The Economic Benefits of Protecting Healthy Watersheds

an excerpt-

Healthy intact watersheds provide many ecosystem services that are necessary for our social and

economic well-being. These services include water filtration and storage, air filtration, carbon storage,
nutrient cycling, soil formation, recreation, food and timber. Many of these services have not been
monetized and therefore the economic contributions of healthy intact ecosystems are often under-valued

when making land use decisions. Ecosystem services provided by healthy watersheds are difficult to
replace and most often very expensive to engineer (see chart). An engineered ecosystem service
replacement may only provide a fraction of the services provided by highly functioning natural


Preventing impairments in healthy watersheds protects valuable ecosystem services that provide
economic benefits to society and prevent expensive replacement and restoration costs. Maintaining
riparian connectivity and natural processes in the landscape provide a supporting network for

ecological integrity, ensuring the sustainable and cost effective provision of clean water over time.

Please see the 4 page factsheet for all the details

EPA 841-N-12-004