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Hydro-Financial Modeling

All too frequently in the environmental field, projects are held back due to lack of adequate financing and inability to translate positive environmental outcomes to clear economic benefit. My work on coupled hydro-financial modeling seeks to bridge this critical gap through the coupling of stochastic environmental and financial models to directly measure future cost savings from environmental project. The model is also used to support the development of Environmental Impact Bonds by directly quantifying the risk that environmental projects are unable to repay investors with cost savings. 

This model is highly flexible and so far has been applied to a site on the US Mexico Border, and is currently being developed for wetland restoration sites in the Pacific Northwest under the NOAA Effects of Sea Level Rise Program.

US/Mexico Border

This work was applied to a trans-national watershed between the United States and Mexico to evaluate the efficacy of developing upstream Low Impact Development watershed infrastructure in Mexico to reduce cross border pollution in the form of excessive sedimentation and trash. Model results indicate a suite of financially feasible green and gray infrastructure options which have a high likelihood of repayment. This work was synthesized in a paper published in Water Resources Research: "Stochastic hydro‐financial watershed modeling for environmental impact bonds."

Brand, M. W., Gudiño‐Elizondo, N., Allaire, M., Wright, S., Matson, W., Saksa, P., & Sanders, B. F. Stochastic hydro‐financial watershed modeling for environmental impact bonds. Water Resources Research, e2020WR027328.

Pacific Northwest

We are assessing the pros and cons of employing both gray and green infrastructure strategies to mitigate flood risks. This involves using a cost-benefit analysis framework on two estuaries in the Pacific Northwest, covering a spectrum of riverine to coastal flood vulnerabilities. The outcomes aim to offer communities practical insights, enabling them to garner support for initiatives focused on enhancing coastal resilience.

More information about the project is available on NOAA's website below:

https://coastalscience.noaa.gov/project/a-cost-benefit-analysis-of-green-gray-infrastructure-for-sea-level-rise-adaptation-in-the-pacific-northwest-incorporating-externalities-and-ecosystem-co-benefits/ 

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U.S.-Mexico Border taken from Tijuana side. Photo by author.

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