Proposed Abstract Title

Rethinking Conservation Finance and Partnerships in Coastal Regions

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Re-thinking Conservation Finance and Partnerships in Coastal Regions

Location

2016SSEC

Description

Accounting for Municipal Natural Capital on the Sunshine Coast and Beyond

In 2014 the coastal town of Gibsons, BC became the first community in North America to incorporate natural capital into their municipal asset management process. This means the same practices that help assess and manage roads and sewers also applies to management decisions for natural infrastructure like forests and watersheds. By valuing and accounting for the benefits of maintaining ecosystem services -- such as flood regulation – the result is a healthier environment and cheaper delivery of services. For example, research on the town’s aquifer compared the cost of managing this natural resource for the continued provision of clean drinking water against the cost of engineered alternatives if the aquifer became degraded and found they were saving tens of thousands of dollars per year.

The institutional shift at the municipal level was driven by the desire to manage risks associated with rain and stormwater management, sea level changes, and naturally aims to address challenges specific to the region. However, the concept of formalized integration of natural assets has the potential to have much broader impact. A diverse team of NGOs, consultants, et al (including the David Suzuki Foundation, Sustainable Prosperity, and Brooke & Associates) have united with the town of Gibsons to create the Municipal Natural Capital Initiative. They aim to communicate the benefits of such processes, and to produce guidance for municipalities to support getting nature on the balance sheet.

This talk will speak to the Gibsons experience, with reference to the tools required to assess natural capital, as well as the challenges, opportunities, and path forward for the Municipal Natural Capital Initiative.

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Rethinking Conservation Finance and Partnerships in Coastal Regions

2016SSEC

Accounting for Municipal Natural Capital on the Sunshine Coast and Beyond

In 2014 the coastal town of Gibsons, BC became the first community in North America to incorporate natural capital into their municipal asset management process. This means the same practices that help assess and manage roads and sewers also applies to management decisions for natural infrastructure like forests and watersheds. By valuing and accounting for the benefits of maintaining ecosystem services -- such as flood regulation – the result is a healthier environment and cheaper delivery of services. For example, research on the town’s aquifer compared the cost of managing this natural resource for the continued provision of clean drinking water against the cost of engineered alternatives if the aquifer became degraded and found they were saving tens of thousands of dollars per year.

The institutional shift at the municipal level was driven by the desire to manage risks associated with rain and stormwater management, sea level changes, and naturally aims to address challenges specific to the region. However, the concept of formalized integration of natural assets has the potential to have much broader impact. A diverse team of NGOs, consultants, et al (including the David Suzuki Foundation, Sustainable Prosperity, and Brooke & Associates) have united with the town of Gibsons to create the Municipal Natural Capital Initiative. They aim to communicate the benefits of such processes, and to produce guidance for municipalities to support getting nature on the balance sheet.

This talk will speak to the Gibsons experience, with reference to the tools required to assess natural capital, as well as the challenges, opportunities, and path forward for the Municipal Natural Capital Initiative.