Revealing the Economic Value of Protecting the Great Lakes

In an effort to increase understanding and consensus regarding the role of economics in decision- making over Great Lakes environmental issues, the Northeast-Midwest Institute and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched a two-year project with support from the George Gund and Joyce Foundations. The project’s purposes were to stimulate informed discussion, to forge greater consensus within the Great Lakes region on the appropriate use of economics in Great Lakes environmental decision-making, and to chart and catalyze the best next steps in increasing economic information on Great Lakes environmental amenities. This guidebook was produced as part of the overall effort to familiarize resource managers and decision-makers for the Great Lakes with the techniques currently available for economic analysis of environmental benefits, including the strengths and limitations of these techniques. Rather than advocate the use of these economic techniques, the guidebook takes an objective look, pointing out caveats and advantages associated with the techniques currently available. This fundamental information is extremely important in the process of building consensus around the use of information these techniques can supply.

The guidebook comprises contributions of a blue ribbon panel of leading resource economists from Great Lakes universities and national nongovernmental research organizations to focus on the application of environmental valuation methods to Great Lakes environmental concerns. The guidebook focuses on techniques that are either well-accepted or increasingly accepted in actual policy applications.

2001 GLWP Revealing the Economic Value of the Great Lakes