EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, IS AN EXPRESSION OF BLUE ECOLOGY: “Streams need a place to be. If we cannot get our heads around that, we are not going to keep our streams,” stated Tim Pringle, a founding director and Past-President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

Note to Reader:

Published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published published on January 30, 2024 foreshadows the component program that the Partnership will deliver at the 2024 BC Land Summit in May. Blue Ecology and EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, are strategic priorities of the Partnership. The process for interconnecting the two begins at the BC Land Summit with a cascading and integrated sessions under the banner Going Beyond Just Doing Enough.

Caring for the land means going beyond just doing enough

Blue Ecology and EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process are strategic priorities of the Partnership. Since 2016, we have been collaborating with Michael Blackstock and with multiple local governments on Vancouver Island and in Metro Vancouver to advance both because:
  • WATER RECONCILIATION: Blue Ecology is a methodology for building bridges between Western and Indigenous cultures.
  • RIPARIAN DEFICIT: EAP is a financial tool for establishing budgets for asset management within stream corridors.
In 2024, our bold leap forward is to interconnect the two tracks. This process begins with a cascading and integrated “Blue Ecology-EAP session” at the BC Land Summit in May.


EAP as an expression of Blue Ecology

“We are talking about a change in attitude so that communities would view natural systems and water differently,” emphasizes Richard Boase, co-lead for the BC Land Summit session. Richard is also the moderator and face of the Watershed Moments symposia and video series.

“Streams need a place to be. If we cannot get our heads around that, we are not going to keep our streams,” continues Tim Pringle, EAP Chair and co-lead for the session. “EAP provides a value picture of a stream system as a land use. The Riparian Areas Protection Regulation enables this approach.”

Blue Ecology is a Pathway to Water Reconciliation and Resilience at the Local Scale: 

“Our land ethic has consequences for water,” summarizes Paul Chapman, chair of the Watershed Moments Team. “In 2023, the team produced a 90-minute video about Blue Ecology which Shaw Cable broadcast throughout BC. The video showcases what it means to apply Michael Blackstock’s five Blue Ecology water cycle principles.”

Watch the video trailer:  Set aside 6-½ minutes. Click on the YouTube image below. Watch the trailer overview. It is powerful.



“The Partnership is honoured to be included as an ‘allied partner organization’ for the 2024 BC Land Summit. This 3-day event held once every five years may spark innovation and collaboration, by providing valuable insights about the use and conservation of land and water,” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Partnership Executive Director.

“The phrase attitude change goes to the heart of what the Partnership session will showcase at the Land Summit. With an attitude change, anything is possible. In the story behind the story, which is about a conversation between Michael Blackstock and Tim Pringle, they reflect on why caring for the land is the core value that links Blue Ecology and EAP.”



Going Beyond Just Doing Enough

“At the BC Land Summit, the Partnership will deliver two 90-minute interactive sessions under the banner Going Beyond Just Doing Enough. I have selected the following quotable quotes to provide the reader with a mind map for the Partnership’s component of the Land Summit program.”



“In the first session,” states Richard Boase, “we explain what the Blue Ecology vision for an attitude change looks like through a local government lens. Examples of how to achieve net environmental gain illustrate how to implement an attitude change at the parcel scale,”

“In the second session,” continues Tim Pringle, “we present the methodology and metrics for tackling the Riparian Deficit. And we introduce the training program now underway at Vancouver Island University to prepare next generations of local government staffs. EAP is not an abstract idea!”

“How are Blue Ecology and EAP interconnected?” muses Tim Pringle. “My answer is that Blue Ecology emphasizes the social perspective for protecting watersheds and streams. EAP shows how to achieve that outcome with a financial tool.”



STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Caring for the land means going beyond just doing enough – extracts from “Tim Pringle and Michael Blackstock in conversation”

The BC Land Summit is a watershed moment for showcasing new ideas. The audience is comprised largely of players involved in some form of land-related profession, that is: land appraisal, real estate, land planning, agrology, landscape architecture.

Their thinking is financial to quite an extent. And because EAP is a financial approach, the Partnership anticipates that EAP will resonate. Showing how EAP is an expression of Blue Ecology elevates the conversation to a higher plane. The context for that conversation is DRIPA, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

In this story behind the story, Tim Pringle and Michael Blackstock reflect on their interaction since 2016 and what interconnecting EAP and Blue Ecology is all about.


