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Paid Ecosystem Services – Finding the opportunities in East Suffolk​

Download the following full specification document here: Essex and Suffolk Partnership CaBA Plan Development 2014_PES approach

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Overarching Approach

This will be a process that focuses on managing the natural environment for the provision of all environmental assets including water quality, water flow (quantity of water in the environment), natural habitats for land and water based plants and animals, regulation of the climate (e.g carbon sequestration) and recreation opportunities (e.g fishing, sailing) The creation of a plan that leads to genuine integration of resources necessitates process above.  Essentially, we need to identify what are the key environmental assets (or ecosystem services) that are provided within our CaBA area and which aspects of this area (e.g habitats, soil types, typography, land uses) are most important, or have the most potential, for providing each of these services.  Geographical areas capable of delivering multiple ecosystem service enhancement offer particularly attractive opportunities.  We can then target efforts geographically to assist the delivery of these ecosystem services where they are regarded as depleted.

Creating a plan for the East Suffolk Area Due to the rationale outlined above, it is envisaged the East Suffolk CaBA Plan will be developed using an integrated approach which goes beyond aquatic ecology and water quality management per se, whilst ensuring Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives are delivered.  In essence, WFD related improvements will be one objective, rather than dictating the entire shape of the plan, the aims of which are to facilitate the management of all aspects of the natural environment, of which water is only one – albeit crucially important – component. Activity Strands The development of the East Suffolk CaBA Plan will involve a number of ‘Activity Strands’ as outlined below:

Strand 1. Ecosystem Services delivery opportunity mapping and intervention development

This strand will consider which land management and land use interventions can provide optimal delivery of multiple ecosystem services (including clean water).

This strand will consist of the following activities:

  1. working with stakeholders to undertake an audit of the key aspects within the CaBA area (e.g habitats, soil types, land use) that deliver (or impact on) each of the following ecosystem services: (1) clean water in surface and groundwaters, (2) base flows in rivers, (3) flood risk reduction, (4) space for wildlife (aquatic and terrestrial) and (5) carbon sequestration

  2. working with stakeholders to assess whether the provision of each of the above ecosystem services is being negatively impacted within the CaBA area and, if so, where

  3. working with stakeholders to identify specific geographical areas where key aspects identified at 1. above could be targeted with appropriate interventions (as defined by stakeholders) to improve the delivery of impacted ecosystem services.  Areas capable of delivering multiple ecosystem services will be explored carefully.  Costs of various interventions to be assessed


The above activity will generate a map of the CaBA area detailing where the least number of land management and land use interventions can deliver the most benefit to the greatest number of ecosystem services.


Strand 2. Point Source Water Pollution assessment and intervention development

Point source pollution is a feature of nearly every catchment in the UK and is not influenced by land management activities or land use per se.  It is a discrete topic in its own right, requiring bespoke assessment and site-specific interventions.


This strand will consist of the following activities:

  1. working with stakeholders to identify whether there are any watercourses being impacted by sewage treatment works, industrial discharges or rural domestic point source pollution (i.e septic tanks)

  2. working with stakeholders to develop a plan for mitigating these specific sources of water pollution.  Costs of various interventions to be assessed

Strand 3. Review of recreation activities, green infrastructure provision and intervention development

Human beings undertake a variety of recreational activities in river catchments including pursuits as broad as angling, walking, riding, wildfowling, cycling, canoeing and sailing.  There is a growing demand for some of these activities.  Local Authorities are also under pressure to create enough ‘green infrastructure’ within their jurisdictions to ensure local communities have access to sufficient space to meet their recreational needs. Each of these recreational activities is being provided by the natural environment and, as such, they can be considered a form of ecosystem service the management of which needs careful consideration alongside the provision of other ecosystem services e.g provision of water quality or space for wildlife.  An intervention to improve access for cyclists through a wood might be good for cyclists but it might disturb wildlife and cause soil erosion which impacts negatively on adjacent watercourses.


This strand will consist of the following activities:

  1. working with stakeholders to assess current recreational activity in the CaBA area and whether there is sufficient access to facilities and/or space for people to undertake these activities

  2. working with stakeholders to assess the positive and negative impacts of recreational activity on other ecosystem services

  3. working with stakeholders to assess where additional recreational facilities and/or space should be created, if needed, and how any negative trade-offs with other ecosystem services might be managed.  Costs of various interventions to be assessed

Strand 4. Public/Business engagement planning and intervention development

There is a great deal that members of the public and businesses can do through their everyday behaviours to protect the natural environment within the CaBA area.  Failure to engage the local community and businesses is cited as a key reason why environmental management plans have often failed in the past.

This strand will consist of the following activities:

  1. working with stakeholders to identify which pro-environmental behaviours will yield most benefits to the natural environment within the CaBA area

  2. working with stakeholders to put in place a strategy that will bring these pro-environmental behaviours about.  Costs of various interventions to be assessed

Method for stakeholder interaction and involvement

The activities outlined above will be achieved through a sequence of stakeholder workshops and ‘non-workshop’ discussions with specific stakeholders to deal with particular issues stemming from the workshops.  The process is designed around the formation of individual workgroups who will each undertake bespoke activities relevant to the formation of the CaBA Plan.  Whilst workshops will provide a key vehicle for individual workgroups to undertake their tasks and, crucially, share their work with other workgroups, much of the detailed activity will happen during the periods between workshops. 


During these periods, the CaBA host (Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust) will work with individual Workgroups to obtain and scrutinise suitable data and evidence to help each group refine its analysis and outputs.  It is envisaged much of this ‘non-workshop’ interaction will be through email exchange (and teleconferences where relevant) to avoid placing too much burden on stakeholder time and resources. In addition, an Ecosystem Services Mapping GIS project will be delivered which will seek to translate the outputs of the discussions and workshops into a series of ‘Opportunity Maps’. Devised and written by Alex Inman – May 2014

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