Entiat River Habitat Farming: Trading Fruit for Fish

Case Study

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Three Columbia River fish species have been enlisted as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Millions of dollars have been invested by government agencies, boards and conservation groups in an attempt to boost fish populations, but they have failed.

The Habitat Farming Enterprise Program may have a chance at accomplishing what the others could not. Fruit trees planted close to spawning fish have badly degraded the fish habitat. Replacing the fruit trees with a vegetative buffer zone could lower water temperatures and improve spawning habitat, leading to increased fish populations. Compensating the orchardists for these improvements and their lost income from reduced production could be accomplished in several ways. State licensing for fishing, payments from hydropower plants that kill 2 percent of the fish passing through their projects, and donors will to pay for "existence value."  

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As a research fellow at PERC, Brandon Scarborough focused on the use of water markets in the West to restore stream flows for wildlife, fish, and other environmental amenities. He also researched carbon sequestration and the efficacy of using forest management to address climate change. His other interests include the interactions between natural...
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Reed Watson is the executive director at PERC. His research focuses on the implementation of market-based solutions to natural resource conflicts focusing particularly on public lands, water, and wildlife issues. With Terry Anderson and Brandon Scarborough, he co-authored Tapping Water Markets (RFF Press, 2012).Watson holds a J.D. and M.A. in...
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