In previous years, MNAI focussed on supporting local governments through the entire natural asset management cycle, which includes the assessment, planning and implementation phases. However, interest grew rapidly amongst local governments to develop only a natural asset inventory, which is the first step in the assessment phase. Recognizing the importance of inventories as a quick, relatively inexpensive and contained first measure to launch natural asset management, MNAI started supporting these local governments in the development of inventories to help them build awareness, comfort and interest to undertake full natural asset management projects.
Logy Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador
Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove (LBMCOC) is a small community of 2,200 people near St. John’s Nfld that’s been growing rapidly over the past few years. To ensure the growth is sustainable and can maintain its rural charm, LBMCOC embarked on its natural asset management journey by developing an inventory. The results will help the Town make evidence-based decisions on how to manage its overall asset management practices.
Regional District of Nanaimo, British Columbia
The Regional District of Nanaimo (population ~155,000) is a regional district located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Its members include cities, towns, districts, and seven electoral areas that contain unincorporated municipalities.
The RDN has several interests in natural asset management, the primary being to understand their role in mitigating and adapting to threats from climate change particularly given the emphasis placed by residents on healthy natural ecosystems. Secondly, they see an opportunity to meet multiple water-related objectives through natural asset management, including drinking water supply resilience, flood mitigation and resilience, and rainwater management. This project will help inform the above priorities as well as several goals and initiatives, including their overall asset management strategy.
City of Colwood, British Columbia
The City of Colwood (population ~19,000) is on Vancouver Island, southwest of the City of Victoria in the province of British Columbia. The City of Colwood lies within British Columbia’s Capital Regional District and is one of the 13 component municipalities of Greater Victoria.
The City of Colwood’s Official Community Plan (2018) emphasizes natural features as valuable assets and contains objectives and policies to protect, maintain and enhance them. The City of Colwood’s Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan provides quantitative and condition assessment information about its natural resources. It also explores opportunity costs, or the cost of building capital infrastructure to provide the same level of service that ecosystems currently provide.
City of New Westminster, British Columbia
The City of New Westminster (population ~71,000) is in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia and is a member municipality of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. It is on the banks of the Fraser River on the southwest side of the Burrard Peninsula.
The City of New Westminster’s interests in natural asset management relate to identifying the natural areas on which they rely and establishing the value of the services they provide. This, in turn, will better enable the City of New Westminster to protect natural assets by integrating them into policy, plans and management, and municipal decision-making. By assigning a financial value to the services from natural assets, the City of New Westminster will be better able to justify the acquisition of new natural areas and green spaces to provide services. The foregoing aligns with the objectives of the City of New Westminster’s Environmental Strategy & Action Plan.
City of Surrey, British Columbia
The City of Surrey (population ~571,610) is located in British Columbia south of the Fraser River and north of the Canada–United States border. It is a member municipality of the Metro Vancouver Regional District and metropolitan area and the province’s second-largest city by population.
Surrey’s interests in natural asset management relate to reducing the impacts of growth, climate change, stemming biodiversity loss, and its 2019 declaration of a climate emergency.
Township of Langley, British Columbia
The Township of Langley (population ~134,000) is a district municipality in southwestern British Columbia. Not to be confused with the nearby City of Langley, the Township extends south from the Fraser River to the U.S. border, and west of the City of Abbotsford.
The Township is largely agricultural but has recently experienced substantial development. It has three main interests in natural asset management. First, the Township wants to develop a baseline of the natural assets on which it relies and/or manages, and related to this, an understanding of the interconnectivity between built infrastructure and natural assets. Second, the Township wants to build a foundation for a natural capital asset management plan, which it is planning on developing beginning in 2021. As part of this, the Township also wants to complete tasks highlighted in the Strategic Asset Management Plan and Climate Action Strategy.
City of Prince George, British Columbia
The City of Prince George (population ~86,000) is in northern British Columbia at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako rivers. Prince George has three main interests in natural asset management. First, it wants to understand what natural assets they own and rely upon and what services these provide to the community. This understanding will help Prince George better manage and protect the natural assets; for example, it could mitigate drainage issues resulting from large-scale tree removal. It could also help Prince George obtain sufficient funding for maintenance and/or protection of natural assets.
City of West Kelowna, British Columbia
The City of West Kelowna, formerly Westbank (population ~36,500), is located in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. West Kelowna’s interest in natural asset management is three-fold. First, West Kelowna would like to have a comprehensive understanding of both natural and physical municipal assets to support planning, development and financial decisions, as well as investments in the community.
District of Kent, British Columbia
The District of Kent (population ~6,000) is a district municipality located north of Chilliwack and south of Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia. It is the fifth most populated municipality in the Fraser Valley Regional District. Most of Kent’s population lives in its largest community, Agassiz.