EAP as an expression of Blue Ecology

Looking back, a provincial Water Sustainability Workshop in Kelowna was the genesis for collaboration between Michael Blackstock and Tim Pringle. Held in 2016, and co-hosted by the Partnership, the Kelowna event initiated the Partnership’s decision to introduce Michael Blackstock’s work to our local government partners.

The Kelowna workshop was a seminal moment. It marks the first time that Michael Blackstock and Tim Pringle made public presentations in a local government setting on Blue Ecology and EAP, respectively.

A 7-year journey, latterly as members of the Watershed Moments Team, is the frame of reference for Michael and Tim’s collaboration since the Kelowna workshop. In the course of this journey, Michael and Tim have been evolving the philosophies and methodologies for Blue Ecology and EAP, respectively.



An attitude change costs nothing: Along the way, Michael and Tim each recognized that the other had the same important message for audiences: take responsibility for care of the land. It was not until the end of 2023, however, that the aha idea clicked for interconnecting Blue Ecology and EAP.

Coupled with the timely invitation to partner with the BC Land Summit Society, the Partnership has a “springboard opportunity” to promote an attitude change grounded in caring for the land.

We are implementers

“I am an implementer. That reflects my career history,” stated Michael Blackstock in conversation with Tim Pringle. “Blue Ecology theory emerged from practice and from my experience on the frontlines as a forester and as a mediator and a negotiator for the provincial government and BC Hydro over the past 35 years. That is where I saw the gap and the need for Blue Ecology.”

“We are both implementers,” Tim Pringle agreed. “When I reflect on my former career as executive director for the Real Estate Foundation, much of it had to do with getting a deeper understanding of WHY and WHAT proponents wanted to do with our funding. I often travelled to where they worked to see situations from their perspectives. This helped me understand how the foundation could support change in communities that would be for the better.”

Understanding begins with a conversation

“So, the story behind this story is that Tim and I recognized our parallel paths and then we joined our efforts,” summarized Michael Blackstock. “We did that because we took time to stop and listen to the perspective on the other side.”



EAP builds on the “big idea” that use and conservation of land are equal values

Tim Pringle agreed with Michael Blackstock’s observation (above), and added that, “The story of how we came together is that, through both Blue Ecology and EAP, we are striving to implement change consistent with the principle that use and conservation of land are equal values. That is the BIG IDEA.”

“Where we come together is in recognizing the importance of water and the environment, or rather the ecological assets, in those two contexts. We both understand that water and ecological assets are key to the wellbeing of our communities and key to each other. The more specific idea is who will take responsibility for care of the land?”

Now what

This prompted Michael to ask Tim, “Has the moment come to reframe ‘ecosystem services’ as ‘gifts of nature’? If it does not get measured, it does not get managed. EAP helps us measure and assess the trade-offs; and helps us understand when it is time to just let the land heal.”



Blue Ecology is a collaborative framework for action at the local scale where communities decide to take action

“Blue Ecology is about interweaving two ways of knowing through a collaborative framework that would help facilitate how Indigenous, provincial and local governments work as leaders on a common problem, the climate crisis. I believe the public intuitively understands ‘water is life’, and therefore why the Province would focus on water as the core strategy in climate action,” explained Michael Blackstock.

“I agree with your thesis,” stated Tim Pringle. “The foundational ideas behind what we advocate are IMPLEMENTATION and RESPONSIBILITY. And there is a third idea named OPPORTUNITY. By interconnecting Blue Ecology and EAP, we are also creating a common opportunity. Once all the players acknowledge the common opportunity and goal, it makes it that much easier to understand the philosophy behind Indigenous and Western approaches.”

What interweaving means

“Blue Ecology is a tested and credible pathway to hope and reconciliation. By translating what interweaving Indigenous knowledge and Western science means in practical terms for water resource management, the hope is that public service managers will understand and buy-in to the idea,” concluded Michael Blackstock.


To learn more about Blue Ecology, download a copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Oral history extends the period of record and our understanding of what the data mean.


Living Water Smart in British Columbia Series

To download a copy of the foregoing resource as a PDF document for your records and/or sharing, click on Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Caring for the land means going beyond just doing enough. The downloadable version includes a Bonus Feature – more from “Tim Pringle and Michael Blackstock in conversation”.

DOWNLOAD A COPY:  https://waterbucket.ca/wcp/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2024/01/PWSBC_Living-Water-Smart_EAP-is-an-expression-of-Blue-Ecology_2024.pdf