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Economic value of angling on the Colorado River at Lees Ferry: Using secondary data to estimate the influence of seasonality

October 4, 2016

Glen Canyon Dam (GCD) on the Colorado River in northern Arizona provides water storage, flood control, and power system benefits to approximately 40 million people who rely on water and energy resources in the Colorado River basin. Downstream resources (e.g., angling, whitewater floating) in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (GCNRA) and Grand Canyon National Park are impacted by the operation of GCD. The GCD Adaptive Management Program was established in 1997 to monitor and research the effects of dam operations on the downstream environment. We utilized secondary survey data and an individual observation travel cost model to estimate the net economic benefit of angling in GCNRA for each season and each type of angler. As expected, the demand for angling decreased with increasing travel cost; the annual value of angling at Lees Ferry totaled US$2.7 million at 2014 visitation levels. Demand for angling was also affected by season, with per-trip values of $210 in the summer, $237 in the spring, $261 in the fall, and $399 in the winter. This information provides insight into the ways in which anglers are potentially impacted by seasonal GCD operations and adaptive management experiments aimed at improving downstream resource conditions.