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From the Editors

Greetings!

As California entered its sixth year of drought, Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark law last month, Assembly Bill 2480, declaring that "source watersheds are recognized and defined as integral components of California's water infrastructure." In so doing, he made it possible to funnel billions of dollars in infrastructure finance towards the restoration of forests and the maintenance of meadows, streams and rivers.

This issue has been on the minds of many conservationists for years. California lawmakers' decision to incorporate "natural infrastructure" into its water budget is part of a growing global trend of high-level support for nature-based solutions, according to preliminary findings from Ecosystem Marketplace's State of Watershed Investments 2016 report, slated for release soon. 

It's happening in a big way in Peru and shades of it in other parts of the world too. This month's Water Log tracks the latest examples: Washington D.C. just issued an environmental impact bond to finance green infrastructure, while the Climate Bonds Initiative recently approved a standard for sustainable water green bonds. Meanwhile, some thought leaders are expecting to see a big increase in investments in nature in the near future.

In other news, in October Ecosystem Marketplace launched with our partners the US Department of Agriculture and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) new freely-available map data on ecosystem markets in the United States. You can browse the data (along with 300+ scientific and demographic map layers) or download it free of charge at EPA's EnviroAtlas platform. 

All this and more are summarized below. Happy reading, 

- The Ecosystem Marketplace team

 
   

Latest News

New Mapping Data Reveals Major Growth in Eco Markets

Environmental markets have grown dramatically across the United States, thanks in part to measures implemented by the Obama administration, but to date it's been hard to understand how activity has emerged across the landscape. A new “Atlas of Ecosystem Markets” aims to change that by distilling data from several sources into a clear, simple, mapping tool for regulators, researchers, and users.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

Deforestation Leaves Haiti Especially Vulnerable To Hurricane Matthew

We won’t know the toll of Hurricane Matthew for days or even weeks, but we do know that it will be much higher than it would have been if Haiti had healthy forests, and that an economy of desperation is driving deforestation there. Environmental markets have managed to save and restore forests around the world, but can that approach work in Haiti?

Read more at Ecosystem Marketplace.

New California Law Recognizes Meadows, Streams As "Green Infrastructure", Eligible For Public Works Funding

As degraded watersheds drag California into its sixth year of drought, a new law makes forests, farms, and fields eligible for infrastructure funding. The state is hardly alone, according to new research by Ecosystem Marketplace, which shows a surge in public support for payments for watershed services across the United States and around the world.

Keep reading here.

HERE'S THE DEAL

Washington D.C. will Fund Green Infrastructure with Nation's First Environmental Impact Bond

Washington D.C.'s water utility, DC Water, recently sold the nation's first Environmental Impact Bond (EIB), intended to fund green infrastructure projects, to Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group and Calvert Foundation for $25 million. The EIB uses an innovative financing structure where performance risk is shared among DC Water and investors. If it's successful, other municipalities may use similar instruments to fund green infrastructure.

Read the DC Water press release.

DC Water's EIB is a significant milestone for green infrastructure finance, says Alissa Valderrama of the Natural Resources Defense Council. In a blog post, she explains how the new funding mechanism harnesses a pay-for-performance approach.

Read the post at NRDC.

Are the SDGs and Paris Agreement a Call to Action for Conservation Finance?

Investments in nature are rich in impact but typically poor in cash flows, explains Agustin Silvani, Vice President of Conservation Finance at Conservation International. However, nature's ability to alleviate poverty and mitigate climate change is outlined both in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, which is why Silvani believes we are on the eve of a massive scale-up in conservation finance.

Read more of Augustin Silvani's thoughts on this issue at Environmental Leader.

Going Green Vertically

In certain urban situations, the only way to "go green" is by growing upward. Malaysia's tropical capital city Kuala Lumpur is already thinking along these lines. Green buildings could reduce temperatures by 10 degrees in the city, significantly decreasing the heat island effect, air-conditioning costs, and air pollution in one beautiful green swoop.

Clean Malaysia has details. 

How to Make Lemonade out of Pricey Stormwater Regs

Jeremy Sokulsky of Environmental Incentives says US cities should use the shocking cost of compliance to manage stormwater as an incentive to spur investments in creative solutions. After all, compliance isn't the only positive outcome: leveraging stormwater to increase groundwater supplies or harvesting rainwater to manage runoff can utilize the dirty water as a community-wide resource.

Read Jeremy Sokulsky's whole post at Environmental Incentives.

POLICY WATCH

To Trade or Not to Trade? Maryland County Awaits an Answer

Officials from Maryland's Ann Arundel County intend to establish a nutrient trading program to help business owners and homeowners meet looming stormwater requirements. These officials say such a program is cost-effective and allows for more flexibility. But they're waiting for the Maryland Department of Environment to approve the method.

Capital Gazette has details.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

Big Corporate Names Sign Up for Sustainable Sourcing and Water Stewardship

Seven major food companies made commitments this month to reduce water use and pollution impacts by engaging with thousands of growers in their supply chains. Companies such as Pepsi, General Mills, Kellogg and WhiteWave will participate in the AgWater Challenge, an initiative created by WWF and Ceres that evaluates companies' sustainable sourcing and water stewardship plans.  

Read more at Agri-Pulse.

California Movers and Shakers Meet Drought Head-On

A consortium of investors, businesses and NGOs are teaming up to tackle California's drought, now in its sixth consecutive year. The California Water Action Collaborative has laid out four water-related projects they plan to engage in: Farmland groundwater recharge, headwaters restoration, corporate water stewardship and restoring water in the San Gabriel and Big Tujunga Watershed.

Read more at Green Biz.

Introducing the Water Bond Standard

Investors interested in sustainable climate-resilient water bonds now have a verifiable, science-based screening process to use for evaluation. Earlier this month, the Climate Standards Board approved new criteria, ensuring that bonded initiatives consider environmental losses and climate risks and include climate adaptation and mitigation plans.

Get details from the Climate Bonds Initiative.

Read an interview on Forbes with Monika Freyman, the Director of Investor Initiative in Ceres' Water Program, discussing the new standard. The Climate Bonds Initiative, in conjunction with Ceres, CDP, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation and the World Resources Institute created the standard.  

NEW RESEARCH

Harvesting Timber and Water

New research from the University of Florida explores potential payments for water yield from forest lands. It finds that even with low prices, landowners are better off managing for water yields than for timber alone. The study focuses on the largely privately-owned forests of the Southeastern US.

Check out the report here.

Building a Water-Wise World

Engineers, water managers and other stakeholders involved in urban planning are embracing sustainable water management. During the World Water Congress, the International Water Association launched the Principles for Water Wise Cities - guidelines for making cities more livable and resilient.

The Source Magazine has the details.

   
   

ABOUT FOREST TRENDS' ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Ecosystem Marketplace is an initiative of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our market tracking programs are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact info@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

 
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