The Everglades Law Center (“ELC”) is a nonprofit law firm that has long used advocacy, policy development, and litigation to protect and sustain South Florida’s unique and irreplaceable ecosystems and communities. PFM Group Consulting LLC (“PFM”) works at the intersection of policy, operations and budgeting to focus on the complex challenges faced by public sector leaders, to deliver in-depth analysis that can truly make a difference.
ELC retained PFM to research and write this report to support ongoing efforts to protect and restore the Lake Worth Lagoon (“Lagoon”), both by raising awareness of the robust role the Lagoon plays on Palm Beach County’s economy and by providing a reliable estimate of the overall economic value of the Lagoon ecosystem.
Based on an analysis of more than 100 professional and academic studies, this report first identifies the key components comprising the overall economic value of the Lake Worth Lagoon and then provides an estimate of the economic value of each component. PFM believes the valuations determined in this report are valid and representative within a reasonable margin of error of the true economic value of the Lake Worth Lagoon.
Economic values and impacts of the Lagoon include government spending on restoration efforts and an estimate of increased spending in the local economy that derives from the higher property values that waterfront residences command (compared to inland residences). Lagoon economic values also include those attributable to recreational use of the Lagoon – money spent on trips taken by residents to fish, boat, and otherwise enjoy the unique resources of the Lagoon as well as trips taken by non-local tourists. Business and commerce that rely on the Lagoon include marine and related industries (from boat storage to sonar equipment repair) and add both jobs and economic activity to Palm Beach County. Lastly, non-market values can be translated into a dollar value and include the range of ecosystem services provided by natural resources, as well as people’s willingness to pay for improved environmental quality and aesthetic beauty.
Adding those values together, the report concludes that the overall economic value of the Lake Worth Lagoon is $5.37 billion, representing the combined one time value plus the present value of ongoing economic benefits and spending derived from the Lake Worth Lagoon over the next 25 years.
Read the full Study here: