Watershed Restoration: Principles and Practices

Chapter 27: Saving and Creating Jobs Through Watershed Restoration

B. Doppelt

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569049.ch27

The debates over land, water, and fish and wildlife conservation in rural communities are typically framed as choices between jobs or the environment. This impression of ‘‘Sophie’s Choice’’ occurs primarily because the public lacks an understanding of how environmental degradation leads both to direct job losses and sometimes to profound economic consequences for many sectors of society. Similarly, the public is generally unaware of the important role that protecting environmental amenities plays in the ability of many rural communities to attract the new people and investments that can establish businesses, create jobs, and help secure a rural community’s economic future.

Massive global and national economic forces are profoundly changing our economies and communities. Employment is continuing to decline in the traditional natural resource extraction and agricultural industries that once supported rural economies. To survive and prosper, rural communities must attract new people and investments that can establish businesses and create jobs. The environmental quality-of-life amenities that are so attractive in many rural areas are an advantage that can be instrumental in building new strategies to attract businesses and jobs.