Assessment Reveals Estuary’s Economic and Social Value

The Takeaway: Research reserve study says area households would be willing to pay millions for restoring estuary health, reaping rewards for fisheries and quality of life.

The Great Bay Estuary and Piscataqua River are critical to a coastal economy that includes commercial fishing and aquaculture, but development, pollution, and shoreline erosion are hurting estuary productivity. Fortunately, a recent study found strong area support for investing in estuary health.

The mapped assessment estimated that households in the Piscataqua region watershed would be willing to pay more than $42 million annually for increased amounts of eelgrass, salt marsh, and oyster beds. It also found that Gulf of Maine commercial fishers could reap a $1.7 million increase in annual revenues if eelgrass and salt marsh acreage were increased.

This study is helping local officials identify estuary services that protect quality of life and the economy. Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and NOAA’s Coastal Resilience Grant funds supported the multi-partner effort. (2017)

More Information: How People Benefit from New Hampshire’s Great Bay Estuary

Partners: Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Eastern Research Group, Inc., New Hampshire Coastal Program, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, The Nature Conservancy, University of New Hampshire