Natural Capital: Calculating the $ Value of Nature

Wendy-Pulling-sm-150x150Bay Area League Day keynote speaker Wendy Pulling, Director of Conservation Programs at the Nature