RALEIGH — A report released this week by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality shows natural resources in the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound region hold more economic benefits than previously thought.
The report lists the following benefits:
- More than $475 million for industries that depend on natural resources, including agriculture, forestry and commercial fishing.
- The employment of about 36,000 workers and the generation of more than $672 million in wages from natural resource-dependent industries.
- About $3.7 billion from recreational activities, including fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and visits to national and state parks.
- About $81 million in health cost savings from indirect health benefits, such as the removal of air pollutants by trees.
The Albemarle-Pamlico Natural Estuary Partnership, which includes state and federal agencies, scientists and universities, nonprofit groups and local governments, worked with RTI International, a nonprofit research institute based in Research Triangle Park, to develop the economic value of the resources in the Albemarle-Pamlico watershed. The area includes the Neuse, Tar-Pamlico, Pasquotank, Chowan, lower Roanoke and parts of the White Oak river basins.
The partnership hopes that the report will encourage conservation and investment in the region.