BBOP webinar on Wednesday, August 3, 2016: Avoidance in the implementation of wetland law and policy

bbop-logoThere’s another BBOP webi­nar upcom­ing, tomor­row, 3 August.

Avoid­ance is meant to be the first and most impor­tant step in the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy. In prac­tice how­ever, some decision-makers often fail to pri­or­i­tize avoid­ance and min­i­miza­tion efforts prior to off­set­ting, or sim­ply skip this crit­i­cal step. Shari Clare (PhD, PBiol, Sr. Biol­o­gist and Owner of Fiera Bio­log­i­cal Con­sult­ing Ltd., Adjunct Pro­fes­sor in the Fac­ulty of Agri­cul­ture, Life and Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Alberta, Edmon­ton, Alberta, Canada), has stud­ied this issue in the con­text of wet­lands in Alberta. In this webi­nar she’ll present the find­ings from the paper “Where is the avoid­ance in the imple­men­ta­tion of wet­land law and pol­icy?and share thoughts on recent developments.

As usual the webi­nar is part of the BBOP com­mu­nity of prac­tice (all pre­vi­ous webi­nars are archived there if you want to lis­ten to them later).

When and how does the BBOP webi­nar take place?

Wednes­day, 3 August at 13:00 UTC
(8:00am Alberta; 10:00 am EDT)
You can reg­is­ter via this link. Upon reg­is­tra­tion you will receive a con­fir­ma­tion email with the link to the webi­nar (that will become active shortly before the pre­sen­ta­tion stats. You will be con­nected to audio using your computer’s micro­phone and speak­ers (VoIP). A head­set is rec­om­mended. Or, you may select Use Tele­phone after join­ing the Webinar.

Some infor­ma­tion on the BBOP webinar

Wetlands are increas­ingly being rec­og­nized for the eco­log­i­cal goods and ser­vices that they pro­vide to soci­ety, which range from drought and flood pro­tec­tion, to cli­mate reg­u­la­tion and bio­di­ver­sity main­te­nance. Recently found aware­ness of the social and eco­log­i­cal value of wet­lands calls for greater soci­o­log­i­cal atten­tion to the decision-making processes that per­mit wet­land alter­ation and loss, par­tic­u­larly when con­sid­ered within a cli­mate change par­a­digm. A com­mon strat­egy for man­ag­ing wet­lands in North Amer­ica is to first screen projects that have the poten­tial to impact wet­land habi­tats on the basis of the pro­po­nents’ capac­ity to avoid sig­nif­i­cant harm; sec­ondly, reg­u­la­tors con­sider plans and design fea­tures that min­i­mize impacts; and thirdly, the pro­po­nent may be required to com­pen­sate for the loss of wet­land habi­tat through wet­land cre­ation, restora­tion, recla­ma­tion, or a cash pay­ment. Despite the con­tin­ued reliance on this “mit­i­ga­tion” sequence, there is broad agree­ment that the first and most impor­tant step, avoid­ance, is ignored more often than it is imple­mented. Draw­ing on eval­u­a­tive lit­er­a­ture on wet­land pol­icy imple­men­ta­tion in the US, and more specif­i­cally, from a case study involv­ing a set of inter­views with key wet­land pol­icy actors in the Alberta con­text, I will sum­ma­rize com­mon decision-making prac­tices that explain why wet­land avoid­ance is com­monly over­looked in the per­mit­ting process, and why as a pol­icy direc­tive, avoid­ance is sel­dom effec­tive. By crit­i­cally exam­in­ing fac­tors that influ­ence wet­land per­mit­ting deci­sions, improve­ments can be made to wet­land law, reg­u­la­tion, and pol­icy such that losses can be pre­vented, rather than sim­ply fol­low­ing a pat­tern of per­mit­ting losses, and hop­ing that com­pen­sa­tion will replace or off-set lost wet­land area, val­ues, and functions.

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