Chesapeake Bay Economics Focus of New TRCP Report
Outdoor recreation, natural resources generate billions of dollars, sustain local economies throughout Delaware, Maryland and Virginia
WASHINGTON – Outdoor recreation in coastal areas of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia drives an economy valued at close to $4 billion per year and supports tens of thousands of jobs, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership disclosed in a report released today.
“The Economics Associated with Natural Areas in the Delmarva Peninsula” analyzes the importance of outdoor recreation, as well as agriculture, commercial fishing and ecosystem services, on the Delmarva Peninsula and related to the Chesapeake Bay.
Highlights from the report include the following statistics:
• Outdoor recreationists such as boaters, hunters, anglers and cyclists annually spend $3.9 billion enjoying the Delmarva’s natural areas and support more than 27,900 jobs.
• Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching on the Delmarva draw 1.6 million participants who spend more than $1.5 billion annually.
• Recreational boating contributes more than $1.3 billion in annual sales and supports 11,000-plus jobs that pay wages of more than $400 million. The region boasts 127,000 registered boats.
• Intact natural areas can increase adjacent home values by approximately 20 percent.
• The value of commercial fishing in the Chesapeake Bay as a whole is more than $300 million annually.
“The Delmarva Peninsula is a place where outdoor traditions run strong,” said Director of the TRCP Center for Agricultural and Private Lands Steve Kline, who runs the TRCP’s Chesapeake Bay initiative. “Waterfowl hunting in the fall and early winter gives way to spring gobbler hunting and fishing in the spring and summer, with hiking, cycling, camping and boating available virtually year round.”
The Delmarva Peninsula, which consists of the state of Delaware and the portions of Maryland and Virginia on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, serves as a recreational hub for major metropolitan areas such as Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Conducted by Southwick Associates, the TRCP report concludes that hunting and angling are critical economic engines and that, consequently, conserving key fish and wildlife habitat and enhancing public access are important to sustaining and growing regional economies.
“While decision makers can easily take these economic sectors for granted, the Delmarva’s outdoor recreation economy is inextricably linked to clean water, clean air, quality fish and wildlife habitat and public access,” asserted Kline, a seventh generation Marylander who lives on the Chesapeake’s Eastern Shore. “This report documents the precise impacts sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts have on the economies of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and can help ensure that our leaders actively sustain and enhance this outdoors-based economy.”
State leaders and business owners are speaking out in support of conserving the Chesapeake Bay’s natural resources and upholding the economic benefits they provide:
Delaware Senator Chris Coons:
“Delaware is fortunate to have such a vibrant agricultural sector and natural resource base. These resources not only have conservation and intrinsic values but serve as some of the strongest pillars of our economy. Agricultural production, hunting, fishing, camping, biking, boating and other forms of outdoor recreation contribute billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the First State. Our rural and natural heritages are incredibly important to our state and the region, and we must do what we can to conserve them.”
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin:
“The Chesapeake Bay is the economic, historic and cultural center of our region and the heart of Maryland. The Chesapeake remains one of the most ecologically diverse watersheds in the world, supporting commercial fishing, a thriving tourism industry and productive farm lands while contributing millions of dollars to Maryland’s economy. An investment in conservation, including in the remarkable natural regions surrounding the Bay, is an investment in the health and prosperity of our Maryland communities.”
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell:
“For hundreds of years people have depended on the abundant wildlife and natural resources of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Today’s anglers, boaters, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts who call this rich and diverse area of the Old Dominion home help to fuel millions of dollars to the state’s revenue, create thousands of jobs and attract visitors from out of state eager to experience the best that the outdoors has to offer. Valuable resources such as these are worth protecting and will continue to improve the standard of living for all of Virginia’s citizens and visitors while greatly contributing to the economic health of the Commonwealth.”
Ed Kurowski, president of Gratitude Yachting Center in Rock Hall, Md.:
“Boating is a way of life on the Chesapeake Bay. This spring, as boaters around the Delmarva hit the water, we must remember that boating contributes billions to the regional economy. And whether they be recreational anglers or competitive sailors, boaters expect clean water, scenic vistas and healthy shorelines. Common-sense conservation and the boating economy go hand in hand, and businesses like Gratitude Yachting Center have a stake in ensuring that the Delmarva’s lands, waters, fish and wildlife are responsibly managed and sustained in the future.”
Brandon White, chief angler of Lateral Line, a performance fishing clothing company based in Easton, Md.:
“The impact of recreational fishing on the Delmarva Peninsula is tremendous. Anglers stay in hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts; fill their tanks in their boats and trucks; eat at local restaurants; buy fishing tackle at local shops and hire guides to put them on the fish – all of this employing people across the region. Conservation and sound fisheries management isn’t just about the future of the resource; it holds the key to thousands of livelihoods and all of our identities.”
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.