Event Title

Interacting Coastal Based Ecosystem Services: Recreation and Water Quality in Puget Sound, WA

Presentation Abstract

Coastal recreation and water quality are major contributors to human well-being in coastal regions. They can also interact, creating opportunities for ecosystem based management, ecological restoration, and water quality improvement that can positively affect people and the environment. Yet the effect of environmental quality on human behavior is often poorly quantified, but commonly assumed in coastal ecosystem service studies. To clarify this effect we investigate a water quality dataset for evidence that environmental condition partially explains variation in recreational visitation, our indicator of human behavior. In Puget Sound, WA, we investigate variation in visitation in both visitation rate and fixed effects (FE) models. The visitation rate model relates the differences in annual recreational visitation among parks to environmental conditions, park characteristics, travel cost, and recreational demand. In our FE model we control for all time-invariant unobserved variables and compare monthly variation at the park level to determine how water quality affects visitation during the summer season. The results of our first model illustrate how visitation relates to various amenities and costs. In the FE analysis, monthly visitation was negatively related to water quality while controlling for monthly visitation trends. This indicates people are responding to changes in water quality, and an improvement would yield an increase in the value of recreation. Together, these results could help in prioritizing water quality improvements, could assist the creation of new parks or the modification of existing recreational infrastructure, and provide quantitative estimates for the expected benefits from potential changes in recreational visitation and water quality improvements. Our results also provide an example of how recreational visitation can be quantified and used in ecosystem service assessments.

Session Title

The Value of Recreation and Community in the Salish Sea

Conference Track

People

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type

Event

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Comments

Invited talk for the Extent and Value of Recreation in Puget Sound session: http://www.wwu.edu/salishseaconference/sessionDesc.shtml#teavorips

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Interacting Coastal Based Ecosystem Services: Recreation and Water Quality in Puget Sound, WA

2016SSEC

Coastal recreation and water quality are major contributors to human well-being in coastal regions. They can also interact, creating opportunities for ecosystem based management, ecological restoration, and water quality improvement that can positively affect people and the environment. Yet the effect of environmental quality on human behavior is often poorly quantified, but commonly assumed in coastal ecosystem service studies. To clarify this effect we investigate a water quality dataset for evidence that environmental condition partially explains variation in recreational visitation, our indicator of human behavior. In Puget Sound, WA, we investigate variation in visitation in both visitation rate and fixed effects (FE) models. The visitation rate model relates the differences in annual recreational visitation among parks to environmental conditions, park characteristics, travel cost, and recreational demand. In our FE model we control for all time-invariant unobserved variables and compare monthly variation at the park level to determine how water quality affects visitation during the summer season. The results of our first model illustrate how visitation relates to various amenities and costs. In the FE analysis, monthly visitation was negatively related to water quality while controlling for monthly visitation trends. This indicates people are responding to changes in water quality, and an improvement would yield an increase in the value of recreation. Together, these results could help in prioritizing water quality improvements, could assist the creation of new parks or the modification of existing recreational infrastructure, and provide quantitative estimates for the expected benefits from potential changes in recreational visitation and water quality improvements. Our results also provide an example of how recreational visitation can be quantified and used in ecosystem service assessments.