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Abstract

The objective of this research is to value soil conservation's impact on reservoirs. Using a model based on replacement cost, we estimate the benefits gained by marginal decreases in soil erosion for more than 75,000 reservoirs across the contiguous States. We aggregate benefits across the reservoirs within each of the 2,111 U.S watersheds in order to produce regional benefit estimates. Results show that a one-ton reduction in soil erosion provides benefits ranging from zero to $1.67. Our estimated model can be used to assess conservation benefits. For example, the lower level of soil erosion in 1997, relative to the 1982 level, preserved $139 million in reservoir benefits.

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