Local governments across Canada are faced with significant asset management challenges. Many of the services they provide - including water and wastewater delivery, waste removal, transportation, and environmental services - depend on engineered infrastructure assets that are in need of renewal. Meanwhile, the effects of climate change are expected to put even more strain on these assets and on local government budgets going forward.
But there is one class of assets that local governments are under-accounting for: natural assets. Natural assets are ecosystem features that are nature-based and providing services that would otherwise require the costly equivalent of engineered infrastructure.
For local governments, natural assets can include forests which convey stormwater and recharge aquifers, wetlands which reduce flooding risk, and coastal areas which protect against storm surges and sea level rise, among others.
By identifying natural assets at the community level and prioritizing them in municipal asset management, local governments can secure important budget savings while also delivering vital municipal services more efficiently and adapting to climate change.
The Natural Assets Initiative aims to equip local governments across Canada with the tools needed to identify and account for natural assets at the community level, as well as the best practice guidelines for working with community stakeholders to increase natural asset management.
In the News:
Canadian cities are counting on nature – and it’s paying off | The Globe and Mail
Making Nature Count: Municipal Natural Asset Management | Public Sector Digest (paywall)
Municipal Natural Assets: What are they and why should we care? | Municipal World (print)
Upcoming and Past Activities:
Results from the First National Cohort: Decision-Maker Summary | July 25, 2018
Role of Private Landowners paper | February 7, 2018
Advancing Municipal Natural Asset Management: the Town of Gibsons’ experience in financial planning and report | February 7, 2018
Training Session: Stormwater Management and Financing in Action | February 7, 2018
Fifth Green Growth Knowledge Platform Annual Conference | November 27-28, 2017