DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Synthesis Report on Ecological Accounting Process, a BC Strategy for Community Investment in Stream Systems” (released June 2022)

Note to Reader:

In 2016, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British  Columbia embarked upon a 6-year program of applied research to evolve EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, through a 3-stage building blocks process of testing, refining, and mainstreaming the methodology and metrics for financial valuation of stream systems. The program involved 9 case studies and 13 local governments and yielded 19 “big ideas” or foundational concepts.

In June 2022, the Partnership released its Synthesis Report on the Ecological Accounting Process, a BC Strategy for Community Investment in Stream Systems, the 4th in the Beyond the Guidebook Series.

How much should communities invest in protection of stream systems?

“Know your history. Understand the context. These are key thoughts, and they provide perspective for the story of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, as told in the Synthesis Report. EAP comprises five cascading concepts (image below),” wrote Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability, in the preface to Beyond the Guidebook 2022: EAP, a BC Strategy for Community Investment in  Stream Systems.

Beyond the Guidebook Series

Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released in 2002, is the foundation document for the Beyond the Guidebook Series of guidance documents. The titles themselves tell a story about the partnership journey in building on the Guidebook through case studies that showcase and celebrate good work, and advance implementation of science-informed approaches. The four documents in the series are:

Context for Rainwater Management and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia (2007)

Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia (2010)

Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management (2015)

Ecological Accounting Process, A B.C. Strategy for Community Investment in Stream Systems (2022)

“EAP evolved as one ‘big idea’ led to the next one,” stated Kim Stephens. “We could not have made the leap directly from the first to the last. It required a building blocks process. This is the beneficial outcome of a systematic approach to applied research that tests and refines the methodology and metrics to get them right, and is founded on the principle of collaboration that benefits everyone.

EAP, a BC Strategy for Community Investment in Stream Systems

“EAP uses real numbers. The methodology and metrics allow local governments to make a convincing financial case for annual investment in stream systems. The next step for them is to integrate budget line items for stream maintenance and management (M&M) into their Asset Management Strategies,” explains Tim Pringle, EAP Chair.

“It is amazing that we have been able to produce a methodology that defines what a stream is, can find the value of the stream using impartial BC Assessment data, and add to that a riparian assessment that looks at the 30m zone and a further 200m upland area to evaluate the water balance condition and what is happening to water pathways.”

“Now that we have landed on the Riparian Deficit concept, we are able to reflect on the two issues which provided context for the journey: first, engineering measures are insufficient for stream and riparian protection; and secondly, the link to municipal asset management has not been clear.”

“To reach the destination, we had to address and show how to overcome four challenges: one, a lack of measurable metrics; two, confusion over what is an asset versus a service; three, ignorance about how to quantify the financial value of natural assets with real numbers; and four, numerous one-off projects that fail to build improved asset management practice.”

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

“The Drainage Service is the neglected service, and the cost of neglect grows over time. Until now, local governments have lacked a pragmatic methodology and meaningful metrics to incorporate stream systems as line items in Asset Management Strategies. For local governments wishing to move from stopgap fixes to long-term solutions, EAP gives them a road map,” added Kim Stephens.

“Local governments need real numbers to deliver green infrastructure outcomes. It is that basic. Rhetoric is insufficient. EAP metrics are neither hypothetical nor speculative. They are grounded in the BC Assessment database. EAP is a foundation piece for Asset Management for Sustainable Drainage Service Delivery.”

To Learn More:

Download a copy of Ecological Accounting Process, A B.C. Strategy for Community Investment in Stream Systems (2022) – the Synthesis Report is a distillation of over 1000 pages of case study documentation into a storyline that is conversational and written for a continuum of audiences that includes land use practitioners, asset managers, stream stewards, and local government decision-makers.