3.   Although using an economic valuation process as a proxy for impact is convenient, it does not necessarily capture all of the goods and services provided by a natural system, and replacement sources may not be a perfect substitute for the services provided by the natural system (e.g., a seawall may replace the storm protection of a destroyed marsh, but it may also have negative impacts). These tradeoffs must be carefully weighed when applying an ecosystem services approach.

Despite these challenges, the ecosystem services approach, when used prudently, can offer an enhanced opportunity to more fully achieve the goal of making the public whole in response to an event such as the DWH oil spill because it may provide otherwise unavailable information on the value of lost goods and services.

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