Measuring the Economic Impact of Water Quality Initiatives: A Case Study of the Fund for Lake Michigan

  •  Russ Kashian    
  •  Linda Reid    
  •  Andrew Kueffer    


The Fund for Lake Michigan is an organization that invests in nonprofit and government organizations which conduct projects intended to clean up the environment. The main goal of the Fund for Lake Michigan is to improve the quality of Lake Michigan and the life of its communities. This paper conducts an analysis of the total economic impact of all Fund for Lake Michigan-funded projects between 2011 and 2013. The methodology used is IMPLAN, an input-output method of analysis that estimates to what extent different spending categories affect the local economy in terms of direct, indirect, and induced spending. Both primary impacts (those impacts that are directly caused by the Fund for Lake Michigan) and secondary impacts (those impacts that are indirectly caused by the Fund for Lake Michigan) were considered. The primary finding of this study is that the Fund for Lake Michigan has had a very positive, demonstrable economic impact in the southeastern region of Wisconsin including, but not limited to, creation of over 480 full-time equivalent jobs and increasing property values by over $45.5 million. Our findings also suggest that, if funded in the same manner, the Fund for Lake Michigan should continue to have a similar level of economic impact for the foreseeable future.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.