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California's Central Valley Project (CVP) was approved by voters in a statewide referendum in 1933. CVP referendum approval initiated funding for construction of important water development projects that had far reaching effects on regional water supplies. The construction of Trinity Dam in 1963 and the subsequent transbasin diversion of Trinity River flow was one of several CVP projects that had noteworthy adverse environmental and regional economic impacts. The Trinity River is the largest tributary of the Klamath River, and has its headwaters in the Trinity Alps of north-central California. After the construction of Trinity Dam in 1963, 90% of the Trinity River flow at Lewiston was moved to the Sacramento River via the Clear Creek Tunnel. Before 1963, the Trinity River was a major recreation resource of Northern California. The loss of streamflow has had a marked adverse impact on Trinity River-related recreation activities and the size and robustness of Trinity River salmon, steelhead, shad, and sturgeon runs. Trinity River water produces hydropower during its transit via Bureau of Reclamation canals and pumps to the northern San Joaquin Valley, where it is used for irrigated agriculture. The benefits provided by Trinity River instream flow-related environmental amenities were estimated with the travel cost method (TCM). Trinity River non-market benefits are about $406 million per annum, while the social cost of sending water down the Trinity River ranges from $17 to $42 million per annum, depending on the exact flow. We also discuss the relative magnitude of Trinity River survey data contingent value method (CVM) benefits estimates.
Additional Publication Details
Riverine based eco-tourism: Trinity River non-market benefits estimates
International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology