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Ames Forester

Abstract

An economic analysis of a riparian management system (RiMS) applied to the 7 ,655 ha Bear Creek agricultural watershed in central Iowa was done. The present value (PV) cost(@ 5% real ARR) is $2.16 million to establish and maintain for 20 years riparian buffers, streambank stabilization, and constructed wetlands in the upper one-half of the Bear Creek watershed. The RiMS model assumed 20 m wide, multiple species tree/shrub/perennial grass buffers planted on 169 ha of land (only 90 ha in crops), 30% of 17. 7 km of stream banks protected by bioengineering techniques, and two major wetlands totaling 8. 9 ha constructed to intercept large tile lines. To justify the RiMS model in the watershed means that expected PV benefits must equal or exceed the PV cost. PV willingness to pay (benefits) for desired surface water quality improvements in Bear Creek total about $610,000. With the consideration of other nonmarket and market values associated with the RiMS, such as improved aesthetics and wildlife habitat and production of fiber, the efficiency of this specific RiMS model can be improved.

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