What is the value of clean, clear water flowing down a mountain stream? Many would say “priceless,” as irreplaceable as air or sunshine. But the truth is that healthy, intact ecosystems and the ecological services they provide have tangible values which can be measured.
Trout Headwaters we’re in the business of helping our clients identify and enhance natural capital in the form of freshwater resources. Natural capital has value, and revealing the full potential of that value through careful site planning, enhancement, and/or restoration can bring a great return on investment.
What is natural capital?
Natural capital is defined as “the extension of the economic notion of capital (manufactured means of production) to environmental goods and services.” Natural capital is the stock of natural ecosystems that yields a flow of valuable ecosystem goods or services into the future. For example, a stock of trout provides a flow of new trout, a flow which can be sustained indefinitely.
What are the Values and Benefits?
Mountain properties with water-resource amenities like lakes, wetlands, and streams sell for considerably more than their high-and-dry counterparts. When it comes to wetlands, this natural capital provides services like stormwater filtration, vegetation regeneration, flood prevention, and erosion control. Since the flow of services from ecosystems requires that they function as whole systems, the structure and diversity of the system are important components of natural capital. And, for increasingly savvy buyers, the type, location and condition of those resources is of fiscal importance.
Throughout the West, real estate brokers conservatively estimate that land with desirable water resources can be valued as much as five times higher than a comparable property without any streams, lakes, wetlands or river frontage. Money invested in raw land with water resources can appreciate relatively aggressively depending on area - superior to many other investment markets. Water resource restoration and enhancement can further accelerate the appreciation.
Like never before, sustainability is transforming both business practice and performance. Sustainable approaches to site development and water resource enhancement mean greater efficiency, better risk mitigation, and fewer government permitting concerns.
Properties with pristine, highly-functioning water resources realize a competitive advantage among increasingly values-driven consumers.
Because we have always aligned promise with practice, Trout Headwaters is thrilled to see a rise in the level of awareness about the value of natural capital. As consumers become more discerning, they typically strive to align their purchases with their values. Our clients, including developers and private property owners, are reaping the practical and social benefits of green site development and sustainable resource restoration.
We believe that we live in one of the most potentially promising moments in human history, where sustainability meets innovation. Done right, resource restoration will lead a revolution in which developing and conserving our resources can both grow the bottom line, and change the world. Learn more….Tweet