Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the Chesapeake Bay is well below half of its historic levels, largely due to excessive nutrient and sediment loads degrading water quality. SAV provides important ecosystem functions, many of which are beneficial to local residents. To understand the implicit value residents place on SAV and the ecosystem services it provides, we undertake a hedonic property value study using residential transactions in 11 Maryland counties adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay. These data are matched to highresolution maps of SAV coverage. We pose a quasi-experimental comparison and examine how the prices of homes near the waterfront vary with the presence of SAV. On average, waterfront and near-waterfront homes within 200 meters of the shore sell at about a 6.5% premium when SAV is present. Applying these estimates to the 185,000-acre SAV attainment goal suggests total property value gains on the order of $436 million.
JEL Codes: Q51, Q53.