Effects of Hydropower Operations on Recreational Use and Nonuse Values at Glen Canyon and Flaming Gorge Dams

J. L. Carlson



Increases in streamflows are generally positively related to the use values of angling and white-water boating, and constant flows tend to increase the use values more than fluctuating flows. In most instances, however, increases instreamflows beyond some threshold level cause the use values to decrease. Expenditures related to angling and white-water boating account for about $24 million of activity in the local economy around Glen Canyon Dam and $24.8 million in the local economy around Flaming Gorge Dam. The range of operational scenarios being considered in the Western Area Power Administration's Electric Power Marketing Environmental Impact Statement, when use rates are held constant, could change the combined use value of angling and white-water boating below Glen Canyon Dam, increasing it by as much as 50%, depending on prevailing hydrological conditions. Changes in the combined use value below Flaming Gorge Dam could range from a decrease of 9% to an increase of 26%. Nonuse values, such as existence and bequest values, could also make a significant contribution to the total value of each site included in this study; however, methodological and data limitations prevented estimating how each operational scenario could change nonuse values.