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In 2017, the New York City Council approved a zoning variance allowing the demolition of 28-acres of wetlands near Staten Island’s Graniteville neighborhood in order to build a BJ’s Wholesale grocery store, a gas station, and a parking lot for 835 cars. This action raised concern for the people living within this neighborhood due to the amount of water detention the wetlands provide during natural disaster events. Specifically, the Graniteville Wetlands have protected the surrounding neighborhoods from severe natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy which, in turn, has allowed these neighborhoods to contribute less to flood mitigation through infrastructure and insurance costs. In order to measure the environmental services that the Graniteville Wetlands provide, an economic valuation was conducted to monetarily estimate the implications of developing this land. This was done through an extensive literature review and data collection of water detention, geographical elevation, household proximity, population growth, and past natural event history in the Graniteville area, and the benefit of transfer method was used to assign monetary costs to the 28-acre wetland area. The results found that the Graniteville Wetlands can hold up to 28 million gallons of water, and the trees within the area can remove up to 180,000 gallons of water per day. This retention protects 1341 residencies in the surrounding area and approximately 4,023 people, and this equals around $4,923 in flood mitigation benefits per household every natural disaster event. In conclusion, the removal of the Graniteville Wetlands would equal high economic losses for the residents in surrounding areas.

Course: GEOG 454 – Conservation and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources

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Grand Forks, ND




Presented at the Spring 2022 UNDergraduate Showcase in Grand Forks, ND, May 5, 2022.

Evaluation of Staten Island's Wetland Services and Environmental Costs of Removal

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