What’s the value of a clean beach? Here’s how economists do…

first_img By Timothy Haab, Professor of Environmental Economics, The Ohio State University and first published on theconversation.com.Millions of Americans head outdoors in the summer, whether for a day at a nearby lake or a monthlong road trip. For environmental economists like me, decisions by vacationers and outdoor recreators offer clues to a challenging puzzle: estimating what environmental resources are worth.In 1981 President Ronald Reagan issued an executive order that required federal agencies to weigh the costs and benefits of proposed major new regulations, and in most cases to adopt them only if the benefits to society outweighed the costs. Reagan’s order was intended to promote environmental improvements without overburdening economic growth.Cost-benefit analysis has been so successful as a tool for policy analysis that every administration since Reagan has endorsed using it. However, it requires measuring benefits that are not “priced” in typical markets. Fortunately, putting a price on non-market environmental outcomes, such as safer drinking water and fewer deaths from exposure to dirty air, has proved to be possible, and highly valuable. These estimates help to make the case for actions such as cleaning up beaches and protecting scenic areas.Studies by the EPA have calculated that the benefits of avoided deaths and illnesses resulting from the Clean Act far outweigh the costs to society of complying with the law. EPAWhat’s it worth to you?According to a preliminary estimate from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation adds $373 billion to the U.S. economy yearly. That’s 2 percent of our annual gross domestic product – more than agriculture, mining or utilities, and approaching the economic contribution of national defense.Most policymakers and local communities measure the economic value of outdoor recreation through estimates like this, which calculate how much money it adds to local economies through direct expenditures. For example, vacationers rent hotel rooms, and their spending pays employee salaries and funds local investments through hotel taxes. Visitors to national parks pay entrance fees for park upkeep and augment local economies through employee wages and other expenditures on food and services around the park.But recreation decisions also reveal the value that people place on the environment itself. Outdoor destinations provide services, such as opportunities to swim or hike in unspoiled settings. If high levels of harmful bacteria close a beach I was planning to visit, I may choose to drive a longer distance to a beach with clean water. By quantifying such increases in time and out-of-pocket expenditures, economists can measure people’s willingness to pay for changes in environmental quality.Travelers’ willingness to spend time and money visiting remote attractions like Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming help economists estimate how the public values those places. NPS/Jacob W. FrankFunding beach cleanupsIn one recent study, I worked with other researchers to estimate increased travel and time expenditures that people incurred to avoid trash and debris on 31 Southern California beaches. No one wants to go to a beach littered with hypodermic needles, plastic bottles and discarded fishing nets. But cleaning up marine debris is expensive, and it is hard for communities to recover the costs, particularly for public beaches with open access. Understanding the value of cleaner beaches can help build support for funding trash collection.To measure the amount of debris, we hired workers to walk the beaches tallying quantities of trash. Then we surveyed Southern California residents about how often and where they went to the beach, which enabled us to correlate numbers of visitors at each beach with quantities of debris. Finally, using travel time and expenses for each visitor to visit each beach, we modeled the relationship between where they chose to go to the beach, how much they spent to get there, and the cleanliness of the beach.Using this model, we found that visitors to these beaches would be willing to incur $12.91 in additional costs per trip if each of the beaches had 25 percent less debris. This translated into a total willingness to pay $29.5 million for action to reduce marine debris by 25 percent on these beaches.Reducing harmful algal blooms in Lake ErieTrash on beaches is mainly an aesthetic nuisance, but some resource problems are more severe. For example, warm weather often triggers harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie’s western basin. These outbreaks, which are caused by agricultural and urban phosphorous pollution, contain freshwater toxins that are dangerous to humans and animals. They