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New Economic Evaluation Of Alaska – British Columbia Transboundary Watersheds

Will Patric : Nov 29.2016

An economic study released by the McDowell Group in November 2016 is informative regarding the value of several transboundary watersheds. The study was commissioned by Salmon Beyond Borders and focused specifically on the Taku, Iskut-Stikine, and Unuk watersheds, the three river systems most threatened by British Columbia headwaters mining proposals. Over a thirty year horizon, the combined economic value of these three watersheds approaches $1 billion. And this figure only considers commercial and recreational fishing, to say nothing of other direct and indirect values.

McDowell is an Alaska based research and consulting firm. Its study can be viewed here: southeast-alaska-transboundary-watershed-economic-impacts

It’s always worth stressing that no expenditure is needed to make these watersheds so productive, or to keep them that way. In contrast to salmon ecosystems to the south in which untold millions of dollars are being spent to try to bring back a vestige of the fisheries bounty that was traded off for development, the watersheds shared by British Columbia and Alaska need no such investment. They simply need humility and foresight demonstrated by their stewards, appreciating what we have now – as underscored by the McDowell study – and insuring that it’s not squandered.

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