Exploring The Economic Impact Of Conservation | Texas Public Radio

Exploring The Economic Impact Of Conservation

May 19, 2016

“If you can’t cook ‘em, eat ‘em, or shoot ‘em, what the heck good are they?” was the subtext of a panel discussion held on the campus of Texas Tech University-Junction on May 18, 2016. The Golden-cheeked Warbler, several species of mussels, and Monarch butterflies were all brought up in the context of conservation and concerns over development in the Texas Hill Country.

“What if we didn’t have the Endangered Species Act?” Dr. Tom Arsuffi asked at one point. “What would happen? Somebody has done a study, and there would be an 18% decline in the global economic output by the year 2050.” Arsuffi drew direct lines between conservation and economic development. “The benefits [of conservation] outweigh the costs one hundred fold,” he added.

Arsuffi cited Robert Costanza’s 2014 study that estimates global ecosystem services at $125 trillion per year.

In the audio link below, learn more about:

  • The economic impact of Texas rivers and lakes
  • The history of the Endangered Species Act
  • The status of various species that may or may not be placed on the Endangered list
  • Benefits of the Monarch butterfly

The Symposium is moderated by Weir Labatt, former Texas Water Development Board and Edwards Aquifer Authority board member.



  • Robert Gulley J.D., Ph.D., – Texas Comptroller’s Office Director of Economic Growth and Endangered Species Management
  • Adam Zerrenner – Field Supervisor with the US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Tom Arsuffi Ph.D., – Director of the Llano River Field Station at Texas Tech University in Junction

 The Texas Water Symposium is a quarterly series, and a joint project of Schreiner University, Texas Tech University, Texas Public Radio, and the Hill Country Alliance.