Ecological-economic assessment of the effects of freshwater flow in the Florida Everglades on recreational fisheries

Christina Estela Brown, Mahadev G. Bhat, Jennifer S. Rehage, Ali Mirchi, Ross Boucek, Victor Engel, Jerald S. Ault, Pallab Mozumder, David Watkins, Michael Sukop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This research develops an integrated methodology to determine the economic value to anglers of recreational fishery ecosystem services in Everglades National Park that could result from different water management scenarios. The study first used bio-hydrological models to link managed freshwater inflows to indicators of fishery productivity and ecosystem health, then link those models to anglers' willingness-to-pay for various attributes of the recreational fishing experience and monthly fishing effort. This approach allowed us to estimate the foregone economic benefits of failing to meet monthly freshwater delivery targets. The study found that the managed freshwater delivery to the Park had declined substantially over the years and had fallen short of management targets. This shortage in the flow resulted in the decline of biological productivity of recreational fisheries in downstream coastal areas. This decline had in turn contributed to reductions in the overall economic value of recreational ecosystem services enjoyed by anglers. The study estimated the annual value of lost recreational services at $68.81 million. The losses were greater in the months of dry season when the water shortage was higher and the number of anglers fishing also was higher than the levels in wet season. The study also developed conservative estimates of implicit price of water for recreation, which ranged from $11.88 per AF in November to $112.11 per AF in April. The annual average price was $41.54 per AF. Linking anglers' recreational preference directly to a decision variable such as water delivery is a powerful and effective way to make management decision. This methodology has relevant applications to water resource management, serving as useful decision-support metrics, as well as for policy and restoration scenario analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-493
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Jun 15 2018


  • Discrete choice model
  • Ecosystem service valuation
  • Everglades
  • Penalty function
  • Recreational fishery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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