Dam removal increases property values

April 17, 2008

Two new studies appearing in Contemporary Economic Policy explore the impact of dam removal on local property values and find that property values increase after dams are removed.

Lynne Y. Lewis, Ph.D., of Bates College and researchers utilized geographic information systems mapping software to examine the effects of small hydropower dams on property values in Maine. The study examined the effects on property values of the Edwards dam in Augusta which was removed in 1999, as well as two other existing dams located elsewhere on the Kennebec River.

The study found that there is a penalty for being near the dam sites. Properties near the dams have lower value than properties further away. However, this penalty has shrunk substantially since the removal of Edwards Dam. The penalty for being close to the two existing dams is approximately three times larger than the penalty for being close to the site of the former Edwards Dam.

Removal of the Edwards dam has also had significant positive effects on fisheries and recreational value of the Kennebec River. Since its removal, commercially important fish have returned to the river above the dam site. Recreation on the river including fly fishing, canoeing, and kayaking has also increased.

A study led by Bill Provencher, Ph.D. of the University of Wisconsin-Madison also examined the impact of small dam removal on property values. His work focused on small dam removal in south-central Wisconsin. The study applied statistical techniques to market sales data to determine the relative contribution to property values. The results are quite similar to those found by Lewis. Residential property by a river but not by a dam is more valuable than identical property located by a dam.

“Hundreds of small dams are scheduled to come up for relicensing over the next few decades” Lewis writes. “As this occurs, evaluating the impacts with and without the dam will become increasingly important.”

Source: Wiley

Explore further: The losses that come after the earthquake: Devastating and costly

Related Stories

Dams -- what goes up must come down, and then what?

November 7, 2011

Time can take its toll on a dam. As dams age, they are more costly to repair and the risk of a catastrophic dam break increases--putting property and lives at risk. But, removing them can mean big changes to the community, ...

Officials watching 'high risk' dams after Houston storms

April 20, 2016

Two aging dams deemed "extremely high risk" by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are at record pooling levels in Houston's west side after this week's torrential rainfall, but are working well and have undergone improvements ...

Better dam planning strategies

January 7, 2015

When dams are built they have an impact not only on the flow of water in the river, but also on the people who live downstream and on the surrounding ecosystems. By placing data from close to 6,500 existing large dams on ...

Recommended for you

New paper answers causation conundrum

November 17, 2017

In a new paper published in a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, SFI Professor Jessica Flack offers a practical answer to one of the most significant, and most confused questions in evolutionary ...

Chance discovery of forgotten 1960s 'preprint' experiment

November 16, 2017

For years, scientists have complained that it can take months or even years for a scientific discovery to be published, because of the slowness of peer review. To cut through this problem, researchers in physics and mathematics ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.