|| Print ||
|Thursday, March 24, 2011|
A local environmental group is developing a market-based approach to the enduring challenge of conserving freshwater habitat.
Joe Whitworth, president of Portland-based The Freshwater Trust, said the new environmental market would assess monetary values to natural elements that improve river and stream habitat, similar to how carbon credits are used to offset environmental costs. The goal is to encourage the restoration of rivers and streams throughout the state without resorting to the usual legal battles.
Whitworth described the plan during a day-long forum at Portland State University organized around the theme of facing a future of climate change-related challenges through collaboration rather than harsh regulations and combative lawsuits.
Facing a room of farmers, water managers and ranchers who 15 years ago might have said unkind things about his efforts to protect salmon under the Endangered Species Act, Whitworth sheepishly echoed the atmosphere of collaboration when he said that “we have to get past our past in order to get to our future.”
One factor that Whitworth spoke to that has been a barrier to progress is the disconnect between the many governmental agencies that oversee matters of natural resource management. “There are only 16 ways to fix a river,” he joked, noting that in some cases you have to work with over a dozen different agencies on a given restoration project. “We needed a translator…to complete projects.”
In order to get past this hurdle and effectively develop an “Environmental Market,” The Freshwater Trust developed a software program called “StreamBank”that streamlines the permitting process and, according to Whitworth, cuts 70% of a given conservation project's completion time. The software acts as a sort of Turbo Tax for the permitting and monitoring of a project that allows restoration workers to make sure they meet regulatory demands. The photo above, provided by Freshwater Trust, shows a typical restoration project in Oregon.
Of Oregon’s 115,000 stream miles, 85,000 need help, Whitworth said. To meet restoration needs, he said that instead of building multi-million dollar cooling towers to cool treated water, businesses or municipalities that discharge into waterways could help plant trees along waterways to cool the water and improve native fish habitat. The Environmental Market, akin to a carbon trading market, would help do this by rewarding landowners for every “unit of good” they produce, units that could then be purchased by a business or municipality that discharges into a waterway to offset the habitat harming effects of dumping warm, treated water into river habitats.
Here’s a rough idea of how it would work:
Whitworth said that four pilot projects backed by United States Department of Agriculture loan guarantees are under development in different regions in the state and that he hopes that one day such a market-based solution to conservation could be scaled nationally. “This is going to happen…because we have the tools to make it happen,” he said.
Peter Beland is an associate writer for Oregon Business.
|OHSU researchers work on AIDS vaccine|
|Lean in? Not Sabrina Parsons.|
|Oregon agriculture - not just a commodity|
|The cable guy|
|Outside the box|
|Government spies snooped in video games|
|Tech firms seek surveillance reform|
|Ice storm wreaks havoc nationwide|
|Federal Reserve could ease stimulus sooner rather than later|
|Measles cases rise in U.S.|
|World mourns Nelson Mandela|
|Supreme Court to decide patent fracas between Google and Microsoft|
Produced by the Oregon Business marketing department
When the Portland-based manufacturing company Glass Alchemy, Ltd. was first nominated for an Oregon State University Austin Family Business Excellence in Family Business award in 2004, husband-and-wife team Henry Grimmett and Susan Webb-Grimmett, were honored and optimistic about their chances of winning.
Some employers have embraced the use of employment arbitration agreements as a way to manage and mitigate the rising costs, risks and liabilities associated with employment-related claims. Historically, employment arbitration agreements require employees to present employment-related claims, such as employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, harassment, or claims for wages or compensation to an arbitrator, in lieu of proceeding to court.
Produced by the Oregon Business marketing department
Boly:Welch was founded in 1986 based on a close connection between Diane Boly and Pat Welch. The two had worked together at another recruitment firm and shared certain core values: passion for their work, a sense of humor, a commitment to their community and a desire to create a healthy, nurturing work environment.
The Oregon New Lawyers Division of the Oregon State Bar recognized two of Barran Liebman’s own at their Annual Meeting and Social on November 1.
Barran Liebman LLP is proud to announce that Iris Tilley has been named a partner with the firm. Iris has been with Barran Liebman since 2009 and is a member of the Employee Benefits practice group. She advises employers in all aspects of employee benefits, including ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, retirement plans, compensation agreements, and health care reform.
Dunn Carney will host its annual Ag Summit on Jan. 10, 2014 at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville, OR. We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Sherri Noxel, Director of the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University College of Business as our Keynote speaker.