Municipal natural asset management and service delivery

The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) was established in 2016 to refine, test and scale up natural asset management work that was first initiated by the Town of Gibsons, B.C. The MNAI is testing how to manage natural assets such as woodlands, wetlands and creeks in urban areas as part of a sustainable infrastructure strategy. This approach identifies and determines the value of natural assets, and accounts for their contribution to municipal government services delivery—services that would otherwise need to be delivered by engineered assets. Municipal natural assets are defined by the MNAI as the stock of natural resources or ecosystems that contribute to the provision of one or more services required for the health, well-being and long-term sustainability of a community and its residents. Evidence from the MNAI suggests that an asset management-based approach holds great promise for tackling the twin challenges of deteriorating quality of urban infrastructure and declining ecosystem health. The MNAI team developed a methodology and guidance documents to help local governments identify, valuate and manage natural assets within traditional financial and asset management planning frameworks. Overall, early results of the MNAI demonstrate that newly-recognized ecosystem service values are improving local government understanding of how nature is providing municipal services and impacting decision making.

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