First of all, let's see how many of us can pitch in with you. We've talked about it for a while now, I am anxious to get involved.
Second, both extremes will work... and unlike most things in life there is a happy medium too!
Bldg #19... for around ten bucks you can find a pair of leaky neoprenes that can be patched with aquaseal and if they explode you won't care.
I am confident that if you buy a pair of double-seam sealed neoprenes on the high end (simms, etc), Guide weight goretex, or the very expensive but tough top-o-the-line stuff the seams will hold. They also come with unconditional guarantees.
Middle of the line:
In the case of waders there are good middle of the line options nowadays. Redington has $160 breathables with unconditional warranties for four years. Hodgman sells them for a great price, Cabelas too - but not with the reputation for service that Redington offers. Another non-breathable option is the OS Systems wader for $149.00. It's tough as nails.
Why don't we write letters to wader companies - who could turn down a stream restoration project for PR?