What is a River Worth?

The Value Systems of Humanity and Nature Applied to Rivers and Streams

In this workshop we explored the way that people value rivers and streams and compared it to nature’s value system. Energy Systems Theory (EST) was used to help understand rivers as systems and the way that nature values them. The human perspective on value was discussed and the concept of ecosystem services applied to river systems. The EST concepts, emergy and transformity were explained and used as the basis for an accounting system that can value the products of the environment, the economy, and society on an equal basis as solar equivalent joules. Finally, we explored this new environmental accounting system as a method for ensuring that all human enterprises are operating in a sustainable manner.

Before the workshop:
Before participating in the workshop, participants were asked to: (1) have a river system in mind; (2) formulate a research question about the river and/or its value to society; (3) review information on the river to obtain a basic understanding of the system chosen; and (4) bring a laptop computer and/or a pencil, paper and a large eraser. In Session Four, those with computers shared with those who did not have one.

Round One
8:30 – 8:40 AM. Introductions and logistics.
8:40 – 9:20 AM Session 1. Energy Systems Theory, the Energy Systems Language and Diagramming.
9:20 – 10:00 AM Session 2. Valuation Methods: Ecosystem Services vs. Environmental Accounting.

10:00 – 10:30 AM BREAK

10:30 – 11:00 AM Session 3. Emergy Evaluation of Rivers: Several examples will be presented.
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Session 4. Diagramming and Modeling a River System.

The 60-minute session included a short demonstration of how to create a simple model of a river on an Excel Spreadsheet. After the demonstration, participants applied what they learned by diagramming the river system of their choice. Where time was available, participants worked in small groups using the available computers to create and explore the model shown in the demonstration using Excel.

Round Two
1:30 – 1:40 PM. Introductions and logistics.
1:40 – 2:20 PM Session 1. Energy Systems Theory, the Energy Systems Language and Diagramming.
2:20 – 3:00 PM Session 2. Valuation Methods: Ecosystem Services vs. Environmental Accounting.

3:00 – 3:30 PM BREAK

3:30- 4:00 PM Session 3. Emergy Evaluation of Rivers: Several examples will be presented.
4:00- 5:00 PM Session 4. Diagramming and/or Modeling a River System.

The 60-minute session included a short demonstration of how to create a simple model of a river on an Excel Spreadsheet. After the demonstration, participants applied what they learned by diagramming the river system of their choice. Where time was available, participants worked in small groups using the available computers to create and explore the model shown in the demonstration using Excel.

A Brief Biography

Daniel E. Campbell was born in Richmond VA on December 26, 1947. Campbell majored in Biology at the Virginia Military Institute, where he wore academic stars in his junior year and graduated with honors in 1970. He was awarded a M.S. in Oceanography in 1977 from Old Dominion University and graduated from the University of Florida in 1984 with a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Sciences. H.T. Odum was his mentor during almost 8 years of study at U.F. Campbell accepted a Postdoctoral appointment at the University of Maine, Orono and subsequently he became an employee of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. During this time, Campbell developed mathematical models to help understand the environmental effects of developing Fundy tidal power and to predict the recruitment of herring along the Maine coast. He developed a model of the factors determining the timing of the spring bloom in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and the fate of carbon fixed during the bloom. In another paper, he examined the GOM and how it functions drawing a parallel with the functioning of an estuary. Also, he developed a model to test fisheries management strategies using data on the GOM redfish fishery. Shortly before leaving Maine in 1990, he developed a model to describe mussel growth on bottom culture lease sites while working for the Great Eastern Mussel Company.
Campbell was a research associate at the University of Rhode Island for over 4 years, where he worked on a research grant supporting the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program of the USEPA. In 1995, he became an employee of the USEPA and he has worked at the Atlantic Ecology Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development in Narragansett, RI since that time. During his time working for the USEPA, Campbell has developed ideas for using ecological integrity and ecosystem health as goal functions for judging the state of the environment; he has published several papers on sustainability discussing its theoretical basis as well as performing studies to evaluate the sustainability of regional systems. He has used Energy Systems Theory and environmental accounting using emergy in his work on developing a comprehensive accounting system for the environment, economy, and society. The bottom line of the balance sheets created using this approach is a direct reading of the sustainability of any human enterprise. Recently, he has been involved in research to assess the benefits to society provided by coral reef ecosystems. Campbell is an international expert traveling to China, Italy, and Mexico to talk about his work and to interact with researchers. He has published 33 papers in peer-reviewed journals and served as an editor for 5 books. In addition, he has been an author of three USEPA Project Reports, as well as, book chapters, encyclopedia articles, and book reports.

Resources

USEPA Emergy Short Course and introductory documents
University of Florida emergy materials and library
 
International Society for the Advancement of Emergy Research web page
 
Link to two page description of emergy.
 
USEPA Minnesota Report
 
USEPA West Virginia Report

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