Monster Seminar JAM - The Value of Stream Temperature Forecasts: An Application to Salmonid Management in the Pacific Northwest
Dr. Richard Adams, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Oregon State University
Water temperature is an important factor affecting aquatic life within the stream environment. Cold water species, such as salmonids, are particularly susceptible to elevated water temperatures. For example, increased water temperatures are believed to have been the major cause of a large fish kill observed in the Klamath River in September 2002. This paper examines the economic value of short-term (7 to 10 days) water temperature forecasts for salmonid management. Forecasts may have value if they allow the water resource manager to make more cost-effective water allocation decisions. This study considers two applications. One is the case of adult Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) returning to the lower Klamath River in California. Water management in this setting involves the potential release of cooler water upstream from Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River, the major tributary to the Klamath River. Such water releases create opportunity costs because of foregone hydropower production and crop irrigation. The second application is to steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the North Fork of the John Day River. The water mangement decision here is to lease water from agriculture to prevent water temperature increases during critical late summer time periods. The opportunity cost is in the form of lower crop yields. This assessment incorporates bio-physical models and water temperature distribution data into a Bayesian framework to simulate changes in fish populations and the corresponding opportunity cost of water under different temperature forecast accuracies. Simulation results indicate that use of the forecasts results in increased fish production. The resultant marginal cost in the Klamath River declines from about $74 per fish when the forecast standard deviation is 6 (moderate accuracy) to about $34 when the forecast standard deviation is 0 (perfect forecast). In the John Day River the marginal cost per fish declines from $34 for a standard deviation of 6 to $29 for a perfect forecast. While these findings are conditioned on the accuracy of the numerous models and assumptions embedded in this assessment, a key result of the assessment is the pattern of declining marginal costs as forecast accuracy increases, suggesting that provision and use of such stream temperature forecasts would have potential value to society. To assess the overall efficacy of adding water temperature forecasts to the suite of NOAA weather products, these benefits need to be compared with the costs of providing such forecasts.
Date and Time:
May 27, 2010,
11:00 am - 12:00 pm