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Ecological Accounting Process

VALUATION OF NATURE’S SERVICES: “Quantifying and valuing nature are complex tasks. Undertaking them alters our conception of nature. As a result of it, nature appears more fragmented,” wrote Professor John Henneberry (University of Sheffield) in a ‘think piece’ published in The Conversation (Dec 2018)


“Over the last decade, an industry has developed that values different aspects of nature in different ways,” wrote John Henneberry. “Nature appears more fragmented because we have to slice it into categories and dice those categories into bits before we can value bits of those bits. The sum of these parts is far short of the whole and does not capture the interconnectedness and holism of nature. In addition, our view of nature is biased to those aspects of it that can be measured and particularly to those that can be valued.”

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REPORT ON: “Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process for Watershed Assessment: Busy Place Creek (Sh-hwuykwselu) Demonstration Application in the Cowichan Valley” (Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC; released 2018)


Like many small creeksheds, Busy Place Creek (Sh-hwuykwselu) lies in more than one authority with jurisdiction. Its upland source and discharge to the Koksilah River are in Cowichan Tribes lands, including the Cowichan-Koksilah estuary, which it nourishes. There is an opportunity to interweave Indigenous knowledge and Western science in building a strong collaboration around hydrology. “Sh-hwuykwselu belongs in our lives,” stated Tim Kulchyski when he provided historical context from a Cowichan Tribes perspective.

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OPINION PIECE: “Public Sector Accounting Board must seize options to begin allowing governments to consider natural assets on the balance sheet,” says Roy Brooke (Nov 2018)


“Local government efforts to account for natural assets… run afoul of Canadian public sector accounting rules, which do not allow accountants to consider natural assets to be ‘real’ assets for financial purposes,” stated Roy Brooke. “This could — and should — change, however, as the result of an ongoing consultation led by Canada’s Public Sector Accounting Board. They develop the Handbook that guides Canada’s public sector accountants, and this consultation is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make adjustments to the concepts underlying our Canadian public sector accounting standards.”

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REPORT ON: “Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process for Watershed Assessment: Brooklyn Creek Demonstration Application in the Comox Valley” (Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC; released September 2018)


“The concept of natural capital and natural assets can be a challenge to integrate effectively into asset management practices,” stated Kim Stephens. “Local governments need ‘real numbers’ to deliver outcomes and support decision making. EAP – Ecological Accounting Process – deals with a basic question: what is a creekshed WORTH, now and in future, to the community and various intervenors? Selection of Brooklyn Creek as an ‘EAP Demonstration Application’ was made possible by the willingness of the Town of Comox to participate in a program funded by the governments of Canada and BC.”

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VIDEO: “The Town of Comox is a leader among municipalities in taking care of a ‘creekshed’ and enjoying a package of ecological services provided by it,” stated Tim Pringle when he debriefed Council about the Brooklyn Creek Demonstration Application of the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP)


“This demonstration application of the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) has endeavoured to establish what the Brooklyn Creekshed may be worth from the point of view of investments made in the lower catchment by the Town of Comox and other intervenors / managers. As well, this demonstration application of a systems approach provides context for identifying future opportunities to access more ecological services from the middle and upper catchments of the creekshed to serve human demands as well as the intrinsic needs of nature,” stated Tim Pringle.

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MUNICIPAL NATURAL ASSET MANAGEMENT IN BC: “We’re aiming to translate enthusiastic interest in our home-grown approach into real-world practice in municipalities and asset management organizations around the world,” says Emanuel Machado, CAO, Town of Gibsons


“We get it. It can feel incredibly daunting to implement a significant change to your established systems – even when there’s clear evidence that change will almost certainly help improve decision-making, reduce asset funding requirements and advance your community’s resilience to climate change over the long-term,” states Emanuel Machado. “That’s why the Town of Gibsons was first inspired to create “Advancing Municipal Natural Asset Management: The Town of Gibsons’ experience in financial planning and reporting” – otherwise known as ‘Advancing MNAM’.”

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ARTICLE: A pillar of Sustainable Watershed Systems, the Ecological Accounting Process has the potential to transform how communities make decisions about creekshed restoration (an op-ed published in the Vancouver Sun (June 2, 2018)


Hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services. Thus, integration of the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s work within the BC Framework should accelerate implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach at the heart of the Partnership’s ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’ program. “The Ecological Accounting Process, EAP, establishes what the definable benefits of ecological services derived from creekshed hydrology are, what they may be worth to stakeholders, and how they may be maintained and enhanced,” wrote Tim Pringle.

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YOUTUBE VIDEO: “The worth of a creekshed is a package of ecological services made possible by the hydrology,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (EAP), an initiative of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“EAP would help stakeholders / managers determine whether or not they should change practices and adopt new strategies regarding the ecological systems in the stream corridor, riparian zone and the entire watershed. EAP would contribute to a range of stakeholder interests and needs,” stated Tim Pringle. “Taking action would depend on what they think the creekshed is worth. The next step is doing. A strategy is the path to success, and becomes our primary interface with the world.”

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DOWNLOAD: Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) for Watershed Assessment (released at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium, April 2018)


“The Symposium provided a platform for a call for action because adapting to climate change requires transformation in how we value nature and service land. An informed stewardship sector can be a catalyst for action on Vancouver Island and beyond, through collaboration with local government,” stated Kim Stephens. “Tim Pringle shared demonstration application anecdotes about EAP, a whole-system view of watersheds that assesses hydrology in order to accurately describe ecological services.”

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Early outcomes of ‘Ecological Accounting Process’ showcased at Blue Ecology Workshop (November 2017) – “This unique approach accounts for the ecological services made possible by watershed hydrology,” said Tim Pringle, EAP Chair


“Initially, we saw EAP as a tool (i.e. ‘the protocol’) that would help practitioners calculate the opportunity cost of balancing ecological services with drainage infrastructure. However, our thinking has evolved over the past year. Testing the approach through two demonstration applications has resulted in this defining conclusion: EAP is a process, not a protocol. Thus, we are rebranding EAP as the Ecological Accounting Process,” stated Tim Pringle.

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