River recreation is a rapidly expanding source of economic productivity. Angler spending has been used as the basis for estimating the regional economic estimates of local income and jobs in several water-limited systems of the western United States and Mexico. However, the contribution of outdoor recreation to the economies of regions that do not experience water scarcity continues to be underappreciated. This paper estimates the economic contribution of angling to the lower Connecticut River Watershed (CRW) economy. The authors draw upon existing angler expenditure, river flow and geographic information system (GIS) data to relate anger use of the lower CRW and expenditures to river flows. The authors then translate angler expenditures into state income and employment using a regional economic multiplier. The results show that fishing expenditures of $62.8 million per year equate to $74.2 million annually in supply chain revenues which supports 1660 jobs. The authors identified a significant positive relationship between fishing intensity and river flow rates, which suggests that decreasing current water diversions on the lower CRW by just 25% would add an additional $37 million and 638 jobs to Connecticut’s economy. The findings demonstrate that investments in managing the health the CRW through flow restoration can have large economic and ecological pay-offs.
© Helen M. Poulos, Clement Loo, James G. Workman, Ann de Boer, Julia Michaels, 2012.
Helen M. Poulos, Clement Loo, James G. Workman, Ann de Boer and Julia Michaels (2012). The economic contribution of instream flows to the lower Connecticut River Watershed, New England, USA. Environmental Economics, 3(3)