The survey respondents in the Phase I study were primarily boaters and anglers, thus focusing on specific types of recreationists. In Phase II, researchers will build on this work by examining the social and economic value of AIS management among another key stakeholder group: Minnesota tourists and tourism-related businesses. The overall goal of this project is to quantify and analyze the socio-economic impact of AIS on Minnesota tourists and tourism related business owners. Achieving this goal will provide a fuller picture of the impacts of AIS in Minnesota—a state with substantial nature based tourism.
- To assess tourists’ a) behavior, values, and perceptions as they relate to AIS, b) their willingness to pay for AIS management in Minnesota, and c) future behavior as a response to AIS infestation levels.
- To investigate lodging owner/operators’ perspectives on and concerns of AIS, AIS management, and support for policy.
- To compare tourist related data with outcomes from the investigators’ previous projects investigating recreationists’, lakeshore owners’, and general residents’ AIS values, AIS perceptions, and willingness to pay for AIS management.
The overall goal of this project is to quantify and analyze the ecological and economic value of AIS damages and AIS management as they relate to ecosystem services such as fishing, swimming, biodiversity, and navigability. Researchers will employ a multi-pronged approach, including:
- Estimating public benefits of AIS management
- Analyzing costs of carp management and effectiveness of carp management as a strategy for water clarity restoration
- Developing a broad AIS analysis framework, which we will use to estimate efficient carp management
Specific outcomes of the study include a comprehensive AIS valuation data compilation for use by other researchers, and an eco-economic programming model to predict the economic and ecological repercussions of using AIS prevention and control initiatives.
This project is important because even if the direct costs of AIS management are known, a lack of information about the potential benefits of AIS management makes informed decision-making difficult. With an accurate assessment of the costs and benefits of AIS management strategies, as well as information on public perception, resource managers will be better prepared to efficiently and effectively invest management resources.
As of January 2019, a literature review to identify key survey topics was complete, along with samples of survey questions in order to identify survey topics and develop the questionnaire for Minnesota residents. Researchers have also been working with watershed districts to collect information about cost estimates and water quality before and after AIS management efforts.
Survey collection kicked off in summer 2019. One survey was mailed to 2,000 residents across Minnesota; another was administered in-person at six lakes across the state.
A questionnaire was for watershed districts and other carp management agencies was also developed and administered in order to collect information about cost estimates (for each management action) and water quality (clarity and Phosphorus) before and after AIS management.
Data from all of these surveys is currently being entered and analyzed.