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EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process

YOUTUBE VIDEO: “In researching tools for local governments to manage natural assets, we discovered EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process initiative, and were intrigued by both their focus on stakeholder collaboration and their unique and straightforward method of valuation,” stated Judy O’Leary, Network Coordinator for the Climate Caucus (May 2022)


“The Climate Caucus is really interested in learning about local government staff experience with EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, and other approaches to managing natural assets. The goal of our project is to provide our elected members with a better understanding of this area. how much of this work could local govt staff do themselves? Where could they get data and outside help if needed? Could small places with minimal capacity manage this? Could it apply to natural assets other than riverine habitats? How is it different from MNAI’s approach?” stated Judy O’Leary.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENTS NEED REAL NUMBERS TO DELIVER GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE OUTCOMES: “Decisions by elected Councils and Boards are made at the parcel scale. Getting it right about the financial valuation of ecological services starts at the parcel scale and recognizing that every parcel is interconnected within a system. EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is the only ecological methodology that deals with the parcel,” stated Tim Pringle, EAP Chair, when the Partnership for Water Sustainability released a downloadable resource about the story behind the story of EAP as part of its Living Water Smart Series (March 2022)


“Land supports assets that provide services, and the decisions about land are made at the parcel scale. Communities are tied to the past through historical subdivision of land. Restoring the health of natural systems within the built environment means we must understand the ‘biology of land use’. The human analogy is DNA. The strength of EAP is in how it looks at and values streams as systems and as a land use. A stream corridor is a land use because it satisfies two criteria: it is defined in Riparian Areas Protection Regulations Act, and it has a financial value,” stated Tim Pringle.

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ABOUT EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “Local governments need real numbers to deliver green infrastructure outcomes. It is that simple. Tim Pringle’s unusual blend of education and career experience sets him apart from the usual suspects in the ‘ecological services crowd’. He is a sociologist who has a working knowledge of real estate finance. This experience propelled his breakthrough in developing the metrics for EAP,” observed Kim Stephens (March 2022)


“Tim Pringle has demonstrated why and how ‘the parcel’ holds the key to integrating line items for maintenance and management (M&M) of streams systems in asset management budgets. Local government elected representatives and staff understand the parcel perspective because this is what they work with every day. Tim Pringle emphasizes that decisions by elected Councils and Boards are made at the parcel scale. Getting it right about financial valuation of ecological services starts at the parcel scale. EAP is the only ecological methodology that deals with the parcel,” stated Kim Stephens.

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ARTICLE: Stream Corridor Management – in a local government asset management strategy that considers the natural environment, are streams worth the same as constructed assets? (Construction Business Magazine, Jan-Feb 2022)


Beginning in 2006, Construction Business magazine has published an article every two years about the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. “I contact industry experts regularly to share insights on important issues for our readers. Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability is one such expert that I turn to when seeking information on water related topics whether it’s strategies, policies, programs, or sustainability. His knowledge and contributions are much appreciated in our efforts to provide the most relevant information to the industry,” stated Cheryl Mah.

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GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CONTINUUM IS A METAPHOR FOR HOPE: “The state-of-the-art in the United States is now close to where British Columbia was in 2005. In the meantime, we have continued to progress and evolve our systems approach, and this is why the story of EAP is an essential read,” stated Kim Stephens when the Partnership for Water Sustainability released a downloadable resource introducing the ‘green infrastructure continuum’ as an organizing idea (February 2022)


“We use the term ‘green infrastructure continuum’ to frame how green infrastructure understanding and the state-of-the-art around it are building on experience and evolving over time. The continuum idea provides context for milestones on the green infrastructure journey in British Columbia. The continuum idea is a metaphor for hope. It allows us to answer the question, how well are we doing? The green infrastructure continuum is the way we measure progress to achieve the Living Water Smart vision for creating liveable communities and protecting stream health,” stated Kim Stephens.

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ASSET MANAGEMENT CONTINUUM POINTS THE WAY TO EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “It is all about the service. Basically, well-maintained infrastructure assets are worthless IF they do not provide a service. Also, for any asset management approach to be successful, it must not focus on the infrastructure asset by itself,” stated Guy Felio, infrastructure management and resilience specialist, in his keynote address at the 2017 Asset Management BC Annual Conference


“Lack of data and certainty has not stopped municipalities from providing services, managing their assets, and making effective and efficient use of their scarce resources. Extreme weather and future climate uncertainty is another variable to consider; but where to start? There are no reasons not to consider climate uncertainty in asset management. Ultimately, the focus is on the service and the community, and ensuring critical assets maintain functionality during the extreme event, and recover quickly any functionality lost!”

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REPORT ON: “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 application projects undertaken as part of a multi-year program of applied research by the Partnership for Water Sustainability (October 2021)


“Decision-making is the key. In the City of Victoria, we are creating new ways of making decisions about what we do with our assets, whether they be natural or hard. Embracing EAP would introduce a structured asset planning approach. It provides metrics for integrating natural assets into the municipal infrastructure inventory and place them on an equal footing with constructed/engineered assets. This provides a starting point for a balanced conversation about the services that the natural and constructed assets both provide. EAP will be used for Bowker Creek, and for future planning and decision-making,” stated Trina Buhler.

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EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, IS GAME-CHANGING: “EAP provides communities with a philosophy, pragmatic methodology and metrics to make the financial case for annual investment to prevent degradation and improve the condition of ecological assets that constitute a stream corridor system,” stated Kim Stephens, when the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC released its report on the Financial Case for Bowker Creek in the Capital Regional District (October 2021)


“Use of EAP to establish the ‘financial case for the stream’ would put maintenance and management (M&M) of stream corridor systems on an equal footing with constructed assets (municipal infrastructure). Once local governments embrace a guiding philosophy that ecological services and use of land for development are equally important, then the next step is for them to include M&M budgets for stream systems in their Asset Management Plans. This would begin the process of reconnecting hydrology and stream ecology by design.” stated Kim Stephens.

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


“Asset management and ecological frameworks are merging closer than ever before. This is good news as Saanich continues to catalogue and valuate storm water natural assets with the intent of establishing resources to steward both hard, linear infrastructure and natural systems alike. Modern asset methodologies can sync well with other frameworks, such as EAP, which provides additional tools and metrics to improve maintenance and management across the District, and in collaboration with our regional partners on such initiatives as the Bowker Creek Initiative,” stated Lesley Hatch.

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EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, IS GAME-CHANGING: “With all the talk about integrating natural assets into asset management, the players forget that nature is a system. They focus too much on specific aspects of the system, rather than its interrelated functions,” stated Tim Pringle, EAP Chair, when the Partnership for Water Sustainability released a downloadable resource about the EAP program as part of its Living Water Smart Series (October 19, 2021)


“Once communities make the mental transition to view ecological services as core local government services, the change in mind-set should lead to this question: how can we do things better? EAP interweaves financial, social, and ecological perspectives within a single number to establish the financial case for a stream corridor system. This aggregate number 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. This alone is a game-changer,” stated Tim Pringle.

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