Birding is big business — especially in Cape May. According to a study by the New Jersey chapter of the Nature Conservancy, wildlife viewing in Cape May County accounts for $522 million a year in visitor expenditures.
The Conservancy’s report was an attempt to quantify how much the economic and social benefits of the restoration of Lower Cape May Meadows, a 456-acre tract, was worth.
In addition to revenues due to birding and ecotourism, the report said that beach recreation in the county was worth up to $12.5 million a year and restoration of dunes in the area avoided $9.6 million in flooding.
The Conservancy only analyzed a small portion of the state’s ecotourism and environmental features since the report is limited to Cape May County.