Maryland Coastal Bays

Value of the Bays

 
In 1995, the Maryland Coastal Bays were nominated to the U.S. EPA as an estuary of national significance due to the unique features of the bays, their recreational and commercial value, and the critical habitat they provide to numerous species.
The bays are important forage and nursery habitat for 115 fish species as well as the most significant area in Maryland for colonial waterbirds and many other bird species.

The inherent value of living things notwithstanding, an independent consulting firm report prepared in 2001 shows what most knew all along that the value of the Coastal Bays’ natural resources to the local economy is staggering. Still, some of the numbers may come as a surprise. Without the inclusion of beachgoers or most Ocean City-related activities, the total value of the Coastal Bays is around half a billion dollars annually.

Recreational activity, which does not include related boating, food, property, or lodging, was worth a total of $206 million in 2000. Commercial fishing was worth $7.9 million and recreational boating about $25.5 million. Full-time jobs related to the bays come in at 5,680. Some 5,114 of those are related to recreation and 516 support the commercial fishing industry.

In addition, because of many other factors, the Coastal Bays have a much larger value to Worcester County than that indicated only by annual spending. Visitors’ willingness-to-pay indicates that non-market values are more than $183 million. In addition, waterfront property, with an estimated value of the premium (only) for waterfront location is $360 million, with an annualized value of $36.6 million per year.

Additional values can be estimated for the avoided costs of benefits provided by wetlands, which absorb pollution and storm energy, as well as government services related to protecting the area. The Coastal Bays represent a resource of extremely significant value to the economy of Worcester County.
 
In a sense, the values of the bays are, in the long run, inestimable since without the bays, the county would be a very different place. It would more likely resemble the many ocean seashore communities along the Atlantic Coast that have no protective shelter and few opportunities for safe waterborne and shore recreation. However, placing a dollar value on the impact of the bays on Worcester County represents one method for placing that impact in perspective.
 

 

 


An Assessment of the Economic Value of the Coastal Bays
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program
Coastal Bays Program