NATURE’S ASSETS SUPPORT CORE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES: “Emanuel Machado and Tim Pringle are agents of transformation. They independently ventured into uncharted territory to build the financial case for inclusion of ecological systems in local government asset management strategies,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia
Note to Reader:
COVID has changed and challenged how to do outreach and peer-based education. Now both must be done virtually. As part of the COVID response plan for the 2020 Virtual Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate, the Partnership for Water Sustainability and collaborators have moved well beyond a Zoom webinar to create Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series:
- On November 19: The first module features a dynamic team comprised of five women. They are leading programs that strive to ‘reconnect land and water in altered landscapes’ in four regional districts.
- On November 26: Tim Pringle and Emanuel Machado illustrate how to take into account the social, ecological and financial values of ecological assets when developing metrics and calculating the financial value of ecological systems such as streams and adjoining riparian setbacks.
- On December 3: A federal-provincial team of applied scientists elaborate on why the International Year of the Salmon, a multi-year program, represents a ‘once in a generation’ moment to ‘reconnect fish, people and the landscape’ through shared federal-provincial authority.
Natural Assets as Ecological Systems and Services: Ecological assets support delivery of core local government services, while doing so much more
“I am a member of a team representing the stream stewardship sector and three levels of government. In re-imagining the 2020 Symposium as the Video Trilogy Series, our vision is that the audience experience “in the moment” will be better than having a front-row seat at a live event,” states Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
“In a virtual sense, our audience will be up close and personal with our team members. All that will be missing from the experience will be the conversations that happen spontaneously during networking breaks, when delegates share their immediate reactions to what they just heard.
“Each video is a building block that contributes to an understanding of what needs to be done to create Actionable Visions that shrink the destructive footprint and grow the restorative footprint of communities.
“The second video in the trilogy features Tim Pringle and Emanuel Machado. This duo is leading by example to demonstrate how meaningful metrics support informed decision-making! After observing them in conversation with Richard Boase in the first module, viewers will understand why they are agents of transformation.
“Emanuel and Tim independently ventured into uncharted territory. They took an abstract concept – nature’s assets support local government services – and they made it tangible so that it is implementable. Their pioneer efforts in leading parallel initiatives have established provincially relevant case study precedents.
“Replicable precedents are already influencing how local governments view the social, ecological and financial values of streams and riparian corridors. A desired outcome of this shift is that their asset management strategies would then reflect a whole-system approach, one that connects the natural and built environments in urban areas.
“The videos are much more than talking heads. Interweaving of outdoor imagery adds a compelling visual dimension that draws the viewer into the conversation. At the conclusion of each video, viewers will be able to interact with the presenters in a chat session.
“The series will appeal to a continuum of audiences – ranging all the way from “boots in the creek” streamkeepers to elected representatives who decide what work will be funded. The series content is cascading, and has something for everyone who wishes to understand what role they can play, to reconnect land and water in altered landscapes.
“The takeaway message for the series is one of hope!”
Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series:
View a conversation between Emanuel Machado and Tim Pringle, and learn how their pioneer efforts are making the financial case for inclusion of ecological systems in local government asset management strategies!
Nature’s assets support the delivery of core local government services, while doing so much more. Two programs – MNAI, the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative; and EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process – are facilitating the move from awareness to action that accounts for ecological systems and services.
The two initiatives are outcomes flowing from the tireless determination of two pioneers, EAP Chair Tim Pringle and MNAI Chair Emanuel Machado, to transform how local governments view ecological systems and the services they provide. EAP and MNAI represent recent points along a ‘green infrastructure continuum’ that had its genesis three decades ago.
Emanuel Machado is the Chief Administrative Officer & Chief Resiliency Officer, Town of Gibsons. Tim Pringle is a founding Director and Past-President, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
Overcome Barriers to Whole-System Action
“What are key challenges in communicating a new way of doing business? First, it is insufficient to look at nature primarily as a substitute for engineered infrastructure. We are looking at a system. Without an ecological system, there are no ecological services. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the system as a whole. Everything is connected,” says Tim Pringle.
“Secondly, it is not yet well-understood that the constructed commons and the natural commons are parallel concepts and of equal importance. Furthermore, a stream in settled areas is a land use. Streams have a defined area and measurement of the financial value can be calculated using BC Assessment data.”
“Finally, local governments have existing tools in the form of policies and legislation for ‘maintenance and management’ (M&M) of ecological assets. What they have lacked until now are a pragmatic methodology for financial valuation, and meaningful metrics for effective decision-making and implementation.”
“Making watersheds resilient to climate change requires alignment and integration amongst all relevant agencies to ensure the ecological integrityof natural assets,” continues Emanuel Machado.
“New collaborative watershed governance models are needed to help local governments tackle climate change, regulatory changes and population growth. We are fortunate that BC has generated significant literature on watershed governance, Indigenous Co-Governance and Collaborative Consent.”
“Given the complexity created by overlapping jurisdictions and the significance of local conditions in both watershed management challenges and solutions, it makes sense to work collaboratively to find effective solutions for our communities.”
Format for Facilitated Conversations
On November 26, North Vancouver District’s Richard Boase engages in four rounds of conversation with Tim Pringle and Emanuel Machado.
“Each round is framed by a question that provides the starting point for delving into what Emanuel and Tim have learned through experience,” explains Richard Boase. “The questions are designed to draw out the reasons why translating policy objectives into tangible outcomes requires that local governments have a methodology and metrics for valuing ecological assets and services in an asset management strategy.”
“It is one thing to have a number for better maintenance and management of ecological assets, but what do you do with that number? Putting it into play requires an understanding of how local government processes work. This is an aspect where Emanuel and Tim provide valuable insights.”
“The context for discussion is a recognition that what WE DO on the land matters to water, and communities would do so much better by designing with nature, rather than conquering nature. Think in terms of a cascading logic flow: When communities embrace a design with nature philosophy, and implement green infrastructure policies and practices, this maintains balance in the water cycle!”
15 metres x15 metres is the optimum size space, and also the minimum size, for a room that is required to house up to five cameras and up to 14 people, of whom six are seated in a semi-circle for a facilitated conversation. Five cameras are necessary because of the 2 metre spacing of speakers.