On April 26, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order requiring a governmental review of all national monument designations made since 1996. First up for review is Bears Ears National Monument -- over a million acres of mesas, canyons, shrublands, forests, and Native American archaeological sites in Southeastern Utah. We took a quick look at its natural capital value and found its worth to be over $1 billion in ecosystem services benefits.
In February, Earth Economics participated in the Melbourne Network Exchange, a three-day event hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Program. Chief Resilience Officers from cities around the globe convened with Platform Partners to exchange practices and approaches for strengthening natural assets, especially urban biodiversity. As part of the partnership, we shared our approach to communicating nature's value in support of city resilience.
As worldwide temperatures soar and disasters intensify, urban planners and political leaders are spending more time trying to understand and build local resilience. The Rockefeller Foundation has emerged as a global leader in this effort with the 100 Resilient Cities initiative (100 RC). Under the 100RC program, Earth Economics worked with the City of El Paso to value its natural capital and ecosystem services.
In the remote waters of Alaska's Bering Sea, a tiny community wants to maintain its rich resources. St. George Island is home to about 80 residents - many of whom rely heavily on the island’s natural resources for cultural and subsistence purposes. To help the community plan resource protections, Earth Economics is conducting an economic assessment of St. George Island and its surrounding marine area.
The Pacific Northwest’s Columbia River is a powerful force – currently managed primarily to maximize hydropower generation and flood risk management, the Columbia River Treaty is due for an update in 2024. To help inform Treaty negotiations, Earth Economics is partnering with a coalition of tribes and area stakeholders to conduct an economic valuation of the Columbia River Basin’s natural capital.
It’s been a busy year already at Earth Economics! We’ve attended a number of conferences and events, worked on projects from Alaska to Central America, and seen a lot of exciting developments in our work. Natural capital is increasingly becoming a part of the conversation as agencies like FEMA and HUD begin to incorporate ecosystem services, and we are excited to engage in these efforts to account for nature. Take a look at our 2016 program highlights so far.
Across the country, planners and policy makers are starting to consider the value of natural capital assets and ecosystem services. In Arizona, Earth Economics has joined in to work with groups on incorporating ecosystem services into planning for the Sabino Creek watershed.