Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle

Director, Water Policy Program

919-613-8026

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Areas of Expertise: geomorphology, ecology, environmental policy, hydrology

Martin Doyle is director of the Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and a professor of river science and policy at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. 

His research is at the interface of science, economics and policy of river management and restoration. His background is in hydraulics and sediment transport in rivers, but he also works on river infrastructure, including decommissioning dams and levees, as well as research on financing rehabilitation of aging hydropower dams and the impacts of infrastructure on river ecosystems across the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in earth science from Purdue University, and a master's degree in engineering from the University of Mississippi. His research has resulted in several awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2009), a National Science Foundation Early Career Award (2005), the Nystrom Award from the Association of American Geographers (2004), the Horton Grant from the American Geophysical Union (2001), and the Chorafas Prize from the Chorafas Foundation in Switzerland (2002). For his work in bridging environmental science and policy, in 2009 was named the inaugural Frederick J. Clarke Scholar by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 2008 Doyle was named an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow by Stanford University, and received a GlaxoSmithKline Faculty Fellowship for Public Policy from the Institute for Emerging Issues.

Environmental Impact Investing in Real Assets: What Environmental Measures Do Fund Managers Consider?

As concerns over climate change and natural resource depletion grow, investors have begun seeking opportunities for generating both market-rate financial returns and quantifiable environmental gains. Investing with the objectives of social or environmental return is often referred to as impact investing. Measuring and reporting the environmental impact of such investing is becoming of greater interest to environmental managers and investors. This report presents findings from interviews of investment fund managers of environmental real assets—defined here as real assets that rely on ecological systems to generate cash flows (e.g., timber, agriculture, fisheries, water rights). The interviews reveal little consistency in how environmental returns are measured and reported. Importantly, most of the environmental metrics are not designed to allow for evaluation of funds’ environmental performance. Hence, investors are unable to distinguish among funds in terms of environmental returns. Moreover, investors are also generally uninterested in such information. In short, impact investors seek environmental impact funds so long as they have risk-adjusted, market-rate returns regardless of environmental performance. To better evaluate the environmental returns of impact investments, whether real assets or other types of investments, fund managers and investors should directly engage the environmental science and operations management community. That community could offer insights to help ensure that investments are delivering and reporting on promise and that capital is being steered toward effective projects and opportunities.

Authors: Liz Spence, Belton Copp, Xander Kent, Dan Vermeer, and Martin W. Doyle

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Estimating the Value of Public Water Data

Public water data, such as river flow from stream gauges or precipitation from weather satellites, produce broad benefits at a cost to the general public. This paper presents a review of the academic literature on the costs and benefits of government investments in public water data. On the basis of 21 studies quantifying the costs and benefits of public water quantity data, it appears that the median benefit-cost ratio across different economic sectors and geographic regions is 4:1. But a great deal of uncertainty attends this number; very few studies empirically quantify or monetize the costs, the benefits, or both of water information with sound economic methods, and no studies have quantified the value of water quality information. This review is part of an ongoing effort by the Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University and the Aspen Institute to develop the foundations of an Internet of Water by quantifying the potential value of open and integrated public water data. 

Authors: John Gardner, Martin Doyle, and Lauren Patterson

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Water Policy

Working Papers

Internet of Water: Sharing and Integrating Water Data for Sustainability

This report from the Aspen Institute Dialogue Series on Water Data lays out a vision for a national policy framework that addresses institutional barriers to increasing the integration of water data and information to support sustainable water management. In the United States, data to manage water supplies and pursue innovative solutions to meet water management challenges are lacking or are not in a format that is easily accessible or understandable, and there are often strong disincentives, fears, and concerns about sharing the data. To address this challenge, the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program in partnership with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Redstone Strategy Group convened the Aspen Institute Dialogue Series on Water Data. The report highlights the dialogue’s principle-based blueprint recommending a three-step plan to design and launch an “Internet of Water”—a network of interconnected data producers, hubs, and users—that will enable real-time collection and transmission of water-related data and information—a prerequisite for revolutionizing how water resources are managed and situated to address prevalent water problems such as extreme flooding, scarcity, and contamination as well as for restoring aquatic systems. The report makes three key findings: (1) the value of open, shared, and integrated water data has not been widely quantified, documented, or communicated; (2) the most necessary step in using water data for sustainability is making public water data open by default, discoverable, and digitally accessible; and (3) water data could be most effectively integrated through an internet of water. The report recommends facilitation of open water data, integration of existing public water data and development of tools to connect data producers and users as well as regional-data-sharing communities that can address near-term water management problems for key sectors.

Authors: Lauren Patterson, Martin Doyle, Kathy King, and David Monsma

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Aspen-Nicholas Institute Water Forum

Water Policy

Reports

Conservation Finance and Impact Investing for U.S. Water

The 2016 Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum focused on the shifting role of public and private financing for water infrastructure and the new universe of innovative financing solutions to create impacts in the water sector, including how impact investing can hold the multiple roles of bridging the ever growing funding gap for infrastructure, improve water use efficiencies, and protect water resources while at the same time making a financial profit. Among the forum report's key findings: 1) Business as usual is not sustainable—we as a society are now paying for the “can-kicking” that has occurred while we debated responsibility for U.S. water resources; 2) The water issues we face as a nation continue to grow as the water community dithers and invests in one-off projects, rather than focusing on scaled solutions like regionalization and integration; 3) Money is not the issue; there is plenty of private capital available to meet the current water funding gap, but there are significant barriers to impactful and innovative financing; 4) Government regulation and public education can go hand in hand to gain public support for improved water management while supporting social equity; and 5) Leadership is one of the prime movers for innovative finance projects in the water space.

Authors: Lauren Patterson, Martin Doyle, and Nicole Buckley

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Aspen-Nicholas Institute Water Forum

Water Policy

Environmental Economics

Reports