Technology adoption and mitigation of invasive species damage and risk: application to zebra mussels

Adams, Damian; Lee, Donna
April 2012
Journal of Bioeconomics;Apr2012, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p21
Academic Journal
Using a bio-economic model of zebra mussels ( Dreissena polymorpha), we examine the expected economic value of prevention, control and eradication alternatives for the freshwater mussel in Lake Okeechobee (Florida, USA). We include two emerging technologies for zebra mussel (ZM) control: (1) a natural pesticide called Zequanox, and (2) hot wash stations at boat ramps. We employ water management district data, user data collected via a phone survey, and mitigation expenditures from infested locations elsewhere to estimate the potential damage from the introduction of zebra mussels in Florida. Methods used include static cost transfer estimation, econometric cost estimation, and stochastic-dynamic simulation. We use our bio-economic model to compare costs and risks with and without the emerging technologies. We also consider the impact of technology adoption rates by anglers, management policy efficacy, and opportunity costs associated with ZM control. Results indicate that, without investment in prevention, there is a very high probability that Florida waterways will be infested with zebra mussels by year 2025, and expected environmental damages and management costs are high. Slow response due to poor detection methods or insufficient control efforts will lead to a moderate probability of a significant infestation. Rapid reaction and enhanced prevention efforts are expected to greatly reduce the probability of ZM infesting Lake Okeechobee by 2025, and to generate much higher expected net benefits.


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