Canadian communities face twin challenges of declining infrastructure quality and diminishing health and resilience of many ecosystems. Natural assets such as forests, foreshores and riparian areas can provide many vital services to local governments including stormwater management and drinking water filtration. However, few local governments measure natural resources and ecosystems, and there are many who need assistance to better manage and understand these assets beyond providing a range of ‘green’ amenities.

To address this issue, the Municipal Natural Asset Initiative (MNAI), funded by FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program’s Climate Adaptation Partner Grants initiative, provided a methodology, hands on support, training and peer learning opportunities for six communities in three provinces to help them integrate natural assets into core asset management and financial processes to address this challenge. Participating local governments learned about the value of and how to manage natural assets to meet service levels (e.g. localized or downstream flood management). The approach also prepared municipalities for how those services may be affected by climate change.

Participating communities:

  • City of Courtney, ON
  • City of Oshawa, ON
  • Southeast Regional Service Commission (Town of Riverview, ON, Village of Riverside-Albert, ON)
  • Western Valley Regional Service Commission (Town of Florenceville-Bristol, NB)
  • District of Sparwood, BC

About integrating natural assets into core municipal processes

Participating communities learned about the value of its natural assets, how to integrate them into the strategic level of local government decision-making and how to test and refine new approaches to sustainable service delivery.

In each community, the assessment results demonstrated that conservation and proper management of natural assets would help the local governments deliver core services to their residents. Communities saw tangible benefits, one example is with stormwater conveyance, drinking water supply and water treatment, where a natural asset approach reduced cost, compared to traditional engineered or grey infrastructure assets.

"FCM’s funding has helped MNAI bring to a number of completed natural asset management projects in communities across Canada. The evidence and experience we gathered from all each projects is available for any local government to access as they make informed decisions about sustainable service delivery." 

– Roy Brooke, MNAI Executive Director

Protecting the ecosystem

Municipalities can use the data from these projects to identify and account for the natural assets in their communities, place a value on the services they’re providing, determine how they compare or work with engineered assets and make informed planning decisions for current and future climate scenarios.

Additional resource

Read more about this initiative to learn how it supports participating municipalities and find strategies for integrating natural assets into your community’s decision-making processes.  

Contact

Roy Brooke
Executive Director
royb@mnai.ca

© 2020 Federation of Canadian Municipalities