Evaluation of Recreation in Water Developments

by William M. White,

Serial Information: Journal of the Power Division, 1965, Vol. 91, Issue 1, Pg. 1-10

Document Type: Journal Paper


Enhancement of fish and wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities is now recognized as a valid and vital purpose of developing the nation's water resources. The challenge before the planner is to reflect these purposes both in project design and economics. Recognition of their benefits to society has required the development of economic evaluation factors (benefits) comparable to others used in (1) establishing economic feasibility of projects and (2) allocating costs among purposes served. The latter is necessary because costs assigned to some beneficiaries must, by law, be rapid. Evaluations were initially based on recreationists' expenditures but were found incomparable with net benefits assigned to other project purposes. Daily unit values applicable to expected human use were developed administratively using limited data and expert judgment and have been used satisfactorily since 1961. Benefits not adequately reflected by on-site recreational use, such as waterfowl conservation refuges, are evaluated by reference to alternate costs. Further experience with fee recreation will permit the collection of data to reassess the schedule of daily values.

Subject Headings: Economic factors | Water-based recreation | Water resources | Fish management | Wildlife | Social factors | Feasibility studies | Construction costs

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