can trigger beach closures, and sometimes even drinking water bans.Using similar techniques to the California study, I worked with another group of economists to estimate the economic value of reducing outbreaks of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. To model the relationship between recreation and water quality, we combined satellite data on harmful algal outbreaks in the lake in the summer of 2016 with visit patterns from a survey of Lake Erie visitors. Once again, we used travel time to each visited site and out-of-pocket expenditures to get there to represent the price of a trip. Then we correlated the price of a trip with the location of the visit and the presence of harmful algal blooms.Algal toxin warning sign on an empty Maumee Bay State Park public beach on Lake Erie in Oregon, Ohio, Sept. 15, 2017. AP Photo/Paul SancyaOur results showed that reducing these outbreaks through a 40 percent reduction in phosphorus runoff to the Lake Erie Basin would save swimmers, boaters and fishermen $800,000 to $970,000 per year by reducing the need for them to travel the extra distance to avoid algal blooms.Just this spring, Ohio declared the western Lake Erie watershed to be “impaired” by algal blooms, meaning it does not meet federal water quality standards. Our study provides one measurement of Ohio residents’ willingness to pay for a cleaner lake.Avoiding a major oil spillPeople can choose different destinations to avoid dirty beaches or algae outbreaks. But in the case of large-scale environmental disasters, such as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, vacationers are more likely to cancel their trips altogether.In a study using survey data on canceled vacation trips to Northwest Florida in the year following the BP oil spill, I worked with other economists to estimate the decrease in economic value to Northwest Florida coastal towns. We found that the spill caused a 9 percent drop in trips to Northwest Florida beaches, causing total economic losses of $252 million to $332 million across the Florida panhandle. Those losses represent decisions to spend vacation time and money in places where there was less risk of encountering polluted beaches.The Gulf coast stretches from western Florida to Texas and has numerous beaches and fishing towns, so this sum is probably just a small fraction of economic harm caused by the spill due to canceled travel.Jacksonville, Florida, on the Atlantic coast, benefited after the BP spill as travelers avoided the Gulf coast.The value of pricing natureContrary to some environmentalists’ fears, putting a price on natural resources has encouraged decision-makers to recognize that natural capital is finite. Before, it was easy to assume that they were free to exploit. Now economic valuation research can help decision makers answer questions such as how much damage the BP spill did to natural resources, and whether the benefits of the EPA’s Acid Rain Program exceeded the costs. Assigning dollar values to natural resources makes it possible to use the power of markets to design policies and regulations that benefit all. The Anatomy of Fear Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply Please enter your comment! Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate TAGStheconversation.com Previous articleWendell Wilkie: A statesman for the agesNext articleThe best news of the week Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Please enter your name here Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address herelast_img read more

Take A Look At The Six Venues Where Phish Will Play On Fall Tour

first_imgPhish just finished their summer tour, and already we’ve been blessed with Fall tour dates, including an epic 4-night Halloween run in Las Vegas to cap things off. This Fall tour will see the band travel through the South, stopping at six different venues, five of them for multi-night runs. We put together a little venue cheat sheet, so you can learn all about the venues Phish will be playing, the band’s history at each location, and some fun facts taboot. As you consider your lottery requests and figure out your tour logistics, take a deeper look at the rooms Phish are playing on their 2016 Fall tour.10/14 & 10/15: North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, SCBuilt in 1993, this 14,000-person capacity arena is the host to the South Carolina Stingrays hockey team of the EHCL. The arena serves as the main concert venue in the region, and has seen it’s fair share of big-time shows. Kiss played there in 2000, marking the final time the original lineup would perform together. The venue is a staple for Dave Matthews Band, and has also seen tour stops by Jay-Z, Prince, and Taylor Swift.Phish has played at the venue four times. in 1995, the band stopped