How does the social benefit and economic expenditures generated by a rural beach compare with its sediment replacement cost?
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When a beach is lost, society has to make a decision as to whether it is worth the effort to replace it. The objective of this study was to compare the social benefits and expenditures generated by a rural beach with the cost to replace the entirety of its sediment. To identify the potential social benefits to users on a Matagorda, Texas beach, we used survey questionnaires to determine user demographic characteristics, social perspectives and opinions. We found that users preferred leaving wrack on the beach in its natural state and keeping it family-friendly. These preferences suggested that they visit this beach over other beaches on the Upper Texas Coast, at least partially because of its rural nature. To identify expenditures generated by the beach, we queried users in terms of their spending and travel habits. We found the average beach use expenditure to be $1201 per person per year (in 2010 US Dollars). The average values were lowest for those surveyed during the 'Off Season' (winter) at $665 and highest during 'Spring Break' at $1647. We then calculated the cost of nearby restoration projects, to assess the potential cost of replacing the sediment along the same extent of beach, a value on the order of 2 million dollars. For user expenditures to exceed this replacement cost, there would need to be approximately 15 times more individuals visiting the study site beach than we had surveyed, a number easily exceeded in a single year. We conclude that the expenditures generated by this rural beach well exceed its replacement cost. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
author list (cited authors)
Feagin, R. A., Williams, A. M., Martínez, M. L., & Pérez-Maqueo, O.