Title page for ETD etd-02172006-154429


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Aust, Christiane
Author's Email Address caust1@lsu.edu
URN etd-02172006-154429
Title Cost-Efficacy of Wetland Preservation and Restoration in Coastal Louisiana
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Rex Caffey Committee Chair
John Westra Committee Member
Margaret Reams Committee Member
Rich Kazmierzcak Committee Member
Keywords
  • wetland valuation assessment
  • cost and benefits in environmental economics
Date of Defense 2005-10-30
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Louisiana faces a tremendous crisis of coastal wetland loss, where an estimated 1,900 square miles of coastal land has been lost in the past century. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) has been the largest single source of restoration funding, providing approximately $560 million for more than 155 restoration projects since 1991. Recently reauthorized by Congress to the year 2019, current spending under CWPPRA constitutes less than 10% of the funding required to sustain coastal Louisiana as it exists today.

A descriptive analysis of selected projects (n=109) was conducted to analyze the economic efficiency associated with various project attributes by location, technology, and sponsor. Barrier Island and Shoreline Protection projects were shown to be highly expensive, costing an average of $9,461 and $10,416 per AAHU, respectively. Although slight economies of scale appeared to be present in the aggregated data, those efficiencies do not hold up over time. In the past 14 years of CWPPRA, average costs per unit have been steadily increasing, ranging from a low of $700 in 1993 to more than $15,000 in 2004.

To account for the effects of other possible factors contributing to this increase, a two stage statistical assessment was conducted using data collected from candidate projects (n=299) between 1991 through 2004. The first stage uses multiple linear regression analysis to examine various factors influencing cost-effectiveness. The significant, directional relationships of particular region and sponsor variables is consistent with the expensive "protection" projects predominately sponsored by EPA, and located in Regions 2 and 3.

The second stage is a binary logit analysis used to examine how stage 1 attributes affected project selection in CWPPRA. As expected, cost per AAHU was found to be negatively related to project selection for PPL1-14. However, costs between 1999 and 2004 were positively related to project selection. Furthermore, the most expensive project types - barrier island and shoreline protection projects - were positively related to selection.

The findings and recommendations of this project could prove useful in ensuring that benefits of Louisiana's coastal restoration and preservation efforts are maximized given the limited amount of funding available.

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