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    BEYOND THE GUIDEBOOK 2022 / FINANCIAL CASE FOR STREAMS: “Green infrastructure state-of-the-art in the United States is now close to where the BC state-of-the-art was in 2005” – based on an interview with Dr. Zbigniew Grabowski, lead researcher for the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, this is the key takeaway from the first systematic review of the use and definition of the green infrastructure concept in local government plans in the United States


    “There are a lot of ‘greening’ and sustainability initiatives, but they are not conceptually unified. They are neither thought about in terms of interdependencies nor systemically. We had this moment of realization about the diversity of plans when it clicked in our minds about analyzing all the plans in terms of three big buckets: something that is very stormwater-focused, something that is very land-focused, and something that is trying to integrate the two. In the process, we started to uncover this grain of systems thinking within green infrastructure planning,” stated Dr. Zbigniew Grabowski.

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    ARTICLE: “EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, considers the entirety of the stream corridor system—a ‘natural commons’—and seeks to ensure that streams survive in an urban or urbanizing setting, without suffering from degradation of stream channels and streamside riparian setback zones” (Water Canada magazine, May-June 2022)


    “I reached out to Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability BC with an invitation to share more about the people, policy, and projects in BC, through penning an article for Water Canada magazine and sharing of relevant information. I am very keen on showcasing real world water projects, and the people whose lives they impact, with our national audience. The Ecological Accounting Process is a topic the Water Canada audience would really benefit from and that is why we featured it in the May-June 2022 issue,” stated Jen Smith, magazine editor.

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    STORY BEHIND THE STORY OF EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROECESS: “Because local governments need real numbers to deliver outcomes, we landed on a concept which we call the Riparian Deficit,” stated Tim Pringle, EAP Chair (Waterbucket eNews, June 2022)


    “It is amazing that we have been able to produce a methodology that defines what a stream is, can find the value of the stream using impartial BC Assessment data, and add to that a riparian assessment that looks at the 30m zone and a further 200m upland area to evaluate the water balance condition and what is happening to water pathways,” stated Tim Pringle. “Because local governments need real numbers to deliver outcomes, we landed on a concept which we call the Riparian Deficit. This expresses three measures of value in a single number.”

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    APPLICATION OF EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “Through the EAP work, the concept of ‘Riparian Deficit’ in the natural commons area highlights the shared responsibility of rural and urban landowners to maintain Bertrand Creek, an important asset in the Township of Langley,” stated Melisa Gunn, Agricultural Planner with the Township of Langley in the Metro Vancouver region


    The EAP focus on Bertrand occurs in a framework of policy and actions which protect the environment and natural assets. “Township staff are working on a long-term Ecological Services Initiative program. The EAP analysis will be used to establish the baseline funding for payment to farmers. We are also planning on sharing the EAP results with the Township’s Asset Management Planning team for use in their natural assets inventory. In the future, we can use EAP to expand the program to other watersheds. Overall, the EAP findings support Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery,” stated Melisa Gunn.

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    YOUTUBE VIDEO: “In researching tools for local governments to manage natural assets, we discovered EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process initiative, and were intrigued by both their focus on stakeholder collaboration and their unique and straightforward method of valuation,” stated Judy O’Leary, Network Coordinator for the Climate Caucus (May 2022)


    “The Climate Caucus is really interested in learning about local government staff experience with EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, and other approaches to managing natural assets. The goal of our project is to provide our elected members with a better understanding of this area. how much of this work could local govt staff do themselves? Where could they get data and outside help if needed? Could small places with minimal capacity manage this? Could it apply to natural assets other than riverine habitats? How is it different from MNAI’s approach?” stated Judy O’Leary.

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    AVOID THE PAIN, BE DELIBERATE, FUND THE PLAN: “Different local governments will always be at different points and different levels of maturity along the asset management continuum. This is why we focus on outcomes and do not prescribe what to do in BC,” stated Glen Brown, Chair of Asset Management BC


    Glen Brown coined the term Sustainable Service Delivery in 2010. He synthesized three themes – financial accountability, infrastructure sustainability, service delivery – into an easy to remember phrase. “My inspiration came from Guy Felio. He said, ‘It’s all about the service’, because infrastructure/ assets are worthless IF they do not provide a service. That is what resonated with me. Also, Guy Felio said, for any asset management approach to be successful, it must not focus on the infrastructure asset by itself. That way-of-thinking applies to nature and the environment as well,” stated Glen Brown.

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    ASSET MANAGEMENT IS AN AWKWARD TERM: “We have managed assets for decades and understand what that is and what we are doing. Suddenly we took two very simple words, reversed them, and went from managing assets to asset management. The result? We confused everyone,” stated Wally Wells, Executive Director of Asset Management BC


    “An issue we have in communicating our message often seems to relate to the use and interpretation or misinterpretation of words or phrases. Too often we use technical terms within our own skill sets, not appreciating that others may not know what we are really saying. Asset Management, itself, is an intimidating term. The process of asset management or ‘managing assets’, is not new. The process, as defined today, just leads to better decisions across the entire organization for priority setting with limited budgets. However, we have succeeded in confusing everyone,” stated Wally Wells.

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    SUSTAINABLE CREEKSHED SYSTEMS AND THE ASSET MANAGEMENT CONTINUUM: “We needed a way to illustrate diagrammatically what the journey by a local government to the eventual Sustainable Service Delivery destination would look like. This led us to the concept of a continuum. The relevance of this way of thinking is that different local governments will always be at different points and different levels of maturity along the asset management continuum. This is why we focus on outcomes and do not prescribe what to do in BC,” stated Glen Brown, Asset Management BC Chair, when he unveiled the continuum at the 2015 Annual Workshop organized by the Partnership for Water Sustainability


    “Sustainable Service Delivery builds on the principles of Asset Management. It integrates land use, infrastructure servicing, financial and ecological planning. Emphasis is on the Levels-of-Service that assets provide, and ‘what level is affordable’ over time. Nature is an asset and provides ‘services’. The benefits and value of ‘design with nature’ solutions grow over time. The BC Framework is a holistic and integrated approach to asset management. It identifies natural services and the use of natural resources – and how they are part of / integrated into the overall services provided at a local government level,” stated Glen Brown.

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    ARTICLE: Stream Corridor Management – in a local government asset management strategy that considers the natural environment, are streams worth the same as constructed assets? (Construction Business Magazine, Jan-Feb 2022)


    Beginning in 2006, Construction Business magazine has published an article every two years about the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. “I contact industry experts regularly to share insights on important issues for our readers. Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability is one such expert that I turn to when seeking information on water related topics whether it’s strategies, policies, programs, or sustainability. His knowledge and contributions are much appreciated in our efforts to provide the most relevant information to the industry,” stated Cheryl Mah.

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    WHAT’S IN A WORD: “For decades we have trained our elected officials how to think and what to do with a plan. But now, with the Asset Management Plan, we want them to do something completely different. No wonder they are confused,” stated Wally Wells (Winter 2022 issue of Asset Management BC Newsletter)


    “For decades, we have trained our elected officials to understand the decision process and flexibility available for them when presented with a Master Plan. There is often few consequences and little risk in doing or not doing the suggested activities outside of accommodating growth. The same flexibility, risk and consequences of a decision are not the same with the Asset Management Plan. An AM plan is not the same as a master plan. It just deals with what is needed to continue to provide EXISTING services at existing level,” stated Wally Wells.

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