Environmental Management

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 411–425 | Cite as

A Comparison of Alternative Strategies for Cost-Effective Water Quality Management in Lakes

  • Daniel Boyd KramerEmail author
  • Stephen Polasky
  • Anthony Starfield
  • Brian Palik
  • Lynne Westphal
  • Stephanie Snyder
  • Pamela Jakes
  • Rachel Hudson
  • Eric Gustafson


Roughly 45% of the assessed lakes in the United States are impaired for one or more reasons. Eutrophication due to excess phosphorus loading is common in many impaired lakes. Various strategies are available to lake residents for addressing declining lake water quality, including septic system upgrades and establishing riparian buffers. This study examines 25 lakes to determine whether septic upgrades or riparian buffers are a more cost-effective strategy to meet a phosphorus reduction target. We find that riparian buffers are the more cost-effective strategy in every case but one. Large transaction costs associated with the negotiation and monitoring of riparian buffers, however, may be prohibiting lake residents from implementing the most cost-effective strategy.


Water quality Cost effectiveness Septic systems Riparian buffers 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Boyd Kramer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephen Polasky
    • 2
  • Anthony Starfield
    • 3
  • Brian Palik
    • 4
  • Lynne Westphal
    • 5
  • Stephanie Snyder
    • 6
  • Pamela Jakes
    • 6
  • Rachel Hudson
    • 6
  • Eric Gustafson
    • 7
  1. 1.James Madison College and the Department of Fisheries and WildlifeMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Applied EconomicsUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  3. 3.Department of Ecology, Evolution, and BehaviorUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  4. 4.North Central Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceGrand RapidsUSA
  5. 5.North Central Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceEvanstonUSA
  6. 6.North Central Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceSt. PaulUSA
  7. 7.North Central Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceRhinelanderUSA

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