The Independent Economic Analysis Board (IEAB) provides economic advice and analysis on issues related to the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. In this task, the IEAB provides an economic perspective on the future of the Fish and Wildlife Program (the Program) with specific recommendations. We suggest that, with better information, economics could be applied to achieve more at less cost. Economic considerations can help the region make the best use of limited resources while better protecting hydropower, water, fish, and wildlife assets.
Our recommendations are generally related to our charge to foster a cost-effective Program. Most recommendations are related to standardized achievement metrics, comparison of alternatives, and improved forecasting.
Economics requires forecasts of physical achievement metrics such as numbers or survival rates of fish or wildlife, or amount of power generation, flow, or habitat acreage. Several of our recommendations encourage better, standardized achievement metrics so that comparisons can be accomplished among more projects. Also, cost-effectiveness generally requires a comparison of common achievement metrics across alternatives. Sometimes, best plans are not selected because the best alternatives are not considered. Some of our recommendations encourage better project evaluation through consideration of a broader range of alternatives. Good planning requires, for each alternative, accurate forecasting of future conditions. We are concerned about how climate change and unforeseen costs could affect the efficiency of spending now and in the future.
We have provided fourteen recommendations below. Following each recommendation we provide a short explanation and description of the level of effort that might be required. We are unsure if the potential costs of these efforts would be money well spent. For now, we hope to encourage a dialog among stakeholders, scientists and planners regarding how to proceed.