DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: Busy Place Creek (Sh-hwuykwselu) in the Cowichan Valley, completed July 2018
Like many small creeksheds, Busy Place Creek (Sh-hwuykwselu) lies in more than one authority with jurisdiction within the watershed. Its upland source and discharge to the Koksilah River are in Cowichan Tribes lands, including the Cowichan-Koksilah estuary, which it nourishes. The mid-reach lies in the Cowichan Valley Regional District jurisdiction (CVRD). “Selection of Sh-hwuykwselu as an ‘EAP Demonstration Application’ was made possible by CVRD willingness to participate in a program funded by the governments of Canada and British Columbia,” stated Kim Stephens.
DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: Brooklyn Creek in the Comox Valley, completed August 2018
“Through the multi-year strategy to maintain and enhance the lower catchment of Brooklyn Creek, the Town of Comox and its collaborators have provided a working example of understanding the worth of the creekshed, its hydrology, and ecological systems. This effort confirms the need for similar investment in other catchments of the creekshed,” stated Tim Pringle. “The EAP analyses have described what the Town’s residents and key intervenors think the Brooklyn creekshed is worth. The understanding gained will be shared with other local governments.”
ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “Looking through the ‘worth lens’ culminated in a fundamental shift in philosophy regarding how to value natural assets in Comox,” stated Marvin Kamenz, the Town’s Municipal Planner, in his presentation at the Parksville 2019 Symposium – watch on YouTube!
At Parksville 2019, Marvin Kamenz elaborated on three building blocks in the evolution of the Town’s incremental process for implementing changes in development practices: lower Brooklyn Corridor, North East Comox, and new areas tributary to the middle Brooklyn Corridor. “The Town of Comox recognizes that ecological services are core municipal services,” stated Marvin Kamenz. “For the middle reach of Brooklyn Creek, we changed the approach to stormwater management in mid-project to focus on the protection and enhancement of the ‘Package of Ecological Services’.”
DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: “The essence of why collaboration works is that it increases the impact for everyone – and that’s the social lens for EAP,” explained Tim Pringle, EAP Chair, after the Partnership for Water Sustainability released ‘An Introduction to the Ecological Accounting Process’ at the Parksville 2019 Symposium (April 2019)
“The ecological accounting process (EAP) provides metrics that enable communities to appreciate the worth of natural assets. These resources provide numerous public benefits in the form of ecological services,” stated Tim Pringle. “EAP also calculates the dollar value of the land occupied by the natural commons, thus providing a basis for budgeting maintenance and enhancement expenditures. The natural commons has a corollary – the constructed commons.”
Ecological Accounting Process and Water Balance Methodology – the twin pillars of a whole-system, water balance vision for restorative land development in British Columbia, an approach branded as “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”
“Development of the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) began in 2015. The EAP vision was first unveiled in Beyond the Guidebook 2015. This was the third in a series that builds on Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia, released by the provincial government in 2002,” states Kim Stephens. “Beyond the Guidebook 2015 introduced the notion of the ‘twin pillars’ – that is, EAP and the Water Balance Methodology – for asset management strategies that achieve the goal of ‘sustainable watershed systems’.”
YOUTUBE VIDEOS: Worth of Ecological Services – “What are the commons? Those are places in the community that everyone has a right to access, and draw value from. There are two kinds of commons – natural and constructed,” stated Tim Pringle, Chair of the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) Initiative, at the Parksville 2019 Symposium
“EAP offers some insights on the importance of considering the natural commons as systems that residents, property owners and local governments rely on, but understand only to a limited extent,” stated Tim Pringle. “The commons are those resources in the community that are shared by and available to all residents and property owners. From a human settlement point of view, the reality of the commons provides a way to understand the social realities of managing ecological systems. EAP helps communities calculate what ecological services are worth.”
How Ian McHarg Taught Generations to ‘Design With Nature’ – Fifty years ago, a Scottish landscape architect revolutionized how designers and planners think about ecology. His legacy matters now more than ever.
In the introductory chapter, McHarg framed his argument: “Our eyes do not divide us from the world, but they unite us to it…Let us abandon the simplicity of separation and give unity its due. Let us abandon the self-mutilation which has been our way and give expression to the potential harmony of man-nature … Man is that uniquely conscious creature who can perceive and express. He must become the steward of the biosphere. To do this, he must design with nature.”
CHILDREN’S AFFILIATIONS WITH NATURE: Structure, Development, and the Problem of Environmental Generational Amnesia – studies by Peter Kahn, Professor of Psychology at University of Washington, describe why each generation regards a progressively poorer natural world as normal
How do children reason about environmental problems? Are there universal features in children’s environmental conceptions and values? How important is it that children and young adults experience natural wonders? Finally, what happens to children’s environmental commitments and sensibilities when they grow up in environmentally degraded conditions? The foregoing are questions that are addressed by Peter Kahn in his research into environmental moral conceptions and values. “My research findings articulate what may be one of the most pressing and unrecognized problems of our age – the problem of environmental generational amnesia,” wrote Peter Kahn.
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SALMON: “It is not just about the salmon. It is what that organism represents that is fundamental to how we look at the landscape, especially when the climate is changing,” stated Nick Leone, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, at the Parksville 2019 Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate
In embarking on this journey, British Columbians can learn from historical precedents and parallels. In particular, the “salmon crisis” in the 1990s was a game-changer in the way it was the catalyst for green infrastructure practices. A generation later, will lightning strike twice and will the iconic salmon again be the regulatory driver that spurs communities to raise the bar to ‘improve where we live’? “If we are to fundamentally restore or rehabilitate creeksheds, we must first recognize and understand the essential elements that make up a dynamic landscape. It is a system. Act accordingly,” stated Nick Leone.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE IN AUSTRALIA: “We should spend less on freeways – and more on our waterways,” wrote Bruce Lindsay, Environmental Justice Australia
“Contemporary urban planning bolts waterway protections onto new suburbs or the refitting of older ones. Water-sensitive development provides for nice water features in local landscapes. Overwhelmingly, however, waterways remain incidental in the urban landscape, if not simply drains then as local ‘amenity’. Waterways are not viewed at the core of development models. They could provide the base for recovery of biodiversity, or a project of rewilding places – and people. This is what we need,” wrote Bruce Lindsay.