On October 6 the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) released a peer-reviewed report calculating that the economic benefits of the Chesapeake Bay watershed will increase by $4.6 billion annually in Maryland to $20.4 billion once the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is fully implemented. The report also claimed that if the Blueprint is not fully implemented (a “business as usual” scenario) then the Bay’s economic benefits will decrease by $5.6 billion annually, with a further decline in benefits after 2025. From the CBF press release:
A first-ever analysis released today by [CBF] finds that the economic benefits provided by nature in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will total $130 billion annually when the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is fully implemented. In Maryland those Bay benefits will top $20 billion a year.
“We all know that reducing pollution makes great sense for our health and our environment, and today we can confirm what we have long thought. It makes good economic sense as well,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “The benefits nature provides to us will increase in value by more than $22 billion, a 21 percent increase as a result of fully implementing the Blueprint. And we reap those added benefits every year.”
In Maryland, the report finds the Blueprint will increase natural benefits of the Bay and its river and streams to the state from $15.8 billion a year in 2009 to $20.4 billion annually, an increase of $4.6 billion a year.
The report does not consider the costs of implementing the Blueprint, a fact that is also noted in the press release:
CBF’s study addressed only benefits, not costs. While there are no recent estimates of the total costs of implementation, a 2004 estimate put costs in the range of roughly $6 billion per year.
Considering federal, state and local investments in clean water in the 10 years since that time, we estimate the current number is closer to $5 billion annually. And once capital investments are made, the long-term annual operations and maintenance costs will be much lower. The result–the Blueprint will return benefits to the region each year at a rate of more than four times the cost of the clean-up plan.
The press release also noted that CBF is calling for a reduction in the amount of manure entering local waters, protecting forests, and increasing tree-planting along both urban and rural waterways.