This SLDI Open Letter is in support of and response to the Presidio Graduate School students’ Open Letter to the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Regarding Ecosystem Service Valuation as part of their capital markets open letter project:
As part of their curriculum, MBA students studying the interconnections of sustainability and business at the Presidio Graduate School are developing a capital markets mechanism to monetize ecosystem services that would incentivize communities to preserve and/or rehabilitate vital local ecosystems, such as watersheds, by utilizing a letter of inquiry to engage the Packard Foundation (the Foundation) as an investor in a proof of concept pilot project for the above model…
Dear Presidio Graduate School students and Packard Foundation Representatives,
Given that healthy watersheds are critical to supporting various functions within a community, the Sustainable Land Development Initiative (SLDI) supports your effort to develop a capital markets mechanism to monetize ecosystem services that would incentivize communities to preserve and/or rehabilitate vital local ecosystems, such as watersheds.
Therefore, in answer to your desire for a model community area that has a need for capital investments to sustainably support its water infrastructure, SLDI respectfully requests your consideration of a partnership opportunity with the following existing model in Curry County, OR:
Port Orford Community Stewardship Area
The southern coast of Oregon is a rare place on earth, where beautiful wild & scenic rivers tumble down through steep canyons, and the the tallest and largest carbon-sequestering forests in the world on their way to a rocky coastline with wide stretches of sandy beach, before pouring out into the mighty Pacific ocean. Along the rugged coast are picturesque working ports, made of hillside homes, small waterfront cafe’s, vibrant art communities, and more parks per mile than anywhere in the USA.
The Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT) has a mission to engage Port Orford fishers and other community members in developing and implementing a Port Orford Community Stewardship Area Plan that ensures the long-term sustainability of the Port Orford reef ecosystem and social system dependent on it. The Redfish Rocks area south of Port Orford has been designated a pilot marine reserve and a broader area of some 30 miles in length along the southern Oregon coast forming a unique 935-square-mile land and sea stewardship area is to protect terrestrial, freshwater, intertidal and ocean reserves.
On February 11th of this year, POORT held its 3rd annual Land-Sea Connection workshop to share healthy best practices with proactive agencies, NGO’s and local stakeholders to improve collaboration within the stewardship area and encourage implementation of the Port Orford Marine Economic Recovery Plan. Located in the stewardship area headwaters along a 1000’ ridgetop overlooking old growth forest and the marine reserve, Ocean Mountain Ranch is a SLDI carbon-negative project that will provide for long-term yield of high-quality hardwood, softwood, and wildlife habitat while serving as a model organic forestry/grazing operation incorporating residential, agricultural, educational, recreational, and industrial activities to promote sustainable land development best practices on the southern Oregon coast by mixing nature, tradition, and economics for a sustainable future.
Financing for ecosystem services is beginning to emerge from some compassionate climate capitalists who have been seeking out carbon offset projects that not only reduce carbon emissions but also have significant social, economic and/or environmental benefits in the communities where the projects are developed. These projects are often referred to as having co-benefits or some call them charismatic projects. Charismatic carbon projects are poised to experience significant growth because there is increasing demand from offset buyers because companies that buy charismatic offsets gain more brand value for buying them than if they had just bought garden variety offsets.
SLDI agrees with you that proving this concept as a successful model would enable investor money to flow to local communities while providing a means of preserving local ecosystems.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sustainable Land Development Initiative
Further Reference: How Curry County got into its fiscal crisis