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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Benefits and Costs Associated with Wildlife Services Activities in California


This paper presents a general summary of an economic assessment of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Wildlife Services (WS) Program in California (CA). Detailed analyses quantified WS economic benefits to each of the 38 counties that contributed cooperative funds in 2004, with an aggregate report of county results used to form an overall statewide estimate of the Program’s value. Four general categories of wildlife damage management activities were: Agriculture, Health and Human Safety, Natural Resources, and Property. Two general methods of determining economic valuation were employed to quantify benefits: replacement-cost method, and damage-avoided method. Results showed that the protection of livestock, particularly sheep, cattle, and goats, from predation was a main activity of WS–CA personnel in each of the cooperating counties. Annual estimated replacement costs for WS–CA operations for Year 1 and Year 2 of the analysis (i.e., approximately equivalent to fiscal years 2003 and 2004, respectively) totaled $6,605,234 and $8,602,590 for the combined counties, respectively. Mean replacement costs for WS operations in the cooperating counties in Year 1 and Year 2 equaled $173,821.95 and $226,373.13, respectively. Given that the counties paid an average $51,798.10 share to WS–CA in 2003, the counties would have incurred averaged net increased expenses of $122,023.85 and $174,575.03 for similar services offered by commercial wildlife damage management companies.

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