The University of Arizona

The Value of a River

J. Stephen Lansing, Philip S. Lansing, Juliet S. Erazo


The Skokomish river was once the most productive salmon river in Puget Sound, but since 1926 the North Fork Skokomish has been diverted for hydropower. The Skokomish tribe has fought unsuccessfully to restore natural flows. At issue is the “non-market value” of the river’s biological productivity. The value of the river as “natural capital” for the tribe is analyzed from an historical, ethnographic, and ecological perspective.

Keywords: non-market values, natural capital, salmon, Pacific Northwest, Skokomish, riverine ecology, ecosystem management.

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