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Ecosystem Marketplace, Marketplace Water Log

February 29, 2016    

Water Photo

From the Editors

We always hear that everything's bigger in Texas, but what about Alaska? It's bigger than Texas, California and Montana combined, and its forests hold almost half the living wood of the United States, while its marshes, bogs, and tundra comprise 63% of the country's wetlands.

These ecosystems store massive amounts of carbon in their trees, soil, and peat, but no one knows how much is there – let alone how much will be lost to the atmosphere as the climate changes over the next 20-50 years. That's a challenge for US climate policy, because the forests, farms, and grasslands of the United States sponge up roughly 15% of the country's industrial greenhouse gas emissions. 

"There's a lot of debate around whether America's fields and forests will continue to play this large role, or whether the sink will begin to decline," says Emily McGlynn, a Senior Advisor on Renewables & Environment at Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends. 

Why are we talking about carbon in our water newsletter again? A new report from Forest Trends, Building Carbon in America's Farms, Forests, and Grasslands: Foundations for a Policy Roadmap, takes stock of current policy tools and opportunities to create value for landowners who manage carbon across the landscape. And it turns out that that existing policies for protecting water-rich landscapes - like the Clean Water Act - and market models - like wetlands compensatory mitigation - have much to offer us in terms of protecting land carbon sinks.  Read the report or get a summary from Ecosystem Marketplace here.

Also in the newsletter this month: stories on new models for early-stage conservation finance and recommendations for rapidly scaling up private investment in conservation. We also have coverage of the ongoing US Clean Water Act rulemaking battleimproving water governance in Bangladesh, and development of a new green infrastructure certification program in Washington DC.

Happy reading!

— The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

For questions or comments, please contact newsletter@ecosystemmarketplace.com

EM Headlines


Integrated Capital Funds Can Finance Environmental Markets

Environmental entrepreneurs have been struggling to access mainstream finance, but the emergence of “integrated capital funds” could change that. These are pools of capital that can provide discretionary forms of debt, equity and grants to support social and environmental entrepreneurs whose businesses are beyond the scope of microcredit but not mature enough for conventional commercial markets.

  – Read it at Ecosystem Marketplace.

Can Conservation Finance Reach The Mainstream Investment Market?

Environmental degradation poses a massive threat to our civilization, and conservation finance must go mainstream if it’s to mobilize the kinds of funds needed to address it. Credit Suisse and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment say this mainstreaming can be achieved, and here’s how.

  – Read it here.

Gold Standard Opens Public Commenting On Version 3.0, Aims To Integrate Water, Carbon, and Health

The Gold Standard has opened a public consulting period for its latest standard, which promises to integrate water, carbon, and health benefits in one certification. Commenting will run for 60 days, closing on Monday, April 4. Here’s how you can participate.

  – Find out more from EM.

Forests, Farms, And Fields Absorb 15% Of US Carbon Emissions, But Face Uncertain Future. Here’s How To Save Them.

The forests, farms, and fields of the United States sponge up roughly 15% of the country’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions, but that carbon sink is under threat as forests age, urban areas expand, and the climate changes. A new study says carbon finance, green bonds, and a dash of policy coordination can help ensure a robust sink for years to come.

  – Get the full story here.

On World Wetlands Day: The Allure And Elusiveness Of Mangroves As Carbon Sinks

Wetlands, and especially mangrove forests, sequester far more carbon per square mile than do tropical forests, and they also provide shelter for fish, protect the coast from storm surges, and keep coral reefs alive. On World Wetlands day, we examined the unappreciated value of these critical ecosystems.

  – Keep reading here.

Forestry Giant Pushes Peatlands Restoration Model As Threat Of Haze Looms

While Asia Pulp and Paper steadfastly denied any part in Indonesia’s fire and haze disaster last year, it was nonetheless singled out as a main contributer. Here, APP’s Director of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement, Aida Greenbury, discusses the company’s efforts to turn its business model away from deforestation.

  – Learn more.

In The News


US Clean Water Rule Finally Finds a Legal Home

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Ohio determined it has jurisdiction to hear the numerous lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers' Clean Water Rule. Thirty one states filed five lawsuits throughout the country, though the court didn't set a date as to when they would hear the cases. 

