Category:

Ecological Accounting Process

DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: Millstone River in the Regional District of Nanaimo, completed in March 2021


“The EAP methodology reflects the understanding that landowners adjacent to the stream corridor and setback zone and the broader community share responsibility for and benefit from the condition of the stream as well as the financial and ecological value of the land it occupies. The report suggests a general framework for local governments to consider in using the lens of ecological accounting within Corporate Asset Management Plans,” stated Julie Pisani.

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REPORT ON: “Millstone River – A Natural Commons in the Regional District of Nanaimo: Operationalizing the Ecological Accounting Process for Financial Valuation of Stream Corridor Systems within an Asset Management Plan” (Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC; released March 2021)


“The Millstone project provided the RDN, the City of Nanaimo and local stewardship group Island Waters Fly Fishers with the opportunity to get a real measure that accounts for the value and worth of the Millstone River stream corridor in asset management planning. They now have the numbers to make the case for M&M (maintenance and management) of the Millstone. The Millstone River EAP project has provided the RDN with a path forward so that it could account for and operationalize M&M of stream corridor systems across the region,” stated Kim Stephens.

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ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: “Local governments require a methodology and metrics to operationalize ‘maintenance and management’ (M&M) of stream corridor systems under the umbrella of their Asset Management Plans,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair of the Ecological Accounting Process Initiative, in an article published in the Winter 2021 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter


“A central idea of the EAP methodology is that a stream system has a ‘package of ecological services’.  This concept refers to the combined range of uses desired by the community. Three key words capture the essence of what the phrase ‘range of uses’ means, namely: drainage, recreation and habitat. This is plain language that elected Councils and Boards understand,” stated Tim Pringle. “The EAP methodology has evolved as we have learned from, and adapted, each successive case study application. Each situation is unique, but the approach is universally applicable.”

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STUDENT INVOLVEMENT AS A FOUNDATIONAL PIECE: “The Partnership’s vision is to nest EAP within a university program for training the next generation of land use professionals. We see this as a key element of mainstreaming EAP,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (January 2021)


Tim Pringle has introduced three concepts for operationalizing maintenance and management of stream corridors and their regulated riparian areas within local government Asset Management Plans: 1) Streams are Natural Commons; 2) A Stream in Settled Areas is a Land Use; and 3) A Stream is an Ecological System that has Worth. “The philosophy, methodology and metrics for EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, recognize the importance of a stream system in the landscape,” stated Tim Pringle.

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NATURAL ASSETS AS ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS AND SERVICES: “The Town of Gibsons has pioneered an approach to natural asset management which aligns with the mission of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. This synergy reinforces our respective efforts to change how local governments view and value ecological assets,” Kim Stephens told Mayor and Council when he presented the Town with a Champion Supporter award (September 2020)


“This award is really recognition of our staff, in particular our CAO, and the work that he and others have done in this very important area,” stated Mayor Bill Beamish. “The current Council was elected in 2018 and we are continually being educated in terms of natural assets and natural assets management. It is a true feather in the cap of the Town of Gibsons that we are getting recognition outside the community. At some point, I hope that (the Town’s accomplishments) will be recognized as strongly within the community. There is still work to be done in that area.”

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DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: “The purpose of EAP is to enable local governments to establish values for the ecological services of streams and the land occupied by the stream,” states Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (September 2020)


“Natural assets support the delivery of core local government services, while doing so much more. EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is a multi-year program in British Columbia that is facilitating the move from awareness to action that accounts for ecological systems and services. What do you wonder about the EAP? In response to queries from the curious, the Partnership for Water Sustainability has prepared a 2-page downloadable resource that paints a picture of the EAP methodology in general terms. It is written to inform a high-level and introductory conversation,” stated Tim Pringle.

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FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS FOR ENHANCEMENT AND RESTORATION OF THE NATURAL COMMONS IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: “The starting point for application of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is recognition that local governments have existing tools in the form of policies and legislation for ‘maintenance and management’ (M&M) of ecological assets within riparian corridors,” wrote Tim Pringle, EAP Chair, in the report on the application of EAP to Shelly Creek on the east coast of Vancouver Island (February 2020)


“Until now, what local governments have lacked are a pragmatic methodology for financial valuation, and meaningful metrics that go to the heart of sustainable service delivery. EAP provides metrics that enable communities to appreciate the worth of ecological assets,” stated Tim Pringle. Six foundational and cascading concepts underpin the EAP methodology and provide a mind-map. The M&M acronym is a starting point for encouraging practitioners to think holistically about the relationship between hydrology and ecology.

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A KEY TAKEAWAY FROM APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS TO SHELLY CREEK VALUATION: “Over decades of disturbance, ‘riparian ecosystems’ have become reduced to ‘riparian zones’ as shown on the maps of today,” stated Peter Law, President of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, in commenting on how ecological systems and services are compromised by land development


“An alternative term, riparian network, could also be used to describe a system composed of a physical stream channel and adjacent riparian (vegetated) corridor. This system provides a critical ecological function in linking terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in a watershed or creekshed. A common history of land uses on the east coast of Vancouver Island and other regions in BC has been the fragmentation of the riparian network in both rural and urbanizing landscapes. Over decades of disturbance, a landscape’s ecological links/services decline as it’s economic (land use) linkages increase,” stated Peter Law.

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DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: Kilmer Creek in the District of North Vancouver, completed in June 2020


“EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, addresses this question: How do communities decide how much to invest in the natural commons? The EAP methodology and metrics enable a local government to determine the WORTH of the natural commons, with ‘worth’ being the foundation for an annual budget for maintenance and maintenance of ecological assets. Application of the EAP methodology can help to inform an investment strategy for protection and/or restoration of ecological-hydrological function,” stated Tim Pringle.

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REPORT ON: “Kilmer Creek Re-Alignment in the District of North Vancouver: Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process for Financial Valuation” (Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC; released June 2020)


“The report introduces new terminology – such as, the NATURAL COMMONS ASSET. The NCA is the portion of the stream defined by the set-back area required by streamside protection regulations. Often the NCA is augmented by contiguous natural area, such as parkland. This larger area is the Natural Commons Area. In addition, the report emphasizes the acronym M&M to draw attention to the distinction between these objectives as strategies: MAINTENANCE, which means ‘prevent degradation’; and MANAGEMENT, which means ‘improve the condition’,” stated Kim Stephens.

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