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Tim Pringle

    How much should communities invest in protection of stream systems?


    “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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    Natural Asset Management: cutting through the rhetoric – “Recognize the importance of the stream in the landscape,” says Tim Pringle, Chair of the Ecological Accounting Process initiative


    “The land supports assets that provide services. And decisions are made at the parcel scale. Thus, we are tied to the past through historical subdivision of land. This means we must understand the biology of land use. The human analogy is DNA. Only EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, deals with the parcel. Decisions by elected Councils and Boards are made at the parcel scale. Thus, getting it right about financial valuation of ecological services starts at the parcel scale and recognizing that every parcel is interconnected within a system. EAP bridges a gap. The methodology and metrics recognize the importance of the stream in the landscape,” stated Tim Pringle.

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    ARE STREAMS WORTH THE SAME AS CONSTRUCTED ASSETS? – Local governments need real numbers to deliver green infrastructure outcomes!


    “The message about ‘getting it right’ is a good summary of the green infrastructure goal of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process. But it goes far beyond that thought. Not only do local governments have to make the financial case for stream restoration, they also actually now have to do it! But, the Partnership team wondered, what is the look ahead for readers of Construction Business magazine? The editorial challenge was to make a bridge from the regular construction world to the Partnership’s watershed world. An invitation to the reader of the article became a desired goal,” stated Ray Fung.

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    ‘DESIGN WITH NATURE” FRAMEWORK FOR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE: Nationwide document survey by Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies reveals that the green infrastructure state-of-the-art in the United States is now close to where British Columbia was in 2005


    How green infrastructure is defined guides the types of projects that local governments implement, with enduring impacts to people and the urban environment. “Ecology is not really being embedded in any planning practice, This realization turned my attention towards urban planning and this question, how do you embed ecosystem science and principles within landscape planning to conserve landscapes and landscape functioning quality?” stated Dr. Zbigniew Grabowski. This led him to look at green infrastructure through the systems lens.

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    EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, IS GAME-CHANGING: Financial Case for Bowker Creek Daylighting in British Columbia’s Capital Region


    “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,” 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


    “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 the stream or creekshed and the ecological services it provides. A whole-system understanding is the starting point for developing meaningful metrics. Managing the built and natural environments as interconnected systems is a guiding principle,” stated Tim Pringle.

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    ACCOUNTING FOR STREAM SYSTEMS IN ASSET MANAGEMENT PLANS: “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 RDN, 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 Chair Tyler Brown, Regional District of Nanaimo (April 2021)


    The Millstone project provided the RDN, the City of Nanaimo and local stewardship group Island Waters Fly Fishers with the opportunity to get a real measure that accounts for the value and worth of the Millstone River stream corridor in asset management planning. The Millstone River EAP project has provided the RDN with a path forward so that it could account for and operationalize maintenance and management (M&M) of stream corridor systems across the region. This would be done under the umbrella of its Corporate Asset Management Plan. This would be a BC-first.

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    The Partnership for Water Sustainability vision is to nest EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, within a university program for training the next generation of land use professionals


    “Our collaboration with regional partners is guided by a vision that working together we can increase the environmental, social, cultural, and economic sustainability of the biosphere region. VIU students have assisted with working on all the Ecological Accounting Process case study projects that have been completed in partnership with MABRRI. Both undergraduates and graduates have assisted with these projects,” stated Graham Sakaki.

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    DID YOU KNOW: The function and responsibility of Municipal Councils and Regional Boards is “Sustainable Service Delivery”


    “The core document for asset management for BC local governments is ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’. The title of the Framework is deliberate and important. The Framework provides the basis for the entire asset management process for our local governments to follow. Funding agencies, as part of funding applications, request communities to identify where they are within the asset management process using the framework. While much attention and discussion focus on the Asset Management plan or plans, there is much more to the process than just the plan,” stated Glen Brown.

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    ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING: Do you wonder how streams influence neighbourhoods and property values? To find out, download the latest report by the Partnership!


    EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, addresses this question: How do communities decide how much to invest in the natural commons? The EAP methodology and metrics enable a local government to determine the WORTH of the natural commons, with ‘worth’ being the foundation for an annual budget for maintenance and maintenance of ecological assets. Application of the EAP methodology can help to inform an investment strategy for protection and/or restoration of ecological-hydrological function,” stated Tim Pringle.

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