City of Abbotsford, British Columbia
The City of Abbotsford (population ~141,400) in British Columbia is south of the Fraser River and north of the Canada–United States border. It is the largest of the Fraser Valley Regional District cities by population and the largest city by area in the province.
The City of Abbotsford relies heavily on its greenways and natural waterways for stormwater management and drinking water and on a river for wastewater management. It also manages and maintains a variety of drainage channels and has a tree retention policy coming into force.
City of Kelowna, British Columbia
The City of Kelowna (metro population ~146,127) is adjacent to Okanagan Lake in the southern interior region of British Columbia. It is the largest urban area in the Interior, the seventh largest city in the province, and one of the fastest growing cities in Canada.
Resort Municipality of Whistler, British Columbia
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) (population ~12,000) is a municipality in the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in British Columbia.
The RMOW identifies surface and groundwater drinking water supply, flood attenuation and stormwater management as top priority services from natural assets.
City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
The City of Saskatoon (population ~331,000) is the largest city in the province of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon is a commercial, cultural, and educational centre located on Treaty Six Territory and the Traditional Homeland of the Métis. European settlement began in the 1880s. Indigenous people have been living in and travelling through the Saskatoon area for thousands of years.
Saskatoon lies along a bend in the South Saskatchewan River in the mixed prairie ecoregion. It is a hub for water, rail, and highway crossings in all directions.
Dufferin County, Ontario
Dufferin County (population ~61,000) is an upper-tier municipal government located in Central Ontario, north-west of Toronto. The County seat is the Town of Orangeville. Dufferin County and its eight-member municipalities have three interests in natural asset management. First, they want a stronger understanding of the provisioning, regulating, and cultural services that natural assets provide to their communities, the environment, and biodiversity. Second, they want to increase the visibility and appreciation of the County’s natural assets. Third, they want to better the potential of natural assets to increase community and climate resiliency, including how they could use natural assets to increase the resilience of engineered infrastructure and municipal assets, and inform planning and asset-management decision-making.
City of Peterborough, Ontario
The City of Peterborough (population ~81,000) is located on the Otonabee River in Central Ontario, about 270 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.
Peterborough has three main interests in natural asset management. First, it wants to better understand the core municipal services that natural assets provide, or could potentially provide, and risks natural assets may be exposed to. Second, Peterborough wants to identify opportunities for well-managed natural assets to deliver these services on their own, or as a complement to existing engineered assets. Third, Peterborough wants to enhance awareness of green infrastructure and ecosystem services across the local government to better inform planning and management activities.
City of Markham, Ontario
The City of Markham (population ~329,000) is located in the Regional Municipality of York, approximately 30 kilometres northeast of downtown Toronto. It is the fourth largest city by population in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Markham is mostly urbanized; however, its northern and eastern portions remain rural and agricultural.
Markham owns approximately 950 hectares of natural open spaces including woodlands, wetlands, valley lands and grasslands. Many of these natural assets are open and accessible to the public and are local community landmarks.
City of Orillia, Ontario
The City of Orillia (population ~ 31,000) is in Ontario between Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Also known as the Sunshine City, it places great importance on its natural assets.
The City of Orillia’s Official Plan emphasizes “design policies for greening” in development proposals. The policy for strategic asset management indicates that the City of Orillia “recognizes the importance of Green Infrastructure Assets and will include these in its inventories and Asset Management practices.”
Northumberland County, Ontario
Northumberland County (population ~90,000) is a predominantly rural uppertier municipality in Ontario. It consists of seven member municipalities and is on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas. Northumberland County appreciates its longstanding relationship with the Alderville First Nation and intends to collaborate with it to manage its natural assets.
Northumberland County’s 2019-2023 Strategic Plan recognizes Northumberland County Forest (NCF) as a critical component and it is drafting a Forest Master Plan to prioritize the natural assets. The Forest Service Strategic Plan has three pillars – ecology, forestry and recreation – which link to current corporate priorities.
City of Mississauga, Ontario
The City of Mississauga (population ~800,000) is situated on the shores of Lake Ontario in the Regional Municipality of Peel, Ontario. It is the second-most populous municipality in the Greater Toronto Area and third-most populous in Ontario.
The City of Mississauga currently identifies forests, wetlands and cultural assets as priority natural assets. It identifies three types of priority natural asset management services: regulating services for water and air quality, supporting services for habitat diversity and biodiversity, and cultural and socio-economic services such as recreational opportunities.
City of Vaughan, Ontario
The City of Vaughan (population ~306,200) is in the Regional Municipality of York, north of Toronto, Ontario. It is the fifth-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area, and the 17th largest city in Canada.
Town of Lincoln, Ontario
The Town of Lincoln (population ~23,800) is located between the southern shore of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment Region. The Town of Lincoln’s interest in natural asset management is twofold.
