Conservation Easements Along the Housatonic River

Using funds from an NRDAR settlement, FWS obligated $557,810 ($2011) to TNC of Massachusetts for the purchase of permanent conservation easements on approximately 200 acres of riparian lands along the Housatonic River in Salisbury, Connecticut. Conservation of riparian habitat will help to (1) protect water quality; (2) protect nesting habitat for migratory songbirds and other wildlife, including several rare and endangered plants, turtles, salamanders and dragonflies; and (3) maintain the scenic, agrarian character of the region. These efforts provide a beneficial tradeoff from the harm to the river and associated wildlife caused by historical polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contamination. Economic Impacts of Restoration. From ... Show More

Using funds from an NRDAR settlement, FWS obligated $557,810 ($2011) to TNC of Massachusetts for the purchase of permanent conservation easements on approximately 200 acres of riparian lands along the Housatonic River in Salisbury, Connecticut. Conservation of riparian habitat will help to (1) protect water quality; (2) protect nesting habitat for migratory songbirds and other wildlife, including several rare and endangered plants, turtles, salamanders and dragonflies; and (3) maintain the scenic, agrarian character of the region. These efforts provide a beneficial tradeoff from the harm to the river and associated wildlife caused by historical polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contamination.
 
Economic Impacts of Restoration.  From 2011 to 2015, it is anticipated that $500,000 will be spent to purchase conservation easements. An additional $58,000 will be spent to administer the easements, which includes identification, resource assessment, and management and restoration planning. These expenses will generate an average of $12,000 per year in labor income (salaries, wages, and benefits) for local businesses, and will directly impact businesses providing management, technical service, and real estate consulting. Although insufficient information is available to estimate the economic impact of the easements on these private properties, it is generally expected that conservation easement purchases also will inject new money into the local economy. The sale of easements provides landowners with additional revenue, some percentage of which may be spent in the local economy, including purchasing new real estate, consumer goods, or services in the local area.  In many cases, the sale of easements also allows farm owners to continue farming practices on their land. For example, for one of the easements in this case, the money will help the farmer continue to raise beef for local markets. The farmer’s costs for equipment, supplies and materials will be spent in the local economy, thus supporting local businesses and local employment. Farm workers will also spend their salaries in the local economy, thus supporting further local employment. From a social perspective, conservation easements generate benefits for local residents, communities, and governments by protecting values associated with biodiversity and wildlife abundance, aesthetic beauty, local agriculture, and social and culturally significant features of landscapes and livelihoods.

This case study was first published in the FY2011 DOI Economic Contributions Report and is available at  https://www.fort.usgs.gov/sites/default/files/products/publications/23407/23407.pdf Show Less

Contact(s): Catherine M Cullinane Thomas, Christopher C Huber.

Overview

Project Period: 2011-2015

Location: Connecticut

Restoration Type: Riparian restoration,Farmland Preservation

Lead Agency: The Nature Conservancy,Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Economic Impacts
National Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Total Project Expenditures: $61,000


Job-Years: Not Available

Labor Income: Not Available

Value Added: Not Available

Economic Output: Not Available

Local Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Local Project Expenditures: $61,000

Percent of Project Expenditures Spent Locally: 100%

Local Job-Years: 1

Local Labor Income: $59,000

Local Value Added: Not Available

Local Economic Output: $121,000

Map
Images
Conservation easement along the Houstatonic River.jpg
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