Benefit-cost analysis of the Windara shellfish reef restoration project

Windara Reef is the largest underwater marine habitat restoration attempt made in Australia to construct a native oyster reef. There has been wide-scale loss of shellfish habitats globally, and they are functionally extinct in many parts of Australia including South Australia where the Windara construction is located. Restoration is therefore important for the survival of these habitats, but requires significant financial investment. To justify investments of this nature, it is important to identify the economic benefits and costs of restoration projects, and wherever possible to ensure that these assessments include as many of the non-market values as possible.

Using benefit-cost analysis, we have undertaken an integrated economic assessment of the viability of the Stage Two 16ha restoration project led by The Nature Conservancy. This analysis was inclusive of the tangible, market-based outcomes of the project and also the intangible, non-market social and environmental outcomes. Specifically, the following costs and benefits were included in the analysis:

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