First, it wants to increase its ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change by developing a Climate Adaptation Plan and Asset Management Plan that include consideration of natural assets. Second, a natural asset inventory will support the Town of Lincoln’s Tree Manual, which promotes urban tree canopy, and its fill bylaw, which regulates grading and deposition of fill as well as tree removals.
Niagara Region, Ontario
Niagara Region (population ~448,000) is a regional government that comprises 12 lower-tier municipalities. It is the southern end of the Golden Horseshoe and occupies most of the Niagara Peninsula. Lake Ontario lies to the north and Lake Erie to the south.
City of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
The City of Yellowknife (population ~19,500) is the capital city and the largest community in the Northwest Territories. It is situated on the northern shore of Great Slave Lake, about 400 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, on the west side of Yellowknife Bay.
The City of Yellowknife places itself in the awareness stage of asset management and its focus areas are to develop an official asset management policy, an asset registry, and draft key levels of service.
Town of Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick
Florenceville-Bristol (population ~1,600) is a town located on the banks of the Saint John River in the northwest part of Carleton County, New Brunswick. The “naturalness” of the community is a reason many people choose to live there and is a feature of business and residential recruitment strategies.
Florenceville-Bristol has already completed a natural asset management project with World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Canada and MNAI in one part of the community. The inventory project would build on this work and help Florenceville-Bristol better incorporate natural assets into municipal planning and existing asset management systems.
Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL – population ~25,000) is a district municipality in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.
MODL has three main interests in natural asset management. First, it wants a better understanding of the natural assets upon which it relies. This will ensure they take natural assets into account in future projects and policies, and helps focus efforts on their preservation. Second, MODL would like information regarding the role of natural assets to support infrastructure renewal. In this context, MODL plans to use inventory results to support asset management planning and the current capital assets plan. Third, MODL wants to ensure the inventory supports other plans and processes. For example, it could enhance MODL’s current land use planning and by-laws, improve planning strategies, and guide Minimum Land Use planning.
City of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
The City of Charlottetown (population ~40,500) is the capital and largest city of Prince Edward Island and the seat of Queens County. As a waterfront city, it is facing climate change impacts such as rising water levels, increased flood risk, increased intensity of storms, and frequent droughts. Services such as flood management and water quality improvements are high priority concerns due to growing impermeable surfaces in urban areas.
Town of Stratford, Prince Edward Island
The Town of Stratford (population ~9,700) is located in Queens County, Prince Edward Island. It is southeast of the City of Charlottetown and is the third-largest municipality in the province.
The Town of Stratford’s interest in natural asset management is two-fold. First, it wants to better understand the natural assets upon which it relies for services. This includes gaining knowledge on their condition, the threats they face, and the services they provide. This understanding will help better protect and enhance these natural assets.
Second, the Town of Stratford aims to incorporate natural asset management into its existing asset management plans. This inventory will serve as a starting point to identify resources that may be required for natural asset management4
City of Moncton, New Brunswick
The City of Moncton (population ~71,800) is the largest urban centre in the province of New Brunswick. It is also known as the Hub City due to its central inland location and history as a railway and land transportation hub for the Maritimes.
Town of Sackville, New Brunswick
The Town of Sackville (population ~6,099) is in southeastern New Brunswick in the County of Westmorland, about 10 km from the Nova Scotia border and 42 km from Moncton.
Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia
The Halifax Regional Municipality (population ~400,000) is the capital for the province of Nova Scotia and is located within the traditional ancestral lands of the Mi’kmaq people. It is a large municipality by area (nearly 6,000 sq km) with considerable Atlantic coast shoreline.
Cohort 2 Communities
In 2018-2020, six additional local governments further refined the municipal natural asset methodology that was piloted in Cohort 1, and added additional practical examples to the evidence base for municipal natural asset management. City of Courtenay, BC, District of Sparwood, BC, City of Oshawa, ON, Town of Florencevillle-Bristol, NB, Town of Riverview, NB, Village of Riverside-Albert, NB
Cohort 1 Communities
In 2016-17, five pilot communities tested and refined the municipal natural asset management approach and methodology: the City of Nanaimo, BC, Town of Grand Forks, BC, District of West Vancouver, BC, Town of Oakville, ON, and the Region of Peel, ON. Each community selected a natural asset of interest within their jurisdiction with which to pilot municipal natural asset management, and the MNAI team worked closely with municipal staff to guide them through the methodology. You can read the summary of the findings here, or the full reports here.
Town of Gibsons, British Columbia
The community that started it all. Gibsons is fortunate to have many natural assets, which form a fundamental part of the Town’s infrastructure. The Gibsons Aquifer, for example, provides water storage and filtration, while delivering drinking water so pure it meets health standards without any chemical treatment. Creeks and woodlands help manage the rainwater. And the foreshore area of the beaches acts as a natural seawall. Click here for more information on the work they’ve completed to date on natural asset management.