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This Week In Water: A Brazil Matrix And Supply Chain Risk

Ben Dappen

This month, Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends launched an interactive map and database tracking and categorizing over 2,000 payments for ecosystem services in Brazil called the Brazilian Matrix of Ecosystem Services. In other news, a diverse national water quality trading network released a program-building guide.

This month, Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends launched an interactive map and database tracking and categorizing over 2,000 payments for ecosystem services in Brazil called the Brazilian Matrix of Ecosystem Services. In other news, a diverse national water quality trading network released a program-building guide.

This article was originally published in the Water Log newsletter. Click here to read the original.

29 June 2015 | Greetings! Brazil holds more than 12% of the world’s freshwater, but citizens in some parts of the country – most notably São Paulo – have been suffering unprecedented drought this year, in part because of past failure to appreciate the linkages between forests and water supplies. In some quarters, however, the drought has led to a second look at the interlocking services Brazil’s vast natural resources provide: the carbon that its forests keep locked up as they regulate water and the thousands of species of plants and hundreds of species of birds and freshwater fish in its Canada-sized Cerrado, among others.


Brazil’s incredible natural heritage is the
raison d’être for a boom in innovative market-based mechanisms to preserve the country’s natural capital.
We’re excited to announce a new initiative launching this month from Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends with the support of Brazilian non-profit organization Fundo Vale and the Good Energies Foundation: the Brazilian Matrix of Ecosystem Services (Matriz Brasileira de Serviços Ecossistêmicos), an interactive map and database of more than 2,000 payments for ecosystem services programs across Brazil categorized by type: water, carbon, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, livestock, and bundled projects.

 

The Matrix, which has been more than three years in the making, can act as an information and decision-support tool for Brazilian market-makers: “It’s essential for us to understand that all ecosystem services are interconnected if we’re to develop a new and innovative market,” said Mauricio Moura Costa, Executive Director of Bolsa Verde do Rio, an Brazilian organization promoting market mechanisms for environmental compliance.

 

In other news this month, leaders continue to connect the dots between agriculture, water risk, and supply chains. Start with a look at a new report from Ceres that examines the blind spots between corporations and the farmers in their supply chains. South African Breweries is chipping away at the problem with a new sustainable barley program; meanwhile a new initiative in Gujarat, India, will pay farmers to install solar-powered irrigation pumps in an effort to lessen pressure on groundwater.


Speaking of supply chains, we’re hiring! Ecosystem Marketplace’s Supply Change initiative is seeking a research assistant to help us track corporate commitments to reduce ecological impacts in supply chains.

 

Finally, water quality trading in the United States got a boost this month with a new publication from the National Network on Water Quality Trading for stakeholders wondering whether and how to build a trading program. The guide breaks down key decision points and design options, bringing much-welcomed clarity to a technical and complicated process. Learn more and get a copy here.

 

— The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

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


GENERAL

Brazilian Ecosystem Services Matrix Brings Transparency To Environmental Finance

Brazil is not only a hotbed of ecosystem services, it’s also testing grounds for the market-like payments for ecosystem services approach to conserve and manage these natural services. And now, a new initiative launching this month provides a comprehensive way to track, understand and scale these programs using an interactive mapping and database system.

Learn more here.


Mixed Initial Responses To Final US Clean Water Rule

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers finalized their Clean Water Rule in late May. First impressions of the rule, meant to clarify which wetlands and streams are covered under the Clean Water Act, are mixed.

Keep reading at EM.


POLICY UPDATES

Murray-Darling Buybacks Funding Sinks Under New Government

Late last month, Australia’s Liberal Party made good on its campaign promise to cap federal spending on buybacks in the Murray Darling Basin. Buybacks, under which the government buys and effective retires water rights to keep water instream in the beleagured river system, will be capped at 1.5 billion cubic meters (m3) out of a total target of 2.75 billion m3. Funds will be redirected to infrastructure improvements – which critics have pointed out cost three times as much per drop of water restored.

Circle of Blue has the full story.


Resistance to New Clean Water Rule Floods Capitol Hill

Earlier this month, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would force the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to rewrite their recently finalized Clean Water Rule. The Federal Water Quality Protection Act now goes to the Senate floor.

Learn more from EP Newswire.


California Learns Water Conservation from the Masters

Residents of Tucson, Arizona are rooted in a thrifty water culture, with water cops, water-harvesting systems, natural desert vegetation, and more expensive rates for higher users. Now, nearby states like California, still grappling with the region’s dry conditions, are starting to pay attention.

Al Jazeera America has coverage.


Plans to Make the Great Lakes Region a Vision of Water Sustainability

A Great Lakes interstate agency, the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, is attempting to re-design water management in the region so it captures the efficiencies and benefits of natural water systems. Starting with several pilot projects and leveraging private finance to fund stormwater management, the Authority intends to implement green infrastructure measures, which will build resiliency and sustainability both ecologically and economically, the agency says.

 

Learn more.


Grenada Rebuilds the Reefs

Grenada’s government in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is embarking on an ambitious initiative to restore coral reefs surrounding the island country. Kerricia Hobson of Grenada’s Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment noted to the Inter Press Service the multiple benefits of reefs, including supporting the tourism and fisheries industry and coastline protection.

Keep reading here.


GLOBAL MARKETS

They Just Wrote the Book on Water Quality Trading

The National Network on Water Quality Trading, a water quality trading-focused coalition of government agencies and environmental and industry organizations, released a reference document meant to promote the effective development of trading programs. It builds on 11 key design components complete with examples and pros and cons of each approach.

Learn more.
Read about it on the USDA blog.
Download the document (pdf).


‘Til the Well Runs Dry

More water was removed than replaced in 21 of the world’s largest 37 aquifers in the last decade, signaling alarming rates of groundwater depletion, a new study using NASA satellite data finds. Researchers hope the study leads to improved groundwater management, but demand for this resource is only increasing as the California drought lingers and densely-populated regions lack alternative water sources.

Read it at the Washington Post.


New Government Web Platform Puts Environmental Markets on Display

The US Department of Agriculture made public a new online platform that showcases its work supporting the growth of environmental markets. The site is full of success stories, the department says, and will continue to be updated with new tools and news on the subject.

Check out the new platform.


A Sunny Solution to Groundwater Depletion and Poverty in India

The International Water Management Institute of Sri Lanka hatched a new scheme that incentivizes Indian farmers to conserve groundwater. Farmers using solar-powered irrigation pumps can sell excess electricity back to the state, an innovative mechanism that reduces groundwater depletion while aiding the rural poor.

Learn more at National Geographic.


Growing a Connected System Of Farmers and Buyers

Few global food companies are assessing water risk in their agricultural supply chains, according to Ceres’ new report, which identifies a lack of good data on water use in farming operations as a major obstacle. The nonprofit recommends a shift away from fragmented supply chains to integrated systems, which it says will help streamline data collection and make collaboration and communication between corporate food buyers and growers easier.

Get coverage at National Geographic.
Download the report.


Canadian Insurance Sector Bullish on Natural Infrastructure

Despite recent high-profile flood disasters in Calgary and Southern Albert, most Canadians can’t get overland flood insurance (a fact that makes Canada unique among G8 countries). Private insurers say they can’t cover costs or even accurately price risk, since the country’s floodplain maps are unreliable and the natural infrastructure that can absorb or redirect flooding isn’t up to the challenge posed by climate change. Now, the insurance sector is helping support the development of a natural infrastructure adaptation program focused on wetlands.

Learn more.


New Mexico Ramps Up Watershed Investment Portion of Infrastructure Package

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced an additional $3.5 million in funding for watershed restoration in priority areas on public lands. The funds supplement $6.2 million allocated last year as part of an $89 million capital infrastructure spending law.

KWRG has coverage.


Ecosystem Services: The Secret to Low-Cost Farming?

New research finds that enhancing ecosystem services, like natural pest control and soil health maintenance, in reduce farming costs for agricultural operations. Payments for ecosystem services schemes can play a role in making a shift to sustainable agriculture and then help farmers to maintain these systems.

Read it at Huffington Post.


Water Market Believers Continue to Pitch its Potential in California

Advocates of thriving water markets in California point to Australia’s successful use of the mechanism to survive ten years of drought as a prime example of its potential. Supporters say the drought-prone state already has the necessary infrastructure to move water around which, at the least, supports market-oriented policy if not the massive system the Aussies have implemented.

Keep reading here.


A Difference of Opinion Over the Meaning of Conservation Funds in Florida

Three environmental organizations have sued the Florida legislature over what they say is misuse of funds slated for water protection and land purchases for conservation, claiming lawmakers spent millions of dollars on activities unrelated or loosely related to conservation. The group is seeking a court declaration preventing conservation funds from being used as general revenue.

Reuters covers the suit.


SAB Builds a Better Brew with Sustainable Barley

South African Breweries (SAB) recently kicked off a sustainable agriculture program in the South African city of Taung. The initiative is part of SAB’s Better Barley Better Beer, aimed at supporting green economic development and SAB’s own supply chain management efforts.

Read a press release.


JOB LISTINGS

 


Research Assistant – Supply Change

Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace - Washington DC, USA

As companies commit to reduce the ecological impacts of their commodity supply chains, Supply Change provides transparency to their progress – and tracks commitments that count. The Supply Change project is a transformational resource for businesses, investors, governments, and the civil society organizations that support and hold them accountable; providing real-time information on the extent and value of commitment-driven commodity production and demand.

Learn more here.


