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Contingent Valuation/Recreational Values

This web site contains a collection of information for NRCS to use for contingent valuation of recreational activities for watershed planning and other NRCS economic purposes. The Unit Day Method is the most common method used for calculating recreational benefits for NRCS usage, but it is based on 1962 data which provided an average value of $1.00 per day, +/- some quality differences. That 1962 value was indexed to the 1982 values used in P&G by CPI, and these values should be in-turn be indexed to current values by current CPI.  The FY2019 Unit Day Values are:

Conversion of Points to Dollar Values (FY2019) (Jan to Jan CPI Index)

Specialized Recreation Values other than Fishing and Hunting








Conversion of Points to Dollar Values 2019  
Point Values General Recreation Values (1) General Fishing and Hunting Values (1) Specialized Fishing and Hunting Values (2) Specialized Recreation Values other than Fishing and Hunting (2)
0 $ 4.14 $ 5.95 $ 29.00 $ 16.83
10 $ 4.92 $ 6.73 $ 29.77 $ 17.86
20 $ 5.44 $ 7.25 $ 30.29 $ 19.16
30 $ 6.21 $ 8.03 $ 31.07 $ 20.71
40 $ 7.77 $ 8.80 $ 31.85 $ 22.01
50 $ 8.80 $ 9.58 $ 34.95 $ 24.86
60 $ 9.58 $ 10.62 $ 38.06 $ 27.44
70 $ 10.10 $ 11.13 $ 40.39 $ 33.14
80 $ 11.13 $ 11.91 $ 43.50 $ 38.58
90 $ 11.91 $ 12.17 $ 46.60 $ 44.02
100 $ 12.43 $ 12.43 $ 49.19 $ 49.19








The Unit Day Method can be used for insignificant recreational calculations for watershed analysis, but economists should note that the values obtained are highly conservative, averaging perhaps 20% of the current values from actual Recreational Economics studies using other methods. If the recreational benefits have any potential for affecting the selection of the NED or Recommended Plans, economists are highly advised to adopt applicable contingent valuation or travel costs methods.  While the cost and time requirements of obtaining actual survey data on specific proposed NRCS projects is often prohibitive, NRCS economists are encouraged to use the Benefit Transfer method  using the Recreational Use Values Database using 3,192 estimates in per person per activity day units, adjusted to 2016 USD.








Meta-analysis benefit transfer tools have been developed for estimating recreation and ecosystem services values for the U.S., primarily targeting US government agency use.  We hope that you will find these tools interesting and useful.


Other useful data and tools:


Lakeshore Property Values and Water Quality:



Reports and Journal Articles

  • Hussain, A., I. Munn, D. Holland, J. Armstrong, and S. Spurlock. 2012. Economic Impact of Wildlife-Associated Recreation Expenditures in the Southeast United States: A General Equilibrium Analysis. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 44.
  • Johnston, R.J., M.H. Ranson, E.Y. Besedin and E.C. Helm. 2006. ‘What Determines Willingness to Pay per Fish? A Meta-Analysis of Recreational Fishing Values,’ Marine Resource Economics, 21, 1-32<
  • Kelch, D., F. Lichtkoppler, B. Sohngen, and A. Daigneault. 2006. The value of steelhead (Onchorhynchus mykiss) angling in Lake Erie tributaries. Journal of Great Lakes Research 32:424-433.
  • Kim, H. N., W. D. Shaw, and R. T. Woodward. 2007. The distributional impacts of recreational fees: A discrete choice model with incomplete data. Land Economics 83:561-574.
  • Mahasuweerachai, P., T. A. Boyer, D. M. Balsman, and D. E. Shoup. 2010. Estimating Demand for Urban Fisheries Management: an Illustration of Conjoint Analysis as a Tool for Fisheries Managers. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 30:1339-1351.
  • McKean, J. R., D. Johnson, and R. G. Taylor. 2010. Willingness-to-pay for steelhead trout fishing: Implications of two-step consumer decisions with short-run endowments. Water Resources Research 46:W09523.
  • Munn, I. A., A. Hussain, S. Spurlock, and J. E. Henderson. 2010. Economic Impact of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation Expenditures on the Southeast US Regional Economy: An Input–Output Analysis. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 15:433-449. Keefe, D. M. and S. R. Miller. 2011. 2009 Michigan Charter Fishing Study.
  • Prado, B. E. 2006. Economic valuation of the Lower Illinois trout fishery in Oklahoma under current and hypothetical management plans. Oklahoma State University.
  • Robbins, J. L. and L. Y. Lewis. 2008. Demolish it and They Will Come: Estimating the Economic Impacts of Restoring a Recreational Fishery. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association 44:1488-1499.
  • Taylor, R. G., J. R. McKean, and D. Johnson. 2010. Measuring the location value of a recreation site. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 35:87.
  • Timmins, C. and J. Murdock. 2007. A revealed preference approach to the measurement of congestion in travel cost models. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 53:230-249.