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EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is a BC Strategy for Community Investment in Stream Systems (Natural Commons)

CONVENING FOR ACTION AT THE 2024 BC LAND SUMMIT: “Held in Nanaimo, the summit showcased the transition strategy for the passing of an intergenerational baton from the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC to create an EAP centre of excellence at Vancouver Island University,” stated Anna Lawrence, Program Coordinator in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute for EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process


Because the audience comprised players involved in the land professions, the BC Land Summit was a watershed moment for showcasing new ideas. “The session about the Ecological Accounting Process began with Tim Pringle detailing EAP and its nine demonstration applications in local governments in BC. Then I spoke about Year 1 of the three-year transition strategy to transfer the knowledge and methodology of EAP from the Partnership to VIU. We concluded with a pre-recorded video segment by Sam Gerrand about incorporating EAP into his Master’s thesis,” stated Anna Lawrence.

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EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, IS A FINANCIAL TOOL TO HELP STREAMS SURVIVE: “We are in a 3-year transition strategy to embed EAP at Vancouver Island University. We can see the many directions EAP could take,” stated Anna Lawrence, Project Coordinator, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute at VIU


“There are so many different parts to EAP. And with each part you can go down a distinct pathway that helps local governments. I am very focused on the 3-year transition strategy because Year One was just trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible. It was a juggling process with many moving parts and trying to keep them all in balance. But Year One is now behind us. We are envisioning other areas of research as potential EAP projects.. And so, we look forward to sharing our EAP experience at the BC Land Summit,” stated Anna Lawrence.

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EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, IS AN EXPRESSION OF BLUE ECOLOGY: “Both are all about a restorative framework and mindset. This means restoring the interconnectivity and function of natural systems in a way that truly represents their importance,” stated Richard Boase, career environmental champion within local government


“We must do a better job of protecting streams. I am in a position now to reflect on this because I believe I have earned that right over the course of a 30-year career. Given how much I have seen, done and been exposed to in my local government career, it is fair for me to reflect on what has happened and comment on why local governments have not been as successful as we would have wanted. But we must focus on the path forward so that we protect or enhance stream systems in the built environment,” stated Richard Boase.

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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


“Because nature is a system, you cannot slice and dice it. EAP recognizes this and is a financial tool to give streams the support they need to survive. EAP provides a value picture of a stream system as a land use. How are Blue Ecology and EAP interconnected? Blue Ecology emphasizes the social perspective for protecting watersheds and streams. EAP shows how to achieve that outcome. EAP builds on the ‘big idea’ that use and conservation of land are equal values. Where Blue Ecology and EAP come together is in recognizing the importance of water and ecological assets in those two contexts,” stated Tim Pringle.

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FOCUS ON THE HEALTH OF STREAM CORRIDORS: “There is a need for a new approach to hydrologic design, Jim Dumont advocated in the mid-2000s. So, Fergus Creek became the pilot,” stated Rémi Dubé, former Drainage Planning Manager with the City of Surrey


By the late 2000s, Surrey was poised to move beyond pilot projects to a broader watershed-based objectives approach. And they did as of 2008 when Council passed am enabling bylaw. From that bold leap forward emerged the framework for Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. The genesis for the strategy was the green solutions concept in the Fergus Creek plan. The innovation in the Fergus Creek plan flowed from collaboration between Surrey engineering and planning staff and with Jim Dumont, a water resource innovator and thought leader.

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SCIENCE, WATERSHED-BASED DRAINAGE PLANNING AND EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS – “EAP is thinking about more purposefully managing creeks and ponds that are integrated into our stormwater drainage infrastructure,” stated Dr. Dave Preikshot, Senior Environmental Specialist with the Municipality of North Cowichan


“EAP has a very practical application. MNC is very limited in its ability to manage agricultural land. What we are really seeking to achieve through our involvement in the EAP Partnership is an understanding of what policy options are available to us to work with the farming community. MNC is assessing ways to work with the farming community to implement riparian management changes because you really need to think in terms of the whole-system ecosystem. The stream corridor is part of a bigger story, and it is integrating that into a bigger story,” stated Dr. Dave Preikshot.

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PARTNERSHIP FOR WATER SUSTAINABILITY PASSES ECOLOGICAL ACOUNTING BATON TO VANCOUVER ISLAND UNIVERSITY: “EAP is cutting edge. It is innovative, very new and very unique. And it has the ability to really change the game,” stated Graham Sakaki, Regional Research Institute Manager


“The EAP Partnership was set up in a really unique, really valuable and viable way right from the beginning. The Partnership for Water Sustainability made the connections to the three local governments. Vancouver Island University, as a smaller university, is very focused on applied research and community engagement. This is a good fit for the EAP mission. There are lots of partnerships that exist for selfish reasons. But the EAP Partnership is selfless, and from all angles. It is a leap of faith for member local governments. Partnership for Water Sustainability commitment to passing the baton is unwavering,” stated Graham Sakaki.

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RIPARIAN AREA REGULATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: With development of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, the Partnership for Water Sustainability honours the memory and legacy of the late Erik Karlsen who did so much for streamside protection in British Columbia


The 2014 investigation and Striking a Balance report by the BC Ombudsperson identified “significant gaps between the process the provincial government had established when the Riparian Areas Protection Regulation was enacted and the level of oversight that was actually in place.” Erik Karlsen was concerned about the Ombudsperson’s findings. In 2015, he created a matrix to explain how to integrate two foundational concepts – Daniel Pauly’s “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” and Richard Horner and Chris May’s “Road Map for Protecting Stream System Integrity” – that provide a path forward for restoring riparian integrity.

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THE MISSION IS TO DEVELOP NEXT GENERATIONS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFFS: “The partnership between local governments and the MABRRI research institute at Vancouver Island University is the pilot for upscaling EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process,” stated Murray Walters, Manager of Water Services, Regional District of Nanaimo


A theme dominating the news these days is the shortage of skilled, trained or qualified people. The EAP Partnership is part of the solution in the local government setting. Investing in people takes patience, commitment and time. There is no shortcut to build in-house capacity. The partners have committed to investing in youth at Vancouver Island University so that they have the understanding to apply EAP. “We are applying EAP to relatively small scale streams to illustrate its usefulness and effectiveness. The application of EAP will grow from there, I am sure,” stated Murray Walters.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENTS INVEST IN YOUTH AT VANCOUVER ISLAND UNIVERSITY: “Partnerships with local governments and others are essential. They allow students to work on collaborative projects. Everyone benefits,” stated Graham Sakaki, Manager, Mount Arrowsmith Regional Research Institute


“There are lots of partnerships that exist for selfish reasons. But the EAP Partnership is selfless; and from all angles. It is a leap of faith for member local governments. Partnership for Water Sustainability commitment to passing the baton is unwavering. Vancouver Island University is all-in because EAP is an idea that can change the game. And students are excited to contribute to the change. Students will be creating a portfolio of professionals who they know. These are important relationships for them to make. And they are gaining important knowledge too,” stated Graham Sakaki.

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