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Ponds provide ecological, economic, and aesthetic benefits to Cape Cod. The value of ponds, lakes, and their ecosystems extends below the water’s surface and beyond the pond’s shoreline. They attract tourists and make Cape Cod a desirable place to live for year-round and seasonal residents. Ponds and lakes are valuable components of the region’s environment and community well-being; consequently, it is the community’s responsibility to protect and restore them.  

While we know that ponds are deeply important to the Cape’s identity, environment, and economy, an economic analysis is being conducted as part of the Freshwater Initiative to better understand the value of ponds on Cape Cod. The analysis will be based on a holistic assessment and estimation of the costs and benefits of pond management strategies, including the cost of no action and the impacts of degraded freshwater quality on the regional economy. Eastern Research Group (ERG) was contracted in February 2023 to perform the multi-phase analysis that will be completed by 2024.  


Goals of the Freshwater Initiative’s Economic Analysis 

Understand the Economic Impact of Cape Cod’s Freshwater Ponds 
An economic impact study will assess spending by residents, non-resident owners, and tourists related to freshwater activities and their ripple effects on the local economy. This study will use freshwater visitor data, spending, and cellphone data to quantify the direct and indirect economic benefits ponds provide to the region. 

ERG staff will be visiting a subset of freshwater ponds across the region from May through October 2023 to conduct field counts and brief surveys. Data collected will be used to inform the economic impact study. 

Explore the Economic Impacts of Degraded Freshwater Quality on Cape Cod’s Economy 
Using a baseline understanding of the potential economic values for Cape Cod ponds, this study will assess the connection of freshwater ponds to property value, as well the public’s willingness to pay for water quality improvement. 

Compare Costs of Improvement and Potential Benefits 
Incorporating data from the studies above, this study will compare costs and benefits of numerous pond remediation strategies available to improve and protect the region’s freshwater quality. 

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