“ Every farmer knows you should not eat your seed corn, and every banker knows you should not spend your principal. Yet, that is exactly what we are doing with and to our natural capital. ”
This initiative is a multi-county effort to increase the pace and scale of conservation, secure new sources of funding, and enroll new allies for open space conservation and stewardship. The initiative conducts economic valuations of natural capital, or natural resources that can generate income, and documents the return on investment for land conservation and restoration. Nature's Value in Santa Clara County is one in a series of reports that document the economic value and multiple benefits of conservation in the three counties. Additional reports in the series include countywide natural asset valuations for Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties, and detailed economic analyses of benefits, costs, and job creation for conservation investments that protect drinking water supplies, agricultural viability, recreation and tourism, wildlife habitat enhancement, and climate change resiliency.
This initiative found that each year, Santa Clara County’s natural capital provides a stream of ecosystem services to people and the local economy that range in value from $1.6 billion to $3.9 billion. If we value the County’s natural capital in terms of infrastructure that can decrease in value over time, such as roads and bridges, the minimum value of the County's assets would be between $45 billion and $107 billion.
The Authority evaluates ecosystem services including clean air, water quality and water supply, climate stability, moderation of storm events, wildlife habitat, pollination, soil retention, and more.