  – Learn more here.

New Orleans goes Green with Help from the Masters

New Orleans, Louisiana is making plans to cease its long-time battle with water and embrace its watery landscape, using such cities as Amsterdam and Philadelphia as models for filtering and absorbing stormwater using green infrastructure. 

  – Read it here.

Australia Takes Steps to Control Its Water Rights

The Australian government will begin monitoring the water rights of foreign owners through a required registry, in response to growing concern about the amount of farmland being sold to overseas actors. The monitoring system is also promised to help the government keep prices on the water market from rising too high.

  – Reuters has coverage.

Fighting for a Return of the Mangroves in Myanmar

Villages in Myanmar are attempting to drum up support for mangrove restoration. Huge swaths of the coastal forests, which provide a strong barrier against hurricane winds and rain, have been converted into paddy fields in the country. Hundreds of people were recently killed as a result when the country's most deadly cyclone tore over their unprotected homes. Local communities have received some political support and attention for mangrove reforestation, though the regional governments remain noncommittal.  

  – Read it at Frontier Myanmar.



Improved Water Governance could have Multi-Pronged Positive Impact in Bangladesh

WWF and Swedish clothing retailer, H&M collaborated on two reports related to water governance and management in Bangladesh, a country whose economy is heavily reliant on the apparel sector but which is also leading to negative impacts both on its waterways and people. Findings show improvements in living standards, food security and economic growth is dependent on better water governance and the reports recommend water stewardship that includes properly monitored water regulations and a more inclusive decision-making process that includes local stakeholders like farmers.

  – Learn more from WWF.

New Program Aims to Launch Nature-Based Solutions in Washington D.C. and Beyond

DC Water's efforts to implement green infrastructure in Washington D.C recently got a boost, when the water authority signed on to develop a National Green Infrastructure Certification Program in partnership with the Water Environment Federation. The program is aimed at promoting skilled green infrastructure implementation and community-based job creation throughout the US. It also supports DC Water's efforts to use green solutions to manage combined sewer overflows.  

  – Learn more.

Scaling Up Water Finance By Thinking Small

Stanford researchers published this month a new roadmap for scaling up finance for water infrastructure. The report represents an ambitious plan at a time of flagging investment in the US and in many other countries. Among report authors picks for smart strategies are "distributed solutions:" small-scale, easily implemented projects like green infrastructure for stormwater that can be scaled up through incentives and non-traditional funding models.

  – Learn more and read the report here.

The Water-Wildfire Connection

The American Forest Foundation looks closely at the relation between water supply and wildfires in the US west in a new report, which suggests a public-private approach is the best solution to manage this challenge while also highlighting existing efforts to mitigate wildfire risk. 

  – Learn more at the USDA blog.

New Guide On Managing for Natural Coastal Values

The World Bank-led Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) partnership recently published new guidance on integrating coastal mangroves ecosystems and coral reefs into planning for development, disaster risk and coastal zone management. These ecosystems offer tangible protective services for communities that can be measured and valued.

  – Learn more from the WAVES Partnership.

Restoring Land for Water, Wildlife and People in Maryland

Under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded Maryland's Department of Natural Resources $750,000 to fund watershed restoration on 140 acres near the mouth of Popes Creek. State and local partners will provide matching funds of over $800,000 to restore habitat for wildlife and secure clean water supplies.

  – Get the full story here.

Scientists make Progress on Putting a Price on Nature

 A group of scholars from Yale University and other institutions released a formula earlier this month that they say calculates natural capital in monetary terms, capturing everything from forests to groundwater. Researchers say the framework they've created will allow policy-makers to make more informed choices when making allocation decisions, perhaps leading to more investment in nature which will help spur sustainable development. 

  – The Washington Post has coverage.


Program Officer, Forest and Land Use Specialist

IUCN - Quito, Ecuador

Based in Quito, Ecuador, the program officer will support national technical and political teams who are joining the Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020. The position involves managing in-country landscape restoration assessments in South America and overseeing multidisciplinary teams, among other responsibilities. The successful candidate will have a master’s degree in forestry and five to seven years of experience managing multi-stakeholder projects, with proven experience working in South America.

