U. S. Department of Agriculture
Proceedings of the First Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds
Urban streams are used for several purposes. Some uses are conflicting and some are complementary. The use of urban water bodies and the resolution of conflicts is driven by anthropogenic and biocentric/ecocentric interests that must be optimized and the conflicts resolved. This article examines and analyzes land ethics (biocentric) and socio-economic (anthropocentric) drives for stream restoration of urban watersheds located in the Milwaukee (WI) metropolitan area. The basins experienced increased flooding, significant degradation of sediment and water quality, and loss of aquatic species, all due to urbanization. It was found that the primary drivers for restoration of urban streams are the ethical attitudes of population towards the ecocentric benefits of restoration in combination with a desire for flood control. A Contingent Valuation Survey of citizens residing in two Milwaukee watersheds revealed that those who see the watershed in ecocentric terms appear to have a greater Willingness to Pay for watershed/water body improvements than those who see the benefits solely in anthropogenic terms of reduction of flood damages.