Socioeconomic Monitoring: The Human Community
A unique component of the Middle Fork IMW is the inclusion of social and economic indicators as an additional measure of restoration and monitoring success. While the fundamental purpose of habitat restoration is to improve conditions for fish and wildlife, there is a growing interest in understanding how restoration and monitoring projects affect the communities where the projects take place. National research, including this paper, has shown that habitat restoration creates an average of 17 jobs for every $1 million invested. That rate of job creation is significantly higher than other industries, including coal, natural gas, or road and bridge construction.
Researchers from the University of Oregon worked closely with the Middle Fork community to develop a plan to track how restoration activity affects socioeconomic conditions in Grant County. Here are just a couple of the results they’ve found so far:
• In 2008, 14 contracts were awarded for habitat restoration work in the Middle Fork watershed. Of the 12 different contracting firms that worked on these contracts, just 3 were local, but 62% of the nearly $1 million awarded was spent locally. These contracts provided jobs to 17 individuals from Grant County.
• In 2009, organizations involved with the IMW provided 59 full time restoration-related jobs in Grant County. That is a 40% increase compared to how many full time jobs those same organizations provided in Grant County in 2000.
To learn more, check out the study plan and initial data for the socioeconomic study.