  – Learn more here.

Assistant Director of Markets

Ecosystem Investment Partners - Baltimore MD, USA

EIP is a national leader in developing and selling land-based environmental offsets, principally through Section 404 Clean Water Act mitigation banks. EIP is a dynamic, entrepreneurial private firm that pioneered private equity as a capital source for large-scale, third-party mitigation offset solutions for permittees. EIP’s current portfolio of 16 mitigation banks spans 60,000 acres and includes over 100 miles of stream restoration. EIP’s projects range from bog restoration in Minnesota to coastal marsh restoration in Louisiana. EIP is in a growth phase (having recently raised our third institutional investment fund) and will be substantially increasing the number of mitigation banks owned and managed by the firm over the next 4 years. As such, we seek a dynamic professional to join our credit sales and marketing team.

  – Learn more here.

Business Development Representative

The Westervelt Company - Auburn AL, USA

Based in Auburn, Alabama, the Business Development Representative will conduct market analysis, plan and conduct outreach to potential clients of Westervelt Environmental Services with specific focus in Alabama.  The Westervelt Company is a land resource organization managing nearly 500,000 acres of timberland and natural resources to standards certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative.  The businesses include certified forestry, renewable energy, real estate, wildlife management, ecological restoration, and mitigation and conservation banking.

  – Learn more here.



National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference

Headed to Texas in 2016, we invite you to join us at this incredible conference on mitigation, conservation & ecosystem banking! Entering its 19th year, this Conference is well established as a "must attend event" for those in ecosystem banking, offering sessions for the very advanced to those new to banking. Founded in 1997 with a diverse steering committee of leaders in the regulatory, banking and environmental community, this is the first - and only - National hands-on conference focused on mitigation, conservation and ecosystem banking to protect wetlands, endangered species and other natural resources. It is well known for bringing together key stakeholders to explore policy & practice, share successes and failures, and learn about trends, science and emerging markets. 10-13 May 2016. Fort Worth TX, USA.

  – Learn more here.

World Water Week 2016: Water for Sustainable Growth

World Water Week in Stockholm is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by SIWI. Last year was the jubilee year for both the Week and the Stockholm Water Prize. The theme was Water for Development. In 2015, over 3,000 individuals and close to 300 convening organizations from 130 countries participated in the Week. Experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries come to Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. We believe water is key to our future prosperity, and that together, we can achieve a water wise world. 27 August – 2 September 2016. Stockholm, Sweden. 

  – Learn more here.

EcoSummit 2016

The 5th International EcoSummit Congress, EcoSummit 2016 - Ecological Sustainability: Engineering Change, will centre on the ecology of terrestrial ecosystems and all habitats that are integrated within those ecosystems, including river networks, wetlands and coastlines. Focus will be placed on fragile ecosystems that are more likely to suffer the consequences of climate change and anthropogenic pressure. However, in the current context of an increasing world population, changes in social habit (increasing world consumerism) and climate change, it is evident that agriculture is being intensified but with a growing awareness of the need to preserve and use sustainably world resources. Therefore, we will also address how terrestrial restoration can be carried out when the massive demand for food results in fragile ecosystems, forests and marginal lands being turned over to agriculture. 29 August – 1 September 2016. Montpelier, France. 

  – Learn more here.

2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Council has selected Hawaii, United States of America, as the host of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress - the world's largest conservation event. Held every four years, the Congress brings together leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and indigenous and grass-roots organizations to discuss and decide on solutions to the world's most pressing environment and development challenges. 1-10 September 2016. Hawaii, USA.

  – Learn more here.

IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition

The IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition is the global event for water professionals. It offers new insights into how pioneering science, technological innovation and leading practices shape the major transformation in water management that is underway. It draws over 5,500 of the top water, environment and related professionals from more than 100 countries from across the water sector, including thought leaders from within and beyond the water sector. 9-13 September 2016. Brisbane, Australia.

  – Learn more here.



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