RIPARIAN AREA REGULATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: With development of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, the Partnership for Water Sustainability honours the memory and legacy of the late Erik Karlsen who did so much for streamside protection in British Columbia

    The 2014 investigation and Striking a Balance report by the BC Ombudsperson identified “significant gaps between the process the provincial government had established when the Riparian Areas Protection Regulation was enacted and the level of oversight that was actually in place.” Erik Karlsen was concerned about the Ombudsperson’s findings. In 2015, he created a matrix to explain how to integrate two foundational concepts – Daniel Pauly’s “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” and Richard Horner and Chris May’s “Road Map for Protecting Stream System Integrity” – that provide a path forward for restoring riparian integrity.

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    DESIGN WITH NATURE GOING FORWARD (GRAPHIC): Erik Karlsen’s “integrating matrix” is a foundation piece for EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, which is a pillar for asset management that protects and restores riparian area integrity

    A stream in a natural condition is supported by a riparian ecosystem. In urban, suburban and rural settings around BC, however, riparian ecosystems have been reduced to riparian zones. Diminution due to fragmentation results in a loss of a riparian network’s ecological services. This has become the norm because the intent of BC’s Riparian Areas Protection Regulation has been compromised over time. The consequence of land use intrusion is a Riparian Deficit. EAP provides local governments with a methodology, metrics and a path forward to tackle the Riparian Deficit and thus restore riparian integrity.

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    REPORT ON: “Application of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, to Shelly Creek for Financial Valuation of Ecological Services and Worth” (Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC; released April 2020)

    “We arrived at an important insight about ecological assets; that is, an ecological commons is a land use. Regulations define stream functions and setback requirements. Whether it is a pond, wetland or riparian zone, it can be measured. The assessed values of adjacent parcels can be used to provide a value for the natural commons. The inference is that the area of the natural commons would be zoned residential or whatever if the stream was not there,” stated Tim Pringle.

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    DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: Shelly Creek in the City of Parksville and Regional District of Nanaimo, completed February 2020

    “The members of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society have devoted over 10 years of time and energy towards restoring the health of Shelly Creek for salmon and trout. Our volunteers have contributed over $90,000 to the ‘maintenance’ of the creek and its’ fish populations. Our members are impressed with the scope of the analysis brought forward with this EAP application. We can now see how our ongoing investments, as stream stewards, not only can improve the worth of a  creekshed’s biophysical functions, but also improve riparian land values as well,” stated Peter Law.

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