field a large state-of-the-art, spatially scalable stated and revealed preference survey to estimate willingness to pay for changes in nutrient-sensitive aquatic ecosystem services.

Objective 5: Conduct real payment field experiments to establish the validity of our stated preference estimates of willingness to pay.

Objective 6: Produce an Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) to estimate the economic benefits of counterfactual policy scenarios, whereby changes in pollution loads at points in space are mapped to changes in ambient water quality across the landscape, and ultimately to changes in ecosystem services and human values.

Progress Summary:

Objectives 1 and 2 are largely complete. Progress on objective 2 this reporting period included finalizing our use of the Biological Condition Gradient (BCG) as our ecological model, assembling measures of BCGs across our study region, and beginning work on statistical modeling linking BCG levels of nutrient pollution.

Objective 3, defined in this report to include our efforts to define the commodity for use in our stated preference survey, has proceeded apace. We have finalized draft graphics and narrative and tested them via informal focus groups. We are now working on integrating these materials into a full draft of our SP survey.

We have begun work on the specifics of objective 4, including assignment of survey drafting tasks to team members. We expect to have a full draft of the survey by the end of summer 2019.

Progress towards objective 5 has been minimal, as expected. The development and implementation of a field experiment will occur largely after the complete development of the primary stated preference instrument.

Progress on objective 6 has been steady. We have invested heavily in hydrological modeling both within our own research team and in facilitating partnerships with the world's top SWAT modelers. Our broader research agenda on integrated assessment has moved forward via a workshop we hosted in April 2019 and several other complementary efforts.

Future Activities:

Our next major focus will be on completing the SP survey draft, thoroughly testing it, and moving towards getting it in the field. We expect to accomplish this in the next 12 months. Simultaneously we will continue our efforts on the ecological and hydrological modeling, with the goal of having a preliminary integrated assessment model ready for piloting in the next 12 months. Finally, we will move forward with plans for our real payment experiments.

Journal Articles on this Report : 2 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 19 publications 5 publications in selected types All 5 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Polasky S, Kling CA, Levin SA, Carpenter SR, Daily GC, Ehrlich PR, Heal GM, Lubchenco J. Role of economics in analyzing the environment and sustainable development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2019;116(12):5233-5238. R836166 (2018)
R836166 (2019)
R836166 (2020)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Full-text: PNAS Full Text HTML and PDF
  • Abstract: PNAS - Abstract and PDF - HTML
  • Journal Article Keiser DA, Kling CL, Shapiro JS. The low but uncertain measured benefits of US water quality policy Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2019;116(12):5262-5269. R836166 (2018)
    R836166 (2019)
    R836166 (2020)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: PNAS - Full Text HTML and PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Water quality, non-market valuation, stated preference survey, biological condition gradient, integrated assessment model

    Relevant Websites:

    Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University, Resource and Environmental Policy division

    Social Cost of Water Pollution Workshop Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2017 Progress Report
  • 2019 Progress Report
  • 2020 Progress Report