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Reports & Publications

ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: What’s in a Number?” – ‘story behind the story’ of the methodology and metrics (released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in October 2022)


“Three decades ago, the philosophy that ‘use and conservation of land are equal values’ launched Tim Pringle on a career trajectory that has culminated with his breakthrough accomplishment in leading the EAP initiative. EAP opens ups multiple pathways for local governments to achieve the goal of ‘natural asset management’. Now, with EAP as a foundation piece, maintenance and management (M&M) of stream systems can be integrated into a Local Government Finance Strategy to tackle the Riparian Deficit,” stated Kim Stephens.

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SYNTHESIS REPORT ON ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, A BC STRATEGY FOR COMMUNITY INVESTMENT IN STREAM SYSTEMS: “The EAP story is about a journey, one that began circa 1990. Three decades later, parallel tracks have converged in the form of EAP. It has been a building blocks process,” stated Kim Stephens when the Partnership for Water Sustainability released a guidance document flowing from a 6-year program of applied research (June 2022)


“Know your history. Understand the context. These are key thoughts, and they provide perspective for the story of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, as told in the Synthesis Report. EAP provides local governments with the philosophy, methodology and metrics they need to make the financial case for stream systems. Maintenance and management (M&M) of stream systems can now be integrated into a Local Government Finance Strategy for sustainable infrastructure funding. The 6-year program of applied research to test, refine and mainstream EAP provides local government with a path forward to address the Riparian Deficit,” stated Kim Stephens.

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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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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: “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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DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: “EAP bridges a gap. It provides local government with a methodology and metrics for integrating natural assets, notably stream corridor systems, into municipal infrastructure,” states Tim Pringle, Chair of the Ecological Accounting Process initiative, when explaining A Busy Reader’s Guide to Understanding EAP (August 2021)


“The EAP methodology and metrics recognize the importance of the stream system in the landscape. In connecting the dots, the EAP program supports local governments adopting an integrated approach to life-cycle maintenance and management, or M&M, of the drainage service. The integrated approach recognizes that constructed infrastructure and stream systems are inter-connected components of the drainage service. Effective M&M of stream systems requires local government commitment backed by line items in annual budgets,” stated Tim Pringle.

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DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: “The methodology and metrics for measuring the Riparian Deficit have been tested, refined and mainstreamed through a building blocks process that is founded on EAP demonstration applications,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC (August 2021)


“EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, bridges a gap. It provides local government with a methodology and metrics for integrating natural assets, notably stream corridor systems, into municipal infrastructure. EAP uses real numbers, not hypothetical assumptions, to establish the financial value of the stream corridor system. In a nutshell, the EAP methodology and metrics recognize the importance of the stream system in the landscape. EAP focuses on the historical and current land use practices that have changed landscapes and modified hydrology,” stated Kim Stephens.

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“Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Accounting for Stream Systems in Asset Management”, a downloadable version of an article published on Waterbucket eNews about application of the Ecological Accounting Process to the Millstone River in the Regional District of Nanaimo (Vancouver Island), released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in June 2021


The driver for EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is degradation of stream channels and streamside protection areas. “Accounting for our region’s natural assets is part of responsible asset management that includes ecological systems as well as physical infrastructure. This report has given the Regional District of Nanaimo, as well as the City of Nanaimo, further insight as we develop our existing framework for the protection and enhancement of our important natural features in our communities, including stream corridors,” stated Tyler Brown, RDN Chair.

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