Natural Resource Economics


Click a category to see past and present projects.

Agriculture and Irrigation

Economic Analysis of Irrigation in Montana

Montana Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation, 2008

Description of the relationship between irrigated agriculture and Montana's economy, and examination of how this relationship might be affected through potential state investments in existing and new irrigation projects.

Economic Indicators of Agriculture's Future

Skagit County, Washington, 2010

Description of the strengths, weaknesses, and long-run viability of agricultural activities in the county.

Economic Consequences of the Proposed Columbia River Water Exchange on Irrigated Agriculture in the Walla Walla River Basin

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, 2010

Description of the expected economic consequences of a proposal to use water from the Columbia River to increase instream flows in a tributary, the Walla Walla River, to support increased salmon populations.

Climate Change and Sustainability

Federal Forest Carbon Coalition

The Resource Innovation Group, 2014

Co-Chair of a coalition of 60+ organizations dedicated to ensuring that agencies and elected officials fully account for the effects of policies, programs, and actions on the amount of forest carbon stored in federal forests.

Potential State-Level Economic Costs of a Business-As-Usual Approach to Climate Change

Climate Leadership Initiative, University of Oregon, 2008–09

Calculation of some of the potential costs that families, businesses, and communities in New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington might expect in the next several decades if the states, the U.S., and countries around the world continue their activities in a business-as-usual manner, i.e. without effective steps to rein-in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) or to prepare for and adapt to changes in climate that past and future emissions of GHG will bring about.

Sonoma County Sustainability Plan

Sonoma County Water Agency, 2007–09

Evaluation of the economic issues associated with proposals to reduce Sonoma County's emissions of greenhouse gases and strengthen its ability to anticipate changes in climate.

Climate Change, Mountain Pine Beetles, and Forest Management

Confidential Client, 2008–12

Evaluation of management options for forests experiencing climate-related increases in mountain pine beetle infestations.

Disadvantaged and At-Risk Communities

Valuation of Natural Resources

Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), 2013–14

Presentations and workshops for lawyers from developing countries on the potential economic costs of actions harmful to the environment.

External Costs of a New Commercial Port

Natural Justice, 2014

Description of potential external costs associated with port-related impacts on human health; the mangrove forest-coral reef ecosystem; the indigenous economy, social structure and culture; and tourism.

Demand for Healthcare Services

Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon, 2013

Analysis of factors affecting the demand for health services provided by Planned Parenthood’s clinics in southwestern Oregon.

Potential Tribal Acquisition of Federal Forest Lands

Confidential Client, 2007

Evaluation for a tribal government of the economic feasibility of a proposal to acquire forest land currently managed by the federal government, managing the land consistent with its goals for providing a natural environment in which its members can live sustainably, and generating revenue through the production of forest-related products.

Assessment of Economic Injury and Damages from an Oil Spill

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, 2003–04

Determination of the extent to which citizens of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia, had been economically injured by oil spilled by M/V Kyowa Violet and calculation of the economic damages required to compensate them for the injury.

Disadvantaged Communities and Water Resources

Cosumnes, American, Bear, and Yuba River Basins (CABY) IWRMP Group, 2009

Development of guidelines to help small, disadvantaged communities secure funding for investments to increase the value of non-market benefits they derive from investments in streams and rivers.

Multimodal Port

Punta Colonet, Mexico, 2009

Description of the potential economic effects of the proposed port on the physical, economic, and cultural landscape of a small, rural community.

Dryland Resources

Market-Based Tools for Increased Resilience to Climate Extremes

Farm Africa, 2014

Identification and evaluation of market-based alternatives for strengthening the resilience of Ethiopia's pastoral and agro-pastoral communities to climate extremes and other risks.

Economic Importance of Goods and Services Derived from Dryland Ecosystems

IUCN, 2010

Description of the economic value of goods and services as well as the impacts on jobs and incomes, contributions to GDP, and generation of revenue for private and public entities associated with dryland ecosystems in the seven East African countries (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Climate Change and Public Land Grazing

Oregon Natural Desert Association, 2007

Summary of scientific predictions of the effects of climate change on rangelands in the western United States, description of the implications of those effects on current rangeland management practices for both resource managers and ranchers, and recommendations for how resource managers and ranchers can turn the challenges imposed by climate change into opportunities.

Water Management: Upper Rio Grande Basin

U.S. Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission, 1997

Description of the market and non-market competition for water resources in the Upper Rio Grande Basin and the economic consequences of water-management alternatives.

Economic Development

Ecosystem Goods and Services

Pacific Rivers Council, 2013

Analysis of the economic value of ecosystem services provided by federal, O&C lands in western Oregon. Demonstration that the value of the services (water-quality, water-quantity, habitat, carbon storage) destroyed by proposed increases in logging would outweigh the value of the timber produced.

