Counting on the Environment
Funded by a NRCS Conservation Innovations Grant
As of August 4, 2009 twenty-seven state and federal natural resource management agencies and other important non-profit stakeholders have agreed in principle with the Ecosystem Credit Accounting system developed by the Willamette Partnership through its Counting on the Environment program. The agreement can be downloaded here: Agreements.
The Ecosystem Credit Accounting system is a work-product of the Willamette Partnership. However the system represents a concentrated effort from, and agreement among, a wide-range of federal, state, and local agencies; conservation organizations; and the buyers and sellers likely to use an ecosystem marketplace.
Through Counting on the Environment, large and formative steps have been taken towards creating a functioning ecosystem service market for Oregon and the greater Pacific Northwest. These accomplishments are described in detail below.
General Crediting Protocol: The rules on how to buy and sell credits, how actions taken on the land translate into credits, and how credits are verified, registered, and sold are described in Version 1.1 of the General Crediting Protocol.
Many of the policies and tools contained in this General Protocol were developed under the guidance of a stakeholder working group that met over 8 months. The documents developed during this process are available below:
Currencies: The stakeholder working group approved four currencies for inclusion in the Version 1 of the Ecosystem Credit Accounting system. They include: wetlands, salmonid habitat, prairie habitat and riparian habitat. Planning has already begun to include additional currencies.
Technology: New technology will serve a pivotal role in making ecosystem service markets accessible and efficient. This technology will need to be flexible, adaptable and scalable. It must also be designed to accommodate, or operate in conjunction with, other software being developed in the field. The Partnership selected an internationally-recognized technology firm, Markit Environmental Registry, to provide registry services for credits issued through the Ecosystem Credit Accounting system. The Partnership also selected The Other Firm to deliver an accessble web-based user interface capable of directing credit production (an Ecosystem Crediting Platform). The Ecosystem Crediting Platform is expected to be available for public use in 2011. Projects registerd under the Counting on the Enviroment standard can be found here.
Pilots: The Counting on the Environment methodology has been fully or partially run at several restoration impact sites. We have also developed a field reference guide and data sheet for collecting indicators necessary to quantify salmonid habitat, prairie habitat and riparian habitat credits. The wetland assessment still uses its own datasheet and field manual tied to the Oregon Rapid Wetland Assessment. The Counting on the Environment Manual and summaries of pilot projects are available at link below:
Pilot Projects, Field Guide and Data Sheets