LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “The benefit of assigning worth to a stream corridor as an asset is that it leads to consideration of efforts needed to maintain that asset. To borrow a framework from the financial world, a Maintenance and Management (M&M) budget needs to be assigned to keep up the performance of ecological services beyond the natural asset’s initial ‘capital’ costs,” stated Ray Rung, retired Director of Engineering (March 2022)
NOTE TO READER:
Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart in British Columbia to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate; and embrace “design with nature” approaches to reconnect people, land, fish, and water in altered landscapes.
The edition published on March 29, 2022 highlighted the “story behind the story” of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process. An article published in Construction Business magazine provided context and a reason to feature EAP, a decision tool that helps communities make the financial case for maintenance and management of streams in the built environment.
Stream Corridor Management: Are streams worth the same as constructed assets?
“Builders and those in the construction industry make things: buildings and infrastructure. Considered hard assets, we derive services or benefits from those things. Traditionally, we have considered nature as providing the raw materials or natural resources, from which these hard assets are created,” stated Ray Fung, co-author of Stream Corridor Management: Are streams worth the same as constructed assets?, published in Construction Business magazine in February 2022.
“In the last decade or so, increasing attention has been given to natural systems as assets in their own right. They provide ecological services, such as trees cleaning the air (like an HVAC system) or a creek filtering the impurities in water (like a water or sewage treatment plant). Often, these services are provided by nature at a cost lower than the comparable engineered asset.”
“Meanwhile, the age of much of the hard assets in our community, especially infrastructure, necessitates replacement and upgrading, which can create a huge financial burden for society. So, while the industry’s interest is to continue constructing, the infrastructure burden encourages consideration of the services ecosystems provide, at the very least as a complement to engineered assets.”
What is Measured gets Managed
“At best, the ecological services provided by ‘green infrastructure’ have been considered as an add-on. They are not intuitively understood by the public, elected representatives and asset managers. Unless communities measure the effects of impacts, degradation of riparian assets and streamside setback zones will continue.”
“EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, a methodology developed by the Partnership’s Tim Pringle, is an approach that aims to recognize the worth of natural assets. Accounting in this sense means taking stock and understanding the worth of ecological services as the community uses them. On a practical basis, this approach has been applied to real estate, in other words, land, and specifically to stream corridors.”
EAP deals with the Parcel
“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,” added Tim Pringle
“The EAP methodology focuses on the historical and current land use practices that have changed landscapes, modified hydrology, and have led to present-day community perceptions of the worth of a stream and/or other water assets, such as a wetland, and the ecological services those assets provide. The EAP methodology is the only ecological methodology that deals with the parcel.”
TO LEARN MORE:
To read the complete story published on March 29th 2022, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Local Governments Need Real Numbers to Deliver Green Infrastructure Outcomes.
DOWNLOAD A COPY: https://waterbucket.ca/wcp/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2022/03/PWSBC_Living-Water-Smart_Deliver-Outcomes_2022.pdf