DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: “EAP bridges a gap. It provides local government with a methodology and metrics for integrating natural assets, notably stream corridor systems, into municipal infrastructure,” states Tim Pringle, Chair of the Ecological Accounting Process initiative, when explaining A Busy Reader’s Guide to Understanding EAP (August 2021)
Note to Reader:
EAP is the acronym for the Ecological Accounting Process, an initiative of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. The EAP program is the culmination of a 25-year journey that began with publication of seminal research by Chris May and Rich Horner of the University of Washington (Seattle) in 1996. They correlated land use changes with impacts on stream condition. They also ranked the four limiting factors that provide a road map for science-based action. Their findings are embedded in Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia and continue to guide the Beyond the Guidebook initiative.
The Financial Case for a Stream System
“The Partnership for Water Sustainability has developed a mind-map which we have titled A Busy Reader’s Guide to Understanding EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process. It introduces a set of core ideas. And it does this in a single page because we realized the importance of making it easy for the reader to understand what we mean by the phrase ‘the financial case for a stream system‘. So, we structured the mind-map as a set of seven questions and answers,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.
“The structure is cascading to facilitate an understanding of EAP in broad-brush terms. After that, it is up to the reader to dive into the details to learn more about the application of EAP to address issues of concern to local governments.”
To Learn More:
EAP Methodology and Metrics for Integration of Natural Assets into Local Government Asset Management
“In a nutshell, the EAP methodology and metrics recognize the importance of the stream system in the landscape. A stream is a land use because the stream corridor is defined in regulations and has a financial value,” continued Tim Pringle, Chair, EAP initiative.
“The EAP methodology focuses on the historical and current land use practices that have changed landscapes, modified hydrology, and have led to present-day community perceptions of the worth of the stream or creekshed and the ecological services it provides. A whole-system understanding is the starting point for developing meaningful metrics.”
“The driver for EAP is degradation of stream channels and streamside protection areas. EAP addresses the elephant in the room which is the unfunded and growing cost (hence liability) to protect, remediate or enhance stream systems in urban and rural landscapes.”
To Learn More:
Watch the video of Tim Pringle as he explains the Riparian Deficit. The duration is 4:30 minutes.
How is EAP a Game-Changer?
“EAP interweaves financial, social, and ecological perspectives within a single number to establish the financial case for a stream corridor system. This aggregate number is the Natural Commons Asset (NCA) Value.”
“The NCA value is a measure of the Riparian Deficit. This is the environmental equivalent of the Infrastructure Liability (Deficit) for constructed assets such as underground utilities and buildings.”
“The NCA value provides environmental planners with a starting point for a balanced conversation with engineers and accountants about the services that natural and constructed assets both provide.”