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Published Articles

ARTICLE: A pillar of Sustainable Watershed Systems, the Ecological Accounting Process has the potential to transform how communities make decisions about creekshed restoration (an op-ed published in the Vancouver Sun (June 2, 2018)


Hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services. Thus, integration of the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s work within the BC Framework should accelerate implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach at the heart of the Partnership’s ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’ program. “The Ecological Accounting Process, EAP, establishes what the definable benefits of ecological services derived from creekshed hydrology are, what they may be worth to stakeholders, and how they may be maintained and enhanced,” wrote Tim Pringle.

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Ecological Accounting Protocol – A Tool to Calculate the Opportunity Cost of Drainage Infrastructure


“The EAP approach begins by first recognizing the importance of a stream in a natural state and then asking: how can we maintain those ecological values while allowing the stream to be used for drainage,” states Jim Dumont. Benefits of the whole-system approach would include less flooding, less stream erosion, and more streamflow during dry weather when needed most.

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ARTICLE: What Gets Measured Can Be Managed – “Over the past year, we have improved the logic of the Ecological Accounting Protocol,” wrote Tim Pringle, EAP Initiative Chair (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Winter 2017)


“The Ecological Accounting Protocol is about specific values (pricing) – not imputed, generalized values,” wrote Tim Pringle. “Since cost-avoidance, at least perceived cost-avoidance, motivates much of the decision-making process about infrastructure, and development in general, why has the obvious role of natural assets been omitted to date? The Ecological Accounting Protocol suggests it is the lack of measurement.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2011: The Most Efficient Infrastructure is ‘Design with Nature’ – Start With Water Sustainability (President’s Perspective – an article by Tim Pringle foreshadowed development of the Ecological Accounting Protocol)


“Designing with nature is efficient. It amounts to using income from natural capital rather than drawing down the resource,” wrote Tim Pringle. “The key principle is that settlement and ecology are equal values. This condition is prerequisite for designing with nature and it supports better control of the life-cycle costs of providing infrastructure for the built environment.”

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Getting the Most from Infrastructure Assets: Ecological Accounting Protocol (Part 2 of 2) (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Fall 2016)


“The Ecological Accounting Protocol (EAP) is an economic tool to make real the notion of ‘watersheds as infrastructure assets’. EAP would support four related analytical approaches to capital expenditure and life cycle costs represented in infrastructure (drainage) services drawn from natural assets. These are Substitution, Cost Avoidance, Environmental (watershed health) Benefits, and Attributed Values,” wrote Tim Pringle. “EAP would make sustainable service delivery more robust with the inclusion of the value and costs
associated with the use of services from natural assets to supply infrastructure.”

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Getting the Most from Infrastructure Assets: The idea of ecological accounting (Part 1 of 2) (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Winter 2016)


Tim Pringle coined the phrase ecological accounting protocol. “The purpose is to enable comparison of engineered infrastructure to natural systems by means of common units of measurement and value,” states Tim Pringle. “The challenge is in HOW to calculate the most effective blend of services from nature and engineered infrastructure. The need for measurement and valuation is paramount.”

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