When we measure the value of Sabino Creek as we would other community assets, such as a bridge or building, we found Sabino Creek has a net value of $146 million – $230 million over a 100-year lifespan! This staggering number was determined by a recent economic analysis conducted by Seattle-based nonprofit Earth Economics in partnership with WMG.
The analysis showed that, by a conservative estimate, Sabino Creek provides $1.4 million – $2.1 million in “ecosystem service” benefits to the Tucson economy each year. This figure is based on the value of the goods and services Sabino Creek provides—clean water and air, urban heat island mitigation, outdoor recreation, and flood control. Amazingly, these services are provided to us free of charge if we properly care for the Sabino watershed.
The economic valuation of Sabino Creek is another tool in our toolbox to build a broad coalition of support for restoring flow to Tucson’s rivers. Economics provides a common language to talk about the value of our natural places and help garner support for protecting these jewels.