CASCADING CONCEPTS (GRAPHIC): “Visualize a Monday night meeting of a municipal council and reflect on how councils make decisions. Their mindset is all about what happens at the parcel scale. This is the driver for creating an over-arching mind-map to explain the Ecological Accounting Process in terms they understand,” stated Tim Pringle, EAP Chair

Note to Reader:

The context for EAP is protection and restoration of stream systems. If we know how to do a much better job of protecting ecological features and stream systems in our communities and on our landscape, then why aren’t we doing a better job? Why are streams still degrading? Why do we still see practices that exacerbate the situation? Why is understanding lacking? How do we change that?

How concepts are explained is crucial. For this reason, the Partnership for Water Sustainability has included a set of graphics to illustrate foundational concepts. Below, we describe the Cascading Concepts Mind Map for EAP. The graphic distils five key ideas that underpin EAP. This provides a starting point for communicating with a continuum of audiences. It would allow them come to grips with all the questions posed above.

How concepts are explained is crucial

“What is easily understood and can be measured gets implemented,” states Tim Pringle, EAP Chair. “The cascading concepts image (see below) distils five key ideas that underpin EAP and is a mind-map for what is presented in the Synthesis Report. Because stream setbacks are defined in regulation, a stream corridor is a land use such that a proxy financial value is readily determined from BC Assessment data.”

“EAP defines the regulated zone as the Natural Commons Asset (NCA). This foundation has two primary metrics or measures: the NCA financial value is expressed as $ per km of stream; the annual M&M budget is 1% of the NCA value. The concept of the Riparian Deficit interprets what the NCA number means.”

“Our hope is that the straightforward nature of these metrics would inspire local governments to apply EAP metrics and establish annual budgets for maintenance and management (M&M) of stream systems. Stream M&M would then be a line item within an Asset Management Strategy that accounts for both constructed and natural assets.”

Learning from the Water Balance experience

“In the 1990s, the breakthrough in science-informed understanding was the Road Map for Stream System Integrity. For a generation, communities should have known what they ought to be doing. And some have made progress. But, in the big picture, the last two decades have been characterized by an inability to act on the science,” continues Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.

“The system context is too hard for most people to visualize. With hindsight, reforming drainage practices requires a provincial authority that provides clear and consistent direction regarding expectations for development of land draining to streams.”

“On the other hand, most people can visualize what a stream corridor looks like. Thus, local government collaboration with an informed, educated stream stewardship groups may offer the best path forward in the near-term for operationalizing EAP metrics and transitioning drainage practice to Sustainable Drainage Service Delivery.”

EAP is a BC Strategy for Community Investment in Stream Systems

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.

To Learn More:

Download and read a copy of the entire  Synthesis Report on EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, A B.C. Strategy for Community Investment in Stream Systems (2022), the 4th in the Beyond the Guidebook series of guidance documents.