Science Inventory

Valuing Coastal Beaches and Closures Using Benefit Transfer: An Application to Barnstable, Massachusetts

Citation:

Lyon, S., N. Merrill, K. Mulvaney, AND M. Mazzotta. Valuing Coastal Beaches and Closures Using Benefit Transfer: An Application to Barnstable, Massachusetts. Social Coast Forum, Charleston, SC, February 05 - 08, 2018.

Impact/Purpose:

Valuation studies can help to quantify the social importance of a public resource. Surveys are typically used to gather the necessary information to value a public resource like a beach; however, they can be costly and time-consuming. Therefore, existing data and past studies can be used as a way to practically value beach recreation. We provide a method for utilizing readily-available information to value both a beach day and lost value from a closure due to bacterial contamination.

Description:

Each year, millions of Americans visit beaches for recreation and contribute significantly to local coastal economies as a result. Considering the frequency that coastal beaches are used for recreation, closures due to bacterial contamination have the potential to negatively impact both coastal visitors and communities. There have been few studies that use existing data to develop practical methods to value coastal beaches. Therefore, we used publicly-available data, to assess the value of a beach day as well as the lost value due to a beach closure, specifically calibrated for Barnstable, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Visitation data were modeled through a random effects regression, which allowed us to predict visitation to beaches for different points within a single season (Memorial Day-Labor Day). An important feature of the model is ability to estimate lost visits for days when a closure was posted. Using a net value of a beach visit of $23.49, found using a meta-analysis of past studies, we applied the consumer surplus to Barnstable beaches through a benefit transfer. This presentation will discuss the different methods used to value both a beach day and the subsequent cost incurred from a beach closure. Results indicate the high value of beaches as a public resource and show significant losses to the town when beaches are closed because of an exceedance in bacterial concentrations.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Product Published Date: 02/05/2018
Record Last Revised: 02/26/2018
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 339780

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION