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Natural Assess Inventory & Ecosystem Service Assessment for the Town of Okotoks

Clare, S., Koenig, S., Campbell, H., & Schewchuk, P. (2020). Natural Asset Inventory and Ecosystem Service Assessment for the Town of Okotoks. Fiera Biological Consulting.

Through many of their existing municipal policies, such as the Community Vision, Municipal Development Plan, Environmental Management Plan, and various action plans to promote climate resilience, the Town of Okotoks has clearly acknowledged that natural assets provide essential ecosystem services to citizens. Further, recent work completed by the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board specifically acknowledges the importance of considering ecosystem service provisioning in the identification of local and regional Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Thus, in order to support decision-making that is consistent with existing local and regional policies, this study was initiated to develop a comprehensive inventory of natural and semi-natural assets present within the Town. Further, this inventory was used as the basis for developing monetary estimates for a number of key ecosystem services that were identified by the Town as being important to the well-being of citizens. Finally, this inventory was used to evaluate a proposed land development scenario in order to demonstrate how the inventory can be used to help support decision making and to illustrate how ecosystem service values were predicted to change under a proposed future development state.