This article presents results from a stated preference survey of U.S. households intended to value the public's preferences for enhancements to the protection of the western stock of Steller sea lions, which is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. To account for the uncertainty of future populations under current programs without additional protection efforts, three survey versions were implemented that each present different, yet plausible, baseline futures for Steller sea lions. Stated preference choice experiment data from each survey are analyzed using repeated, rank ordered random parameters logit models, and welfare estimates are calculated and compared for each baseline for a variety of possible improvements. The willingness to pay (WTP) results reflect positive, but diminishing, marginal utility for improvements in the western stock population, regardless of baseline future: WTP increases for population improvements until the population greatly exceeds the current population, at which point the WTP for additional improvements levels off. Similarly, as would be expected, WTP for improvements to the western stock population decreases as the future baseline population forecast improves.
JEL Classification Codes: Q51