Piloting natural asset valuation in Nanaimo, BC

Guided by the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative, the City of Nanaimo, BC, sought to assign a financial value to its natural assets, using the Buttertubs Marsh Conservation Area (BMCA) as part of a pilot study. The project found that the BMCA helps moderate the rivers downstream during extreme precipitation events, and therefore reduces flood risk in the floodplain. Building an engineered system that could do what the BMCA does naturally would cost the City between $6.6 and $8.5 million, a figure that would rise with more extreme events. The results of this pilot study will guide the City in identifying other key natural assets to be recognized and integrated into the City’s infrastructure. Water levels throughout the BMCA have been tracked for the last two years in an ongoing effort to monitor and evaluate the project.

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