Bringing market-based solutions underwater

A lot has been written about PERC’s Enviropreneur Institute lately – and for good reason. While many alarmists tout the demise of clean air, protected forests, and endangered animals, enviropreneurs work to find viable market solutions for improving environmental quality. As Co-Director of PEI Reed Watson notes:

What distinguishes enviropreneurs from other environmentalists? One answer is their vision; enviropreneurs see the world in a unique way. They see the prospect for cooperation where others see unsolvable conflict. They see unwritten contracts where others see unwritten regulations. They see new frontiers for free market environmentalism where others see only market failures.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-p7bQDE5-Q&context=C3825d8aADOEgsToPDskJ6LY_me6lAwsWZqtmYl4C5

One such enviropreneur, Brett Howell, has taken a dive off Florida’s coast and is bringing market-based solutions underwater. Florida’s coral reefs stretch more than 350 miles and support hundreds of different species of coral and fish.

It turns out, however, that 70 to 80 percent of Florida’s coral habitat has been destroyed over the past 40 years. Staghorn and Elkhorn coral, two species found off Florida’s coast, are even listed under the Endangered Species Act.

In February, Howell and PERC hosted a workshop in Key Largo exploring the question of whether contracts can help save coral reefs.  Howell is working to develop a market for coral reef restoration by identifying who benefits from a coral reef and who is willing to pay for its restoration. Read more about their conclusions and Howell’s next steps here in the latest issue of PERC Reports.