This paper presents new knowledge about the current status of training on the economic value of stewardship practices in the Ohio Lake Erie basin. Local decision-makers shape coastal and watershed conditions but often do not appreciate the economic, fiscal, and ecological benefits that could be gained from sound stewardship practices. This study investigated the information and training about economic benefits available in the Ohio Lake Erie basin. Training providers and technical assistance professionals helped identify key training needs and challenges to decision-maker awareness of benefits. We found relatively few organizations offering training that incorporate economic or fiscal benefits into their curricula. Within these programs, stormwater management and tourism were the most popular training topics among local decision-makers. Regarding target audiences, training providers noted that public sector participants tended to be interested in the fiscal (tax revenue and public spending) impacts of regulations and in economic development. Our analysis suggests a need to document the economic and fiscal benefits and costs to existing practices in the Lake Erie basin to provide case studies and examples for peer-to-peer education for local decision-makers. The results suggest a need for increased collaboration among training providers and educational institutions in the Lake Erie basin to develop case studies or fact sheets of benefits and costs. The results also suggest that creating a technical advisory network concerning economic benefits and costs would provide a useful service to local decision-makers.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1