Economic Contributions and Ecosystem Services of Selected Springs in the Lower Suwannee and Santa Fe River Basins of North-Central Florida
Webinar presented on Tuesday June 17, 2014, 2-3 pm
(space is limited, so please join by 1:45 pm to assure a place)
Presented by Alan Hodges and Tatiana Borisova, University of Florida, Food & Resources Economics Department
Abstract. This study examined the economic contributions from recreational use of fifteen major springs in a nine-county area of the lower Suwannee and Santa Fe River basins in north-central Florida. The study included springs at state parks (Fanning, Ichetucknee, Lafayette Blue, Manatee, Troy, Wes Skiles Peacock), county parks (Hart, Little River, Poe, Rum Island), and privately owned sites (Gilchrist Blue, Ginnie, Hornsby, Devil’s Den, Blue Grotto). Information on annual attendance and recreational spending by springs users was compiled from published reports and interviews with spring owners and other stakeholders. Attendance at the fifteen springs over the past five years averaged slightly over one million visitor-days annually, including four springs with attendance exceeding 100,000 visitor-days annually (Manatee, Fanning, Ichetucknee and Ginnie). Diving is a particularly high valued recreational use of springs, with about 57,000 visitor-days annually. Springs in this area are a global attraction, and typically about two-thirds of all visitors to the major sites originate from outside the local nine-county area. Annual visitor spending related to springs recreation was estimated at $83.8 million, including $45.2 million by non-local visitors. Economic contributions of recreational spending, including regional multiplier effects of industry supply chain activity and income respending, were estimated with a regional economic input-output model (IMPLAN). The annual economic contributions of springs recreation were: 1,160 fulltime and part-time jobs, $94.00 million in industry output (revenue), $52.58 million in value added or Gross Domestic Product, $30.42 million in labor income, and $6.56 million in local/state government tax revenues. In addition, the consumer surplus realized by springs visitors was estimated at $9.44 million annually, based on previous research measuring the willingness to pay for springs recreation in excess of actual expenditures. Finally, ecosystem services provided by freshwater springs were summarized, including provisioning services (e.g. bottled water), nutrient cycling, flood control, and cultural services for art, heritage, scientific knowledge, environmental education, and existence value for endangered species, among others. It is suggested that future studies should conduct surveys of springs users to better document spending and use advanced econometric methods to assess ecosystem service values provided by springs. Funding for the study was provided by the Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Save our Suwannee.
The final study report is available at: http://www.fred.ifas.ufl.edu/economic-impact-analysis/pdf/Springs_Economic_Report_6-4-14.pdf
For questions about the study, contact the investigators (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com) or the project manager: Stacie Greco, Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (352-264-6829, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Alan W. Hodges, Ph.D., Extension Scientist and Director of Economic Impact Analysis Program
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Food & Resource Economics Department
1113 McCarty Hall, PO Box 110240, Gainesville, FL 32611
Telephone: 352-294-7674; Email: email@example.com