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Title: A Comparison of Alternative Strategies for Cost-Effective Water Quality Management in Lakes
Author: Kramer, Daniel Boyd; Polasky, Stephen; Starfield, Anthony; Palik, Brian; Westphal, Lynn; Snyder, Stephanie; Jakes, Pamela; Hudson, Rachel; Gustafson, Eric
Publication: Environmental Management Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 411-425
Key Words: Water quality, cost effectiveness, septic systems, riparian buffers
Abstract: Roughly 45% of the assessed lakes in the United States are impaired for one or more reasons. Eutrophication due to excess phosphorus loading is common in many impaired lakes. Various strategies are available to lake residents for addressing declining lake water quality, including septic system upgrades and establishing riparian buffers. This study examines 25 lakes to determine whether septic upgrades or riparian buffers are a more cost-effective strategy to meet a phosphorus reduction target. We find that riparian buffers are the more cost-effective strategy in every case but one. Large transaction costs associated with the negotiation and monitoring of riparian buffers, however, may be prohibiting lake residents from implementing the most cost-effective strategy.
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