DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: Bowker Creek in the Capital Regional District, completed in October 2021

NOTE TO READER:

EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is a pragmatic ‘made in BC’ approach to valuation of the ecological services supplied by a stream (one of our most common ecological systems). Think of it as a decision support tool for use by the community and local government.

EAP addresses this question: How do communities decide how much to invest in the natural commons? The EAP methodology and metrics enable a local government to  determine the WORTH of the natural commons, with ‘worth’ being the foundation for an annual budget for maintenance and maintenance of ecological assets.

In October 2021, the Partnership released Bowker Creek – A Natural Commons in the Capital Regional District: Using the Ecological Accounting Process to Establish the ‘Financial Case for the Stream’, the sixth in the series of EAP demonstration applications to be completed in a 3-stage, multi-year program of applied research.

Financial Case for Bowker Creek Daylighting in British Columbia’s Capital Region

“The Bowker Creek Blueprint is a 100-year action plan to create islands of nature within the urban environment, daylight a creek where it is enclosed in a pipe for two-thirds of its original channel length, and restore a continuous stream corridor,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

“The process to operationalize the Blueprint is now self-fulfilling. It is embedded in three Official Community Plans and cascades down to the DNA and departmental work plans within each municipality. In February 2021, the 12-clause motion passed by Victoria City Council is the game-changer that launched the second decade of the 100-Year Action Plan. Applying EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, adds to the conceptual framework for stream daylighting with new insights about metrics.”

We All Live in a Watershed

“We need to work collaboratively and cooperatively to put the Bowker Blueprint vision into action. The watershed does look different depending on which municipality you are standing in. But, at the end of the day, what happens in Saanich does have an effect on the creek as it flows through Victoria, and then as it flows through Oak Bay,” explained Brianne Czypyha, Stormwater Management Specialist with the City of Victoria.

“And now in Victoria when we are looking at development projects, we think about the watershed context. When we ask developers to use green stormwater infrastructure, we consider how it would affect the creek, the flows, the water quality, and downstream neighbours.”

“Daylighting is a huge long-term project. With the completion of the feasibility study, which included input from other departments, we now have options for where the creek could go and what it could look like.”

“Because we know where stream daylighting overlaps with other City plans and policies, we can take the next step to look at what we could do on the ground and what it could cost. We are well-placed for grant applications or emerging opportunities for partnerships.”

TO LEARN MORE:

Download a copy of Bowker Creek – A Natural Commons in the Capital Regional District: Using the Ecological Accounting Process to Establish the ‘Financial Case for the Stream’