A Cost-benefit Analysis of a Riparian Rehabilitation Project on Alderson Creek, Township of Spallumcheen, British Columbia Carvajal, Vilma Calvopina; Janmaat, John
Alderson Creek (AC) is a small stream, approximately 2.4 km long, located about 100 kilometers from Kelowna, British Columbia. It passes through seven private properties that produce alfalfa-grass hay, raise cattle, horses and poultry. The creek and riparian corridor is substantially degraded, with sinking stream banks, siltation of the watercourse, loss of native riparian vegetation, and loss of fish habitat (Alderson Creek Remediation Plan, 2014). Channelization of the stream, lack of maintenance, as well as other inadequate management practices, have resulted in permanently flooded farmland (10.4 acre), cases of animals drowning in one part of the creek (due to unrestricted access for cattle) and disease problems such as foot rot for animals that are frequently in wet conditions. In 2014, landowners along the creek formed a non-profit society called the “Alderson Creek Restoration Environmental Society” (ACRES) to cooperatively address issues resulting from the state of the creek. In the same year, the proposal for a Group Environmental Farm Plan (GEFP) was submitted to BC Government. The plan proposed a set of solutions including fencing to keep cattle out of the creek, installing off-stream livestock watering and/or controlled livestock access to the stream, installing additional drainage infrastructure and planting natural vegetation to support the stream bank and provide shading and habitat. This document presents an accounting of the costs and benefits of the project. Some of these costs and benefits are experienced by the land owners themselves, while others impact the larger community. Riparian corridors in particular provide extensive environmental services which include water flow regulation, attractive visual aesthetics, and habitat for terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna. This study relies on the Benefit Transfer methodology to attach values to the expected ecosystem services after the restoration. The analysis was conducted for two possible project scenarios, a three meter and a five meter riparian buffer on either side of the creek. The lifetime of the project was taken to be 20 years and the net benefits (Benefits – Costs) were discounted using a 3% and 5% discount rate. Results showed positive net benefits for both scenarios when cash flows are discounted at 3%. Results suggest that a five meter riparian buffer results in the largest net benefit, calculated as Net Present Value (NPV= $53,422). With a three meter riparian buffer and using a 5% discount rate, net benefits are negative (NPV= - $5,865). The internal rate of return (IRR) for the three and five meter buffer scenarios was 4.64% and 5.41% respectively.
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