» Economic Value of Goods and Services Produced by the O&C Lands: With and Without Industrial Logging

Logging in Western Oregon - Economic Context

Beyond Toxics, 2014

Presentations to communities harmed or potentially harmed by the timber industry’s use of pesticides.

» The Economic Importance of Federal Forests to the Pacific Northwest Economy

Economic Importance of Alaska's Wildlife

Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 2014

Implementation and analysis of detailed surveys of residents and visitors to determine the impacts of wildlife on residents' quality of life and decision to live in Alaska, the economic impacts of hunting and wildlife-watching expenditures, and the willingness to pay for actions to sustain wildlife populations.

» Project Materials

Natural-Resource Amenities and Nebraska's Economy

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, 2006

Examination of the current status of, and potential for natural-resource-related, amenity-driven economic growth in Nebraska through quality-of-life enhancements, stronger feedback to the farm sector, expanded recreation, and protection of environmental values.

The Ecosystem-Economy Relationship: Insights from Six Forested LTER Sites

National Science Foundation, 1996–97

Evaluation of the relationships between America's forested ecosystems and regional economies at long-term ecosystem research sites in Alaska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Wisconsin, and South Carolina.

Economists' Letter on the Economic Importance of the West's Natural Environment

Center for Watershed and Community Health, University of Oregon, 2003

Initial author of a letter, to President Bush and the governors of eleven western states, signed by more than 100 leading economists regarding the importance of the contributions the West's natural environment make to the economic development of western communities.

Ecosystem Restoration

Protection of Habitat for Northern Spotted Owls

American Bird Conservancy, 2012

Demonstration that the draft economic analysis prepared by the US Fish and Wildlife Service overstated the economic benefits and understated the costs of proposed logging in habitat critical for conservation of the northern spotted owl.

Action Agenda

Puget Sound Partnership, 2008

Analysis of the costs, benefits, cost-effectiveness, and alternative funding mechanisms of options for restoring the ecosystem of the Puget Sound Basin, Washington.

Economic Evaluation of River and Wetland Restoration Projects: A Conceptual Manual

US Environmental Protection Agency, 1998

Co-authored the conceptual manual with Tom Power, University of Montana.

Pacific Northwest Ecosystem Research Consortium

US Environmental Protection Agency, 1994–2000

Economic analysis of competing demands for water and related resources as part of a multi-disciplinary effort to evaluate the potential ecological and economic consequences and feasibility of proposals to manage and restore watersheds and riparian areas in the Willamette River Basin, Oregon.

Watershed Restoration in the Sierra Nevada: Ecological and Economic Principles

Pacific Rivers Council, 2002

Definition of a framework for determining the economic consequences of watershed restoration, and development of baseline information for designing and evaluating proposals to restore watershed in the Sierra Nevada.


Environmental Externalities and Electric Utility Regulation

National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), 1993

Discussion of the theoretical and practical issues state commissions face when they consider environmental externalities, and the options for resolving them.

Nevada's Electricity-Generating Alternatives

Nevada Clean Energy Campaign, 2007

Comparison of the costs to ratepayers and economic risks of a proposal to build coal-fire generators relative to those of an alternative that entails investing in energy efficiency, so that energy savings could be used to meet new demands, and in new generators powered by wind, geothermal heat, and other renewable resources.

Alternative Programs for Managing Waste Coal in Central Appalachia

Sierra Club, 2009

Analysis of the potential economic consequences of alternative approaches for managing waste-coal piles in central Appalachia.

I-5 Corridor Transmission Reinforcement EIS

Bonneville Power Administration, 2009–12

Description of the potential socio-economic consequences of a proposed 500-kV transmission line and substations in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon.

Land/Water External Costs and Electricity Planning

The NGO Caucus for the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative (EIPC), 2010–11

Description of costs that arise when new generation and transmission facilities reduce the value of goods and services derived from affected land and water resources.

Forest Resources

Economic Importance of Natural Resources Threatened by Mining

Private client, 2014

Description of the economic costs that likely would accompany implementation of proposals to conduct surface mining in southwestern Oregon.

Economic Benefits of Old-Growth Forests in the Pacific Northwest

Earthjustice, 2006

Overview of the findings of research regarding several categories of services provided by old-growth forests on federal lands under the Northwest Forest Plan.

Potential Economic Consequences of Post-Fire Logging on Federal Lands

Sierra Club, 2006

Explanation of common errors in economic assumptions and analysis that overstate the economic benefits and understate important economic costs of post-fire logging on federal lands.

Full-Cost Accounting for Washington's State-Owned Forests

Washington Environmental Council and Seattle Audubon Society, 2003

Outline of the central concepts of a full-cost accounting system for evaluating forest-management policies and practices for the state's lands, and discussion of how forest-management approaches that emphasize sustainability can have positive economic consequences.

Risk Management

Negative Economic Effects of Subsidized Dredging

American Rivers, Citizens for Progress, Earthjustice, Friends of the Clearwater, Borg Hendrickson, Linwood Laughy, Idaho Rivers United, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Save Our Wild Salmon, Sierra Club, and Wild Steelhead Coalition, 2014

Comments highlighting errors in the economic analysis offered by the US Army Corps of Engineers in support of its plans to dredge the Lower Snake River to maintain a channel that would allow barge traffic to and from Lewiston, Idaho.

Negative Economic Impacts of Crude Oil Shipments

Private Client, 2013–14

Description of the risks to local households, businesses, and communities of proposed shipments of crude oil by train and ocean vessel in the Pacific Northwest.

Earthquake Risk Assessment

Seattle Public Utilities, 2004

Description of alternative approaches for valuing the benefits of earthquake protection for municipal services, with a focus on Seattle's water service.

FY 2008 Large-Cost Fire Independent Review

US Secretary of Agriculture, 2008–09

Member of the Secretary's Large-Cost Fire Independent Review Panel that reviewed 22 wildfires in FY 2008 with suppression costs exceeding $10 million and found a need to strengthen the Forest Service's safety culture, improve risk-informed management, develop a better understanding of major cost components including the use of the stratified cost index, develop and employ better strategic thinking, improve the effectiveness of review/oversight processes, and provide a coordinated system of effective incentives.

Secondary Economic Impacts of Coastal Spills

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2008

Description of the economic impacts of hazardous waste spills and clean-up activities that increase uncertainty and risk for the local community regarding the environment, human health, economic prospects, and the stability of families, businesses, and organizations by disrupting local activities and relationships, consuming or disrupting local services, and degrading physical, financial, and social capital.

Water Resources

Green Alternatives for Stormwater Management

Seattle Public Utilities, 2014

Evaluation of the potential costs and benefits of green alternatives for accomplishing Seattle's stormwater-management goals within the context of the city's Integrated Resource Management Plan.

Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Washington Department of Ecology, 2013

Evaluation of net economic benefits and regional economic impacts of increased flows and habitat improvements for salmon, increased water storage for irrigation and municipal water use, and permanent protection for forest lands in the watershed.

» Four Accounts Analysis of the Integrated Plan
» Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

Reclaimed Water Comprehensive Plan

King County, Washington, Wastewater Treatment Division, 2009–11

Description of the economic benefits and costs associated with producing and using reclaimed water and development of a benefit-cost analysis of potential reclaimed-water projects.

Market-Based Tools for Accomplishing Water Quality Objectives

Confidential Client, 2005–06

Estimation of the financial savings and broader social economic benefits a public wastewater utility could generate by planting and protecting riparian forests rather than expanding its wastewater-treatment plant to meet water-quality objectives.

Financial Capability for Implementing a Long-Term CSO Plan

King County, Washington, Wastewater Treatment Division, 2011

Assessment of King County's capability to bear the expected financial costs of implementing its Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control Plan.

Market-Based Reallocation of Water Resources

Washington Department of Ecology, 2009

Description of recommended steps for increasing market-based reallocation of water in the Yakima River Basin in a manner that will improve streamflows for anadromous fish, improve water supply for irrigated agriculture, meet future municipal water needs, increase the overall value of goods and services derived from the basin's water resources, and ensure that the interests of third parties receive adequate consideration.

Wetlands and Watersheds

Integrated Water Resource Management Plan for the Yakima River Basin, Washington

US Bureau of Reclamation and Washington Department of Ecology, 2009–Present

Description of the value of higher salmon populations, increased ability of irrigated agriculture to withstand severe drought, and improvements in municipal-industrial water supplies, as well as the impacts on jobs and incomes that would result from implementation of an integrated plan for managing water and related resources in the Yakima River Basin.

Integrated Regional Water Resource Management Plan for the North Coast, California

West Coast Watershed, 2007–08

Description of the potential economic benefits and costs of proposed actions for implementing programs of the Integrated Regional Water Resource Management Plan for the North Coast Region that will improve the reliability and quality of water available for out-of stream uses, in-stream flows, and coastal and estuarine areas.

Financial Feasibility of a Regional Wetland Mitigation Bank

Portland Area Metro Regional Parks and Greenspaces, 2004

Discussion of how mitigation banks are typically financed, establish mitigation-credit prices, and manage risk.

Levee Set-Back Evaluation

King County, Washington, River and Floodplain Management Section, 2010–11

Characterization of the market and non-market economic benefits, costs and risks—and their distribution among different income and ethnic groups—of alternatives for managing flooding in the Green River Basin.

Capitol Lake Adaptive Management Plan, Deschutes Estuary Feasibility Study

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2007

Description of the net social and economic benefits of alternatives for managing the Capitol Lake Basin of the Deschutes River in Olympia, Washington.