The water, natural resources, and ecosystems in the Barnegat Bay watershed contribute an economic value of $2 to $4 billion annually to the New Jersey economy. This report examines that economic value in three ways:
1. Economic value directly related to the Barnegat Bay watershed water resources and habitats. The Barnegat Bay watershed contributes over $4 billion in annual economic activity from water quality, water supply, fish/wildlife, recreation, agriculture, forests, and public parks benefits.
2. Value of goods and services provided by Barnegat Bay watershed ecosystems. Using natural capital as a measure of value, habitat in the Barnegat Bay watershed provides $2.3 billion annually in ecosystem goods and services in 2010 dollars, with a net present value (NPV) of $73.3 billion, calculated over a 100 – year period.
3. Employment related to Barnegat Bay watershed resources and habitats. Using employment as a measure of value, natural resources within the Barnegat Bay watershed directly and indirectly support over 60,000 jobs with over $2 billion in annual wages. The purpose of these estimates is to demonstrate that the Barnegat Bay watershed provides real and significant economic benefits to the Garden State and are worthy of investment to keep these natural resources healthy and productive. Estimates were made by taking values from existing literature and studies and applying them to the Barnegat Bay watershed using ecological economics and benefits – transfer techniques described in this report.
Values are converted to 2010 dollars based on the change in the Northeast Region Consumer Price Index, except where noted. Note that the values in the three categories are not summed because there is some overlap between certain values within each category that could result in double counting. For example, the jobs of fishermen that contribute to employment and wages are also a factor in the economic activity generated from fishing, and the ecosystem values of forests for water-quality benefits may be at least partially captured in the economic value of water supply. Accurately determining (and eliminating) this overlap is difficult within the scope of this analysis. The estimates presented in this report are as inclusive as possible, given a lack of data for some economic sectors, yet are not meant to be used to compare and contrast uses of Barnegat Bay’s water resources for their value. Some values were not included in these estimates because the data to assess them either are not readily available or do not exist. For example, the full amount of economic activity and jobs associated with the industries that rely on the Barnegat Bay watershed for their processes is not included here, because identifying those companies and gathering information on their economic activity is beyond the scope of this analysis.