This work evaluates the economic value of water in the Conemaugh, Loyalhanna, and Youghiogheny watersheds of the Laurel Highlands.
Government agencies, local citizens, and the funding community can use this information to weigh the economic benefits of conservation and restoration and/or broader policies designed to produce water quality and quantity improvements in the region.
We estimated a wealth of economic benefits, including recreation benefits, avoided costs, and other non-market values associated with the key water resource management actions highlighted below:
1. Restoring 878 miles of AMD-damaged streams in the study region could bring:
We estimated future costs to watersheds associated with unfettered resource extraction as well:
1. 30,000+ acres of forest and agricultural land may be lost to natural gas well pads in the next 10 years, leading to:
Below are identified cost-effective actions to inform the next round of strategy and funding prioritization around water quality conservation and restoration:
The region overlaps five mainly rural counties: Westmoreland, Fayette , Somerset, Cambria, and Indiana; and the following major watersheds: Blacklick Creek, Casselman River, Conemaugh River, Indian Creek, Jacobs Creek, Laurel Hill Creek, Little Conemaugh River, Loyalhanna Creek, Sewickley Creek, Stonycreek River, and the Youghiogheny River.
Our study region of over 1.9 million acres includes over 245,000 acres of protected land, 9 state parks, and Pennsylvania’s highest peak and deepest river gorge. There are 191 Natural Heritage Areas within the study region, nearly 300 miles of designated and existing-use exceptional value streams, over 100 miles of Class A trout streams, and 8 Important Bird Areas (Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program).
Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle State Park
Steering committee members
Beverly Braverman – Mountain Watershed Assocation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Huba – Loyalhanna Watershed Association: email@example.com
Len Lichvar – Somerset Conservation District: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monty Murty – Forbes Trail TU: email@example.com
Marla Papernick – Pennsylvania Environmental Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robb Piper, Forester from Cambria County: email@example.com
Carla Ruddock- Mountain Watershed Association: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deb Simko – Chestnut Ridge TU: email@example.com
Kalp AMD Remediation Site, Indian Creek
This project was financed in part by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation and: