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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Larry L. Janssen


The primary objective of this study is to estimate economic and environmental benefits due to adoption of conservation practices in the form of sediment reduction at the Lower Bad River Basin of South Dakota. The main focus is to examine the effect of adopting specific sets of conservation practices (prescribed grazing, windbreak structure, upland wildlife habitat and riparian management) on sediment reduction. The sources of cost data are BRWQ (Bad River Water Quality) project Phase II and Phase III final reports during 1990 to 2004 for Best Management Practices (BMP) in the Bad River Basin. The other major sources of sediment data are USGS (United States Geological Survey) water data of the Bad River during 1972 through 2012. To quantify the benefit of sediment reduction, we multiply the amount of sediment reduction changes in sediment per-ton with the dollar value per-ton of sediment reduction for 14 categories of soil conservation benefits taken from Hansen and Ribaudo (2008). Finally, this paper estimates the benefit –cost ratio from benefit data and costs data incurred during different phases of the Bad River projects. The benefit values in two scenarios exceed total project related costs. We can conclude that, as benefit values exceed cost values, the BRWQ is a worthwhile project.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 55-56).



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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