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Contextual Resources

IN MEMORIAM: “The University of Sheffield’s John Henneberry (1952-2021) was a source of inspiration for me when we were initially developing the methodology and metrics for EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process. He identified the same methodological problems that we experienced in quantifying the financial value of ecological services. Natural systems do not dissect conveniently in order to be quantified and given financial value,” stated Tim Pringle, EAP Chair (October 2021)


The range of issues John Henneberry (1952-2021) tackled was formidable. He worked alongside botanists, hydrologists, psychologists as well as economists, political scientists, geographers, planners and landscape architects, impressing all colleagues with his keenness to work with them and to grasp debates in other disciplines. He was especially good at motivating colleagues and bringing them together to work on socially relevant research. His approach was an inspiration to all. It was also why John was a great teacher and much admired by all his students.

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“Nature is often just seen as kind of in the way of prosperity. What we’re saying is that nature is crucial to prosperity,” stated Gretchen Daily, a professor of biology at Stanford University


Gretchen Daily has spent more than 30 years developing the scientific underpinnings of natural capital and is the co-founder of the Natural Capital Project. “For decades people have been noting the shortcomings of GDP, but politically it’s always been too fraught to remedy. It’s time to deploy something new,” stated Gretchen Daily. The idea of Gross Ecosystem Product is, in many ways, a culmination of much of Daily’s work. Along with others, she has lobbied the United Nations to make it an official metric.

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CONTEXT FOR THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “The defining struggle of our time, and our future, will be the tension between Mother Nature and human nature. So, more of us need to think differently about who and what we are dealing with here,” stated Michele Norris, Washington Post columnist (July 2021)


“Earth provides nutrition and sustenance. She coddles us and protects us. And what have we done in return? We treat her the way we too often treat our mothers. We ignore her advice. We place our needs above hers. We imagine she can magically make any problem go away — perhaps because we take for granted the toil of our real mothers who dusted us off when we faltered and stretched a pound of meatloaf to feed a family of six. And now, as we can plainly see, we have underestimated her wrath,” stated Michele Norris

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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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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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A PROPERLY FUNCTIONING ‘NATURAL COMMONS’ SUPPORTS A PACKAGE OF ECOLOGICAL SERVICES: Ecological Accounting Process, EAP, is a pragmatic ‘made in British Columbia’ approach to financial valuation of the ecological services supplied by a stream


“The EAP program has three stages: Test / Refine / Mainstream. During 2017 and 2018, two Stage 1 demonstration applications tested the concept, and demonstrated EAP relevance to local government. In 2019, two Stage 2 demonstration applications resulted in working definitions and consistent application of the EAP methodology. In 2020 and 2021, six Stage 3 demonstration applications will mainstream use of EAP. The grand total of ten demonstration applications will encompass a range of land use situations in five regional districts,” stated Kim Stephens.

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NATURAL ASSETS AS ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS & SERVICES: “EAP demonstration applications have yielded three defining conclusions. These go to the heart of how practitioners look at the world around us,” says Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process Initiative


EAP is the culmination of a 30-year journey by Tim Pringle. He has thought about and worked hard to develop and evolve a guiding philosophy, pragmatic strategy and meaningful metrics for valuing the services provided by nature. “Residents and property owners are familiar with constructed commons services – roads, potable water, storm sewers and many other ongoing services. They expect these services to endure. Similarly, communities expect the ecological services provided by the natural commons to be enduring,” stated Tim Pringle.

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Ecological Accounting Process / A BC Strategy for Community Investment in the Natural Commons: “Ecological services are not merely residual outcomes of land use; rather, they are core local government services,” states Tim Pringle, EAP Chair


“The idea of a natural commons supporting a package of ecological services which the community wants and expects to have implies that approved plans for land development should not result in ecological services being merely residual outcomes – that is, the community should be happy with what is left. Rather, their maintenance and management (M&M) should be planned as core municipal services,” stated Tim Pringle.

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