Wetland Services Valuation in Delaware

Bird in a wetland

Wetland ecosystems provide valuable services such as climate regulation, water purification, flood control, and recreational opportunities. As development expands, however, the quality and quantity of wetlands has declined, limiting their ability to provide these ecosystem services. IEc assisted the Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) in quantifying and communicating the multiple ways in which people benefit from wetland ecosystem services in the state as a means of informing land use and conservation decisions.

IEc linked biophysical and economic models to quantify tradeoffs in the delivery, geographic distribution, and economic value of ecosystem services associated with projected wetland decline in Delaware. An important feature of this valuation framework is the emphasis on site-specific ecological and economic data to inform the ecological production functions and economic valuation method. For instance, the value of flood control services associated with a given wetland reflects the surrounding land cover, the proximity of vulnerable infrastructure, and the relative flood control potential of the converted land use (e.g., wetlands converted to agricultural land). IEc evaluated four key service categories, reporting measures of both the biophysical change and associated economic value.

In addition to the final report developed for DNREC, IEc’s findings were published in the National Wetlands Newsletter.

Full Report Client Delaware Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control