Natural and Artificial Reef Valuation - Southeast Florida 2000-01

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Natural and Artificial Reef Valuation - Southeast Florida 2000-01

Artificial and natural reefs are public resources that provide recreational benefits to reef users and income to local economies. This study determined, in a comprehensive manner, the net economic value of southeast Florida's natural and artificial reef resources to local economies and reef users.


Following the success of the Northwest Florida effort, a multi-agency partnership was created to fund a study of the artificial and natural reefs of Southeast Florida. NOAA, the State of Florida, and four local county agencies (Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties) entered a partnership to conduct the study. Hazen & Sawyer was selected through a competitive contract process to lead the study, with a subcontract to Florida State University. As with the northwest Florida Study, the Southeast Florida Study included estimates of market and nonmarket economic use values.

Report Structure

In Southeast Florida, natural reefs, especially coral reefs, are more important than artificial reefs. Separate estimates are provided for existing artificial and natural reefs, including the willingness to pay for new artificial reefs. The report, titled Socioeconomic Study of Reefs in Southeast Florida, Final Report, October 19, 2001 (pdf, 10.3 mb) offers a separate chapter for each county, with an executive summary across counties, and a chapter that provides more detail across counties. Unlike the northwest Florida report, technical details about how estimates were developed will be provided in a separate technical report.

In the main report, the chapters for each county are divided into three main sections: (1) Resident Reef-Users, (2) Visitor Reef-Users, and (3) total of Resident and Visitor Reef Use. Within each major section, four topics are addressed: (1) volume of user activity on both artificial and natural reefs, (2) economic contribution of artificial and natural reefs to the county’s economy, (3) resident and visitor “economic use value” associated with recreating on artificial and natural reefs, and (4) demographic profiles of reef users.

In the main report, an executive summary provides information for all four counties. Chapter 1: Introduction, explains the project goals and objectives, provides background information on the surveys, and provides an overview of the data summaries, modeling efforts, and statistical analyses used in the report. Chapter 2: Socioeconomic Values of Reefs in Southeast Florida, provides a comparative overview of the results across all four counties, but in greater detail than the executive summary. The detailed results for each county are found in Chapters 3–6. Chapter 3 is Palm Beach County, Chapter 4 is Broward County, Chapter 5 is Miami-Dade County and Chapter 6 is Monroe County (Florida Keys).

The main report has four appendices, A–D. Appendix A includes the survey instruments (questionnaires) for the resident surveys. Appendix B includes the survey instruments for the visitor surveys. Appendix C includes the survey sites and number of completed surveys per site in the visitor surveys for each county. Appendix D includes the survey instruments for the survey of charter/party boat owners/operators.

Technical Report

The Technical Report provides the detailed methodologies used for estimating visitation and use, estimating economic contribution, and estimating nonmarket economic user values. As the name implies, this report is intended for more technical audiences that want to know how estimates were made.

In addition to the reef valuation reports, information was also collected in the 2000-01 study on use of the Sanctuary preservation Areas (SPAs) and Ecological Reserves (ERs) and a five-year replication of the importance-satisfaction ratings done in the 1995-96 baseline study of recreation-tourism.  This allowed for developing estimates of SPA and ER use, five-year comparisons for importance-satisfaction ratings for 25 natural resource attributes, facilities and services for both residents and visitors, and the linking of ecological and socioeconomic indicators to test whether user perceptions were consistent with ecological indicators on changes in the environment.  The information also allowed for tests for differences between users and non users of the SPAs and ERs as to both socioeconomic factors and their importance-satisfaction ratings.

Fact Sheets

Extension to Martin County, Florida

In 2002, Martin County, Florida contracted with Hazen and Sawyer (the same contractor used in the Southeast, Florida study) to extend the reef study one county North to cover the reefs off Martin County, Florida. All questionnaires and sample designs used in the lower four counties were used for Martin County. The same type of economic models were also utilized and all tables in the final report match those found in the larger Southeast Florida Study.

The addition of Martin County reefs is important not only for Martin County, but the reefs from Martin County south through Monroe County (Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary) are now being considered as a regional Management unit under NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. These reefs are now identified under the Southeast Coral Reef Initiative and efforts are already underway to address issues of reef resilience. Future efforts may address the socioeconomics of reef resilience.