How Nutria Affect us
In a 2004 economic study commissioned by the Maryland DNR, Southwick Associates reported that, without decisive action, more than 35,000 acres of Chesapeake Bay marshes could be destroyed by nutria in 50 years. The impacts of this to the Maryland economy would be dire, with losses exceeding 35 million dollars annually. Maryland watermen will be hardest hit, with lost productivity and lost jobs for this already economically embattled sector.
The Southwick report brings home the economic cost to the citizens of Maryland and the entire Chesapeake Bay in the form of dollar losses to commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, hunting, wildlife viewing, and related industries. Damage to ecological services provided by healthy wetlands, such as storm protection, flood control, and water purification, will make the overall damage even worse than the economic findings indicate. It shows that it is imperative that we get a handle on this situation before more marshland is destroyed because the economy of the Chesapeake Bay is so closely tied to the ecological health of the Bay.
October 18, 2011