Climate Scientist, Climate & Energy Program

Union of Concerned Scientists – Washington DC, USA

The Washington, DC based Climate Scientist will carry out research and analysis, outreach, and media activities in support of the Climate and Energy Program. In particular, this position will serve as a resource to the UCS media team by providing robust, timely, accessible, and policy-relevant information on climate science with an emphasis on impacts and adaptation.

Learn more here.


Program Manager – Climate Change and Sustainability

Environmental Science Associates – Northern CA, USA

ESA’s Sustainable Communities Group helps clients navigate the increasingly complex and interconnected needs of business, environment, and society, as climate change and other stressors increase the need for informed decision making and effective stakeholder communication. We serve public and private sector clients, offering planning, technical assistance, and policy expertise in climate change, energy, water, transportation, solid waste, and resource conservation. ESA is seeking an experienced and creative Planner/Program Manager to work under our Sustainable Communities Program Director assist with business development, manage projects, provide technical direction, and forge internal (cross-practice) and external partnerships that will lead to successful outcomes for a diverse range of projects.

Learn more here.


EVENTS

6th SER World Conference on Ecological Restoration

SER (Society for Ecological Restoration) 2015 in Manchester aims to be the major restoration event of the year. Building on recent successful world congresses and regional meetings such as SER Europe 2013 in Finland, we hope to attract a large number of academics and practitioners who will share good practice and network successfully in one of the homes of the industrial revolution. The title: “Towards resilient ecosystems: restoring the urban, the rural and the wild” should provide something for everyone, whether working in highly urbanised, ex-agricultural, or natural wild environments. We mean this conference to be as inclusive as possible and are keen to showcase not only the important scientific developments, issues and solutions, but also the cultural, educational and artistic aspects of restoration ecology. We are hosting a wide range of different types of events during the conference period, with pre-conference training workshops, conference symposia posters, workshops, and oral presentations, as well as half day field trips to see landscapes at first hand. 23-27 August 2015. Manchester, United Kingdom.

Learn more here.


EPA-USDA National Workshop on Water Quality Markets

USDA and EPA are cosponsoring a National Workshop on Water Quality Markets. This event is hosted by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska and coordinated by The Conservation Fund. The Workshop will highlight recent progress in water quality trading across the country with an emphasis on policy, resources, and tool development. The Workshop will provide EPA and USDA with an opportunity to lay out their vision for the role of water quality markets in advancing conservation and water quality goals, and provide you with the tools to engage in water quality markets. 15-17 September 2015. Lincoln NE, USA.

Learn more here.


SOCAP 15

We are a network of heart-centered investors, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders who believe in an inclusive and socially responsible economy to address the world’s toughest challenges. Since 2008, SOCAP has created a platform where social impact leaders can connect and present their ideas to a global audience. Our annual flagship event in San Francisco is the largest conference for impact investors and social entrepreneurs and has drawn more than 10,000 people. 6-9 October 2015. San Francisco CA, USA.

Learn more here.


8th ESP World Conference: Ecosystem Services for Nature, People and Prosperity

The 8th World ESP conference’s central theme is ‘Ecosystem Services for Nature, People and Prosperity’. The conference will pay special attention to the public and private sector dialogue on how the ecosystem services concept can be used to support conservation, improve livelihoods and engage the business community. We especially encourage delegates from businesses to attend the ESP conference in order to discuss challenges and opportunities in using the concept of ecosystem services to achieve conservation and sustainable use of our ‘natural capital’ within a market-context. The conference will provide an excellent platform to engage with experts who can generate solutions to these challenges and start making a difference in practice. 9-13 November 2015. Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Learn more here.


FLARE Network Conference

IFRI is developing a Community of Practice, Forests & Livelihoods: Assessment, Research, and Engagement (FLARE) network which aims to advance the state of knowledge regarding forest-based livelihoods. By bringing together representatives of key stakeholders – donor organizations, environmental and social NGOs, development agencies, and research organizations – we will build on and leverage existing expertise and efforts to share and advance cutting edge knowledge and conversations on forest-based livelihoods. Ultimately, the goals of FLARE are to generate usable information and methodologies for collecting it; develop, promote and share the findings of the group; and implement such tools, knowledge, and methods to improve monitoring efforts and, ultimately, the efficacy of forest-dependent livelihood interventions around the world. 27-30 November 2015. Paris, France.

Learn more here.




CONTRIBUTING TO ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of Forest Trends a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)(3).The non-profit evaluator Charity Navigator has given Forest Trends its highest rating (4 out of 4 stars) recognizing excellence in our financial management and organizational efficiency.


Additional resources
Ben Dappen has worked with Forest Trends since November 2000 as Webmaster and IT Associate, and also provides design and publishing support. He also serves as a web developer for a number of Forest Trends' partners, including the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and Ecoagriculture Partners. Ben graduated from Reed College in 2004 with a History degree.

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