For Oregon Department of Forestry, ECONorthwest led a benefit-cost analysis of options for developing a HCP that would cover threatened and endangered species across the forestland managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The analysis quantified the public and private costs associated with take avoidance and species surveys under a no-HCP option, and the costs and benefits of developing and administering an HCP. ECONorthwest worked closely with ICF’s team of biologists and planners, as well as ODF staff, to understand the habitat and species management actions under different options and translate them into economic terms. ECONorthwest and ICF are now working with ODF to develop the HCP, and compare the impacts of the HCP to impacts under other forest management actions the state might pursue.
This project is, to our knowledge, the first and most comprehensive effort undertaken to quantify the economic impacts of an HCP. It demonstrates elements of the approach we propose to bring to the current project, including establishing and quantifying the economic impacts of a no-action scenario and an HCP scenario, to understand how affected entities would respond to conditions and experience impacts in multiple states of the world. The ECONorthwest and ICF team’s partnership on this project shows how to accurately understand, translate, and integrate scientific data and findings into economic analysis. Finally, it demonstrates ECONorthwest’s leadership of this type of project for public entities, understanding the nuance and communication challenges inherent in exploring the impacts of public conservation policies.