at the Coliseum for a fun show that found them in a loose, comfortable mood. “Big Black Furry Creature From Mars” was busted out in the second set, and the band played a number of acoustic bluegrass tunes, including an encore guest appearance from Page McConnell‘s father, Dr. Jack McConnell, on vocals. Phish also played the second (and final) version of The Beatles‘ “I’m So Tired”, brought back from the dead from their White Album Halloween show. Phish returned in 1996 for a show that featured an interesting “Scent of a Mule” -> “Catapult” -> “Scent of a Mule” in the first set, and a raging second set that was capped off by “Tweezer”, “Fluffhead”, “Life on Mars?” -> “Tweezer Reprise” set-closing segment.Phish wouldn’t return to the venue for 14 years, as they stopped in Charleston for a two-night-run back in 2010. Night 1 saw Page’s father again come out for “Bill Bailey, Wont You Please Come Home?”, reprising his performance from 1995, this time adding some tap-dancing to the mix. The crowd was blessed with both “Destiny Unbound” and “Dog Faced Boy” in the first set, and the extremely rare “Mexiacn Cousin” in set two. The second night of the run found the band firing on all cylinders, putting in a classic performance that really got the 3.0 fans fired up. The setlist speaks for itself, so I’ll just leave it here for all to drool at. One can only hope that, when Phish returns to the venue this fall, they play a show as on-fire as 10/16/2010.Watch this epic second-set-opening “Crosseyed And Painless” from 10/16/2010 at North Charleston Coliseum, courtesy of YouTube user Yuri Federman.10/16: Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, FLThis 15,000 seat multi-purpose arena was built specifically for the room to have great acoustics. Opening in 2003 with a show by Elton John, the venue has seen its fair share of concerts by the likes of Billy Joel, Kenny chesney, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, and more.In their long career, Phish has never played a show in Jacksonville. They played a few shows in Northern Florida in the mid 90s, but haven’t returned to the region since their epic Big Cypress New Years festival in 1999. Given the 17 year gap, fans in Northern Florida should be jumping for joy as Phish prepares to return to the region for the first time in the 3.0 era. As the only one-night-stand of the entire tour, this Sunday show is for sure a sleeper that all phans will mark on their calendars. Never miss a Sunday show!Since Phish hasn’t ever played in Jacksonville, watch this video of their famed “Midnight Set” from Big Cypress below, courtesy of YouTube user skriddler.10/18 & 10/19: Ascend Amphitheater, Nashville, TNThe Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville still has that “brand new” vibe going for it. Opening only last year, the venue has hosted My Morning Jacket, Steely Dan & Elvis Costello, and a two-night run from Widespread Panic, among other big-name concerts that have stopped their over the past year.Phish helped open the venue in 2015, playing the third-ever show at the amphitheater in early August of last year. The band played a fun show, with a great “Wolfman’s Brother” in the first set, followed by a rowdy “Mike’s Song” > “Piper” > “Crosseyed and Painless” -> “Weekapaug Groove” segment to close the second set.Phish had so much fun in Nashville last year that they decided to record their forthcoming new album there, and no doubt their two-night run is a reflection of just how much they enjoyed their extended time in the “Music City” over the past year. Watch Phish’s full show from Ascend Amphitheater in 2015, courtesy of YouTube user Sigmund Bops (and livephish.com!).10/21 & 10/22: Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, Alpharetta, GAThis venue is a modern Phish classic. The venue opened in 2008, and when Phish stopped at the state-of-the-art amphitheater in 2010, they found a new Atlanta-area home. Their first stop here was a two-night stand over July 4th, and the band pulled out all the punches. Playing “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters” on night 1, the real treat came on night 2, July 4th itself, when the band played “Colonoel Forbin’s Ascent” > “Fly Famous Mockingbird” in the first set, and then in set two, to the surprise of Phish fans everywhere, the band played one of the best “Mike’s Groove” sandwiches of all time: “Mike’s Song” > “Tela”, “Harpua” > “Killing in the Name” > “Harpua” > “Weekapaug Groove”.Phish has returned to Encore Park five times since this epic July 4th run, and we are excited to see what the band has in store when they get back to Alpharetta for their first Fall tour stops at the fan-favorite venue.Watch fans go absolutely wild as Phish covers Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” during their ultra-rare “Harpua” at Encore Park in 2010, courtesy of YouTube user lilcha85’s channel.10/24 & 10/25: Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, Grand Prairie, TXAfter a one-night barn-burner last summer, Phish returns to the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie for a two-night stand that should leave Texas fans fully satisfied. The venue opened back in February of 2002, and the 6,300-person capacity venue marks the smallest venue of the tour, so fans who are lucky enough to grab tickets will certainly be in for a treat. Last year’s show was great, with an excellent first set that included a rockin’ “Guelah Papyrus” > “Punch You In the Eye” > “Steam” > “Poor Heart” segment that is the stuff of Phish legend.Watch Phish play an absolutely awesome version of “Birds of a Feather”, thanks to pro-shot footage from their show in Grand Prairie in 201510/28 – 10/31: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NVAhhhhhh, Vegas. Vegas, baby! We can’t think of anything more exciting than a four-night Halloween run in Las Vegas…Can you?The venue itself comes with it’s own Vegas-y rules. First of all, it’s inside of a casino, so, since Vegas encourages everyone to gamble at all times, the venue allows (and encourages) re-entry…Set-break roulette, anyone? Second of all, since it’s Vegas, you can bring outside alcohol into the venue (in plastic containers only)…I’ll leave it at that.Phish has only played at this venue three times over one weekend, but it was certainly one of the most legendary runs in Phish history. The room itself has hosted endless high-profiled events, with thousands of concerts and boxing matches taking place at the Garden Arena over the years. But for Phish fans, it’s the 2014 Halloween run that really stands out.The band hit the strip with a huge amount of excitement, with fans foaming at the mouth with rabid anticipation over what their Halloween album-cover would be. With tons of speculation over David Bowie‘s Ziggy Stardust and The Band‘s Rock of Ages, Phish shocked the music world by “covering” the Thrilling Chilling Sounds of the Haunted House, a Disney-released Halloween record from 1964 that is solely made up of narration and sound effects. The album was meant to inspire the imagination of those who listened to it, forcing the listener to create their own story around the limited content that made up the record. And boy, did Phish deliver. Creating new compositions for each narration and spooky sound effect, the band put on one of the most fun, surprise-filled shows of their career. Opening up the second set inside of a makeshift haunted house, Phish was eventually revealed to decked out in white tuxedos and zombie makeup, jamming together in close quarters while in full costume. The crowd absolutely loved their break from tradition, and Phish added 10 quality, jam-heavy new songs to their ever-expanding repertoire.Nights two and three at the Garden Arena were also filled with Phishy goodness, filled with teases from the new Halloween songs. Phish performed “The Dogs” in full on Saturday night as they jammed out of “Light”, and teased “The Birds” during “Birds of a Feather”. Perhaps the energetic peak of the weekend, Phish dropped the new fan-favorite “Martian Monster” into the jam-section of “Free”, which led to a huge eruption from the crowd.Phish in Las Vegas for Halloween was a dream come true in 2014. It comes as no surprise that Phish would choose to return to the venue that made so many of their fans so happy. The euphoric vibe was felt throughout the weekend, and it’s no question that Phish is looking to re-create the same excited-energy that made 2014 so memorable.Watch the full ‘Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of The Haunted House’ set from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on 10/31/2014, courtesy of YouTube user Scott Friedman.Watch a beaming Trey Anastasio rip up “Free” with a huge “Martian Monster” tease from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on 11/2/2015, courtesy of YouTube user LazyLightning55a.We cannot wait for Fall Tour!last_img read more

Harvard wins The Game, 45-7, over Yale

first_imgNEW HAVEN, Conn. – Harvard fell behind by a touchdown before flexing its muscle as the Ivy League champion Crimson cruised past Yale, 45-7, at Yale Bowl in the 128th edition of The Game.Harvard (9-1, 7-0 Ivy), which won its 14th Ivy title last weekend, continued its recent domination of Yale (5-5, 4-3 Ivy) by winning its sixth straight at Yale Bowl, fifth-straight in the series and 10th in the last 11 meetings. It marked the highest output against Yale since an identical score of 45-7 at Cambridge in 1982.To read the full story, including game highlights, visit gocrimson.com.Harvard responds to Saturday’s pre-game tragedy.last_img read more