Spatial asynchrony in environmental and economic benefits of stream restoration

Ruoyu Zhang, David Newburn, Andrew Rosenberg, Laurence Lin, Peter Groffman, Jonathan Duncan, Lawrence Band

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Stream restoration is widely used to mitigate the degradation of urban stream channels, protect infrastructure, and reduce sediment and nutrient loadings to receiving waterbodies. Stabilizing and revegetating riparian areas can also provide recreational opportunities and amenities, and improve quality of life for nearby residents. In this project, we developed indices of an environmental benefit (potential nitrate load reduction, a priority in the Chesapeake Bay watershed) and economic benefit (household willingness to pay, WTP) of stream restoration for all low order stream reaches in three main watersheds in the Baltimore metro region. We found spatial asynchrony of these benefits such that their spatial patterns were negatively correlated. Stream restoration in denser urban, less wealthy neighborhoods have high WTP, but low potential nitrate load reduction, while suburban and exurban, wealthy neighborhoods have the reverse trend. The spatial asynchrony raises challenges for decision makers to balance economic efficiency, social equity, and specific environmental goals of stream restoration programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054004
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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