Research Seminar Series: Quantifying the Social Benefits and Costs of Reducing Phosphorus Loading Under Climate Change

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Online - Registration required

Speaker: Jesse Gourevitch, University of Vermont PhD graduate and current postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania

Register for the online Zoom option: 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event will be virtual.

This October 2021 seminar was recorded and can be viewed online.

To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in any of these programs, please contact Lake Champlain Sea Grant / Julianna White at 802-777-7017 or seagrant [at] no later than three weeks before your chosen date so we can assist you.

Excess phosphorus loading to Lake Champlain has led to increasing frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms, negatively impacting economic activity and human health in the surrounding region. While interventions to improve water quality can create large societal benefits, these investments are costly and the value of benefits is often unknown. Researchers quantified the social benefits and costs of improving water quality in Missisquoi Bay under a range of phosphorus reduction and climate change scenarios between 2016 and 2050. He found that under the most aggressive phosphorus reduction scenario, the total benefits of improved water quality are $55 to $60 million between 2016 and 2050. Over this 35-year time horizon, the combined benefits do not outweigh the costs under any scenario. If the time horizon is extended to 2100 or beyond, however, the benefits may exceed the costs if the applied discount rate is less than 3%. Despite uncertainty in these estimates, the study provides a tractable framework for disentangling the complex relationships between water quality and human well-being, and illuminates the value of reductions in phosphorus loading to society. Read the article in the Journal of Environmental Management.

Jesse Gourevitch recently graduated from the University of Vermont Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources with a PhD in natural resources and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow with the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at University of California-Davis. His research aims to understand the relationships among climate and land use change, ecological and hydrological processes, and economic and human health outcomes. For his dissertation, Jesse focused on assessing how the impacts of policies and practices designed to improve water quality and reduce flood risk are distributed among demographic and socioeconomic groups in Vermont’s Lake Champlain Basin.

Participants should expect approximately 30 minutes of presentation, which will be recorded, followed by a facilitated, 30-minute Q&A period.

This seminar is part of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Seminar Series.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.