Evaluation of Municipal Natural Asset Management Projects

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Lucas Mollame & Dr. Michael Drescher

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In Canada, many urban and near-urban ecosystems are in decline. Unfortunately, municipalities only understand and manage these natural assets as aesthetic or social amenities. They struggle to account for these ecosystems as green infrastructure that provide local communities with a wide range of important services. However, some Canadian municipalities are beginning to incorporate ecosystems such as healthy lakes, forests, or streams into their infrastructure planning with the goal of maintaining and improving services such as stormwater management. This municipal natural asset management requires municipalities to restore, conserve, inventory and track ecosystems under their jurisdiction. However, evidence of the efficacy of this approach is required to upscale it from the currently two dozen pilot communities. This evidence must show that restored and conserved ecosystems can provide services that complement built infrastructure and that municipalities meet the necessary conditions to implement this approach successfully. There is a consequent need for rigorous, long-term monitoring and reporting of municipal natural asset management to demonstrate the efficacy of this approach as a municipal service delivery strategy. Here we present results for a standardized monitoring framework of municipal natural asset management projects. This work has resulted in an evidence database of the outcomes of municipal natural asset management while showing how pilot communities are reaching awareness, capacity, and implementation outcomes at this time, as measured by selected indicators. Finally, we highlight how economic policy directing municipal investments towards the restoration and conservation of natural assets can help our communities to build back better in a post-COVID-19 world.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program