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GVSU study: Huron River contributes $78.6 million to southeast region annually

  • Grand Valley State University and the Huron River Watershed Council teamed together to research the economic impact and value of the Huron River.

Posted on October 26, 2017

Grand Valley State University and the Huron River Watershed Council teamed together to research the economic impact and value of the Huron River and the 104-mile Huron River National Water Trail that flows through a five-county region in southeast Michigan.

Grand Valley researchers included Paul Isely, professor of economics and associate dean in the Seidman College of Business; Erik Nordman, associate professor of biology; and Christian Glupker, affiliate professor of economics.

"Without quantifying the value of natural resources, too often the value is set at zero," said Isely. "This study will help people in the Huron River Watershed make informed decisions about its usage.” 

The Huron River supports recreation, tourism, and business activities that generate jobs and substantial income to the local economy. 

Isely said a healthy, clean Huron River increases the value of the properties along its banks and provides environmental benefits to residents. Those benefits include clean water for drinking, wetlands and floodplains that prevent flooding, and forested riverbanks that foster rich fisheries and healthy streams.

The study's key findings are that the Huron River and the Huron River National Water Trail contribute:

• $53.5 million in annual economic output from visitors (includes direct, indirect and induced spending)

• 641 local jobs added to the region

• $628 million in added property value

• $150 million in annual environmental value

• $78.6 million in annual economic activity

• 2.6 million visitor days

Elizabeth Riggs, Huron River Watershed Council deputy director, said: "The river corridor directly serves the 650,000 residents of the Huron River watershed and is a recreational and tourist destination for the nearly four million residents of the region. As such, the Huron River is a vital economic driver for Southeast Michigan and the communities through which it flows." 

The full 72-page report, “The Economic Impact of the Huron River” is available at www.hrwc.org/publications/economicimpactofthehuronriver/

For more information, contact Paul Isely at (616) 331-7418 and Elizabeth Riggs, Huron River Watershed Council, at (734) 769-5123.