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MP marshes, living shorelines create benefits valued at $6.4M annually

Marshes and living shorelines in the Middle Peninsula region of Virginia generate more than $6.4 million in economic value from recreational fishing, a figure more than three and a half times greater than the value associated with hardened shorelines, according to a study by researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Recently published in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management, the study is the first to assign an economic value to an ecological benefit of living shorelines. It highlights the unique and interdisciplinary team assembled at VIMS.

“We don’t have good models for comparing what we are losing in terms of ecosystem services when making decisions about coastal land use,” said VIMS professor Andrew Scheld, lead author on the study and a trained economist specializing in fisheries. “That was our motivation for this work. We wanted information about the habitat preferences of anglers, and it just didn’t exist.”

With funding from the Nat...

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