Springs are extremely important for the state of Florida. They provide vast natural, recreational, and economic values. They also provide scientific value and offer critical habitats for plants and animals, including endangered or threatened species. Last Water Wednesdays, we discussed the economic value of Florida Springs.
The word “value” has many meanings. Economists measure the value of ecosystem services in dollar terms to assist management decisions concerning natural resources. A monetary value can help an ecosystem manager compare management plans and choose a program that generates the highest value per dollar spent. Meanwhile, the monetary value of ecosystem services can also help decision makers justify their environmental management decisions that may require significant investments by stakeholders and the public. However, ecosystem services are not bought and sold in markets, so their economic value can only be estimated using special valuation methods.
Every year, millions of people visit our state’s springs for recreation and employment. Take the springs in our state parks as an example. In 2019, more than 3.9 million people visit the springs in Florida’s state parks. They spent over $350 million in local economies and supported 4,885 jobs.
Watch the video to learn more about the economic value of Florida’s springs.