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WWRC 87-19
A Study of the Value of Recreation and Impact of Eutrophication on Recreational Activity at Flaming Gorge Reservoir--1987


This paper presents the results of a second survey of the impact of eutrophication on recreational activity at Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The original survey was conducted during the months of April through September, 1986. The results of that survey have been presented in Oster et al (1987). The second survey was conducted during August and September, 1987.

The motivation for conducting another survey was that 1986 was not a typical year for eutrophication in Flaming Gorge Reservoir due to the draining of Fontenelle Reservoir. Fontenelle Reservoir, located approximately 60 miles upstream from Flaming Gorge, was drained during 1985 and has been kept at reduced levels since that time. The draining of Fontenelle increased the nutrient load of Flaming Gorge in 1986 which contributed to the largest algal bloom in the reservoir since 1978 (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 1987). Also, the added inflow from the draining resulted in the bloom appearing further south in the reservoir than normal. Eutrophication is generally concentrated in the Inflow area of the reservoir.

The purpose of a second survey was to determine if the abnormal algal bloom in 1986 affected the results of the earlier study. In particular, it is important to know whether there were significant changes between the 1986 and 1987 surveys in visitor use patterns and the responses of individuals to questions regarding the impact of algae on their recreational activity at Flaming Gorge. If the economic analysis performed in the original study should serve as a guideline for any decisions regarding control measures for eutrophication in Flaming Gorge, it is important that the benefit and loss estimates be as accurate as possible. Visitor use data and information on the impact of algae on recreational activity are key components in the calculation of the benefit and loss estimates.

The 1987 survey also included questions relating to various management issues of concern to agencies responsible for the operation of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Questions regarding the Lake trout fishery, facilities on the reservoir, the impact of algae on catfish and bass fishing, and whether recreationists would favor control measures for eutrophication at the expense of decreased fishery productivity were asked. The questions were asked for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Wyoming Game and Fish Depart- ment, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation respectively. The results of these questions will also be presented in this paper.

The reasons for measuring the impact of eutrophication on recreation at Flaming Gorge as well as the framework for the economic analysis have already been presented in Oster et al (1987) and will not be repeated here. This paper will only provide a brief summary and analysis of the results of the 1987 survey. However, the results of the questions regarding the various management issues for Flaming Gorge can only serve as an information base for agencies in any decision-making processes as it is beyond the scope of this study to suggest any implications of the responses to these questions.

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