Date of Award

5-2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Resource Economics and Policy

Advisor

Jonathan Rubin

Second Committee Member

Hsiang-Tai Cheng

Third Committee Member

Steve Kahl

Abstract

Burning fossil fuels releases sulfur and nitrogen oxides (Nox) into the atmosphere where they convert to sulfic and nitric acids. Deposition of these acids is now widely accepted as the major cause of environmental damage to forests, streams and lakes. The 19990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) require reduction in airborne sulfur and NOx, with an estimates cost of $2 billion. The purpose of this study is to place an economic value on the impact of acid rain on recreational fishing in Maine lakes. This thesis builds on the work of Englin et al. (1991) who evaluate damages to recreational trout fishing in the upper Northeast due to acidic depositions. In this study water and soil data from the Maine are re-calibrated to model and examine the effects of acid deposition in Maine's lakes. Anglers' economic well being is evaluated by analyzing the changes in catch rates due to a reduction in fish populations from acid deposition. The toxicity model as used in the 1990 NAPAP assessment is used to analyze the effects of acid rain on fish biota. Baker et al. (NAPAP, 19990) describe effects, estimation procedures, and expected results of acidification on lakes. The measure of acidification is the Acid Stress Index (ASI), which determines critical values of acidification in lakes. The AS1 is used as a reference level for determining the survival of fish in a given lake. These in turn are used to related catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) to biological fish abundance. Data from the 1994 Maine fishing Survey is used to determine catch rates of anglers in Maine lakes. CPUE is then regressed on angler characteristics, and the ASI. The regression results are used in a random utility model in order to place an economic value on fishing sites.

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