ROSS Executive Committe Updates

On September 24, twenty-two members of the Executive Committee came together to hear updates on current ROSS projects, learn about Pierce County’s sustainability efforts, and better understand Earth Economics’ valuation of open space services in the Puget Sound.

Among a review of on-going Ross projects, the committee welcomed various presenters. To start them off, Ryan Dicks, the Pierce County Sustainability Manager explained how his County has made amazing headway in their operations. In the last 5 years, they reduced the energy use of seventy County buildings by twenty-three percent and since 2009; they reduced natural gas use in those same buildings by thirty percent. The County also created an award winning free mobile application called “Puget Sound Fresh” allowing users to find local farmers markets and products in their area. Plus, they put substantial conservation funds toward preserving small farms, forestry projects, and salmon and in 2015; the County protected a 153-acre farm, their biggest project to date.

Other presenters included David Batker and Matt Chadsey, from Earth Economics, who presented their work on valuing open space services within the Puget Sound. Utilizing a methodology called Benefits Transfer, they analyze peer reviewed articles from similar locations to the target areas around the world, so that they can assign a range of values for each benefit, including aesthetics, water purification, and food, to name a few. Their research indicates that the total economic value of open space services in the Puget Sound is between $11 and $25 billion per year (a very conservative estimate as not all services can be measured at this time).

The question now is: how to take those valuable services and connect them to funding mechanisms?

For David and Matt, they think that those receiving the benefits of the greater flood protection, for instance, should pay for the rehabilitation of those wetlands. These services could be paid for and maintained similar to utilities. David and Matt recommended educating policy makers, including ecosystem values in land use and capital planning and analysis, and creating a government and financing entity for central Puget Sound open space.

Filed under: 
Privacy statement | Credits and Attribution | Unsubscribe from email
© 2017 ROSS. All Rights Reserved.
Site development: Barn Door Productions