Grantee Research Project Results
Investigating the distribution and value of water quality benefits along the Mississippi RiverEPA Grant Number: R840464
Title: Investigating the distribution and value of water quality benefits along the Mississippi River
Investigators: Keeler, Bonnie L , Lupi, Frank , Wood, Spencer
Institution: University of Minnesota , Michigan State University , University of Washington
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2025
Project Amount: $742,000
RFA: Water Quality Benefits (2022) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water Quality , Water
Our proposal is motivated by the following four objectives:1. Observe how values for water-quality benefits vary across socioeconomic and geographic scales and among population groups of concern. 2. Understand tradeoffs between objectives of equity and efficiency associated with potential investments in improved water quality or river restoration, 3. Compare non-market surveys with novel methods for panel recruitment and value elicitation using geolocated social media, mobile technologies, and community science approaches, 4. Build capacity for river communities to improve environmental outcomes and advocate for more just and sustainable futures.
Our approach includes a non-market valuation survey administered to residents of the 246 counties and parishes that border or are adjacent to the Mississippi River. The survey will ask respondents to report single day and overnight trips to the River and include a discrete choice referendum based on proposed changes in watershed restoration and management that affect recreational, cultural, and/or ecological values. In addition to a “push to web” approach based on postcard mailers to a randomly-selected address‐based sample, we will identify potential survey participants via social media profiles. We will also deploy signage at river locations encouraging visitors to use an SMS app on their mobile device to engage with a conversational chatbot that will also direct users to the online survey. Engagement with community organizations working on environmental justice along the River will take the form of participatory workshops and co-design of citizen science approaches that address community-articulated priorities for restoration or management such as perceived health or safety concerns related to the River.
Our expected results include new methods of eliciting environmental values and insights into how different methods lead to alternative policy conclusions across equity and efficiency objectives. In doing so, we seek to advance a more inclusive and pluralistic approach to regulatory review that facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration, develops practical tools for policy analysis, and leads to improved understanding of the benefits and distribution of water quality changes.
contingent valuation, big data, social science, public policy, decision-making, community-based, cost-benefit, public good, willingness-to-pay