ARTICLE: “Stream Corridor Management – Are streams worth the same as constructed assets” (Construction Business Magazine, Jan-Feb 2022)

Note to Reader:

Construction Business is a trade magazine which serves British Columbia and Alberta. Beginning in 2006 with a feature story on the rollout of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, every two years editor Cheryl Mah invites the Partnership for Water Sustainability to contribute a topical article that is relevant to her Construction Business readership. In February 2022, Construction Business published an article co-authored by the Partnership trio of Kim Stephens, Tim Pringle and Ray Fung.

Stream Corridor Management: Are streams worth the same as constructed assets?

Builders and those in the construction industry make things: buildings and infrastructure. Considered hard assets, we derive services or benefits from those things. Traditionally, we have considered nature as providing the raw materials or natural resources, from which these hard assets are created.

In the last decade or so, increasing attention has been given to natural systems as assets in their own right. They provide ecological services, such as trees cleaning the air (like an HVAC system) or a creek filtering the impurities in water (like a water or sewage treatment plant). Often, these services are provided by nature at a cost lower than the comparable engineered asset.

Meanwhile, the age of much of the hard assets in our community, especially infrastructure, necessitates replacement and upgrading, which can create a huge financial burden for society. So, while the industry’s interest is to continue constructing, the infrastructure burden encourages consideration of the services ecosystems provide, at the very least as a complement to engineered assets.

What is Measured Gets Managed

EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is an approach that aims to recognize the worth of natural assets.  Accounting in this sense means taking stock and understanding the worth of ecological services as the community uses them.  On a practical basis, this approach has been applied to real estate, in other words, land, and specifically to stream corridors.

To Learn More:

To read the complete article, download a copy of “Stream Corridor Management – Are streams worth the same as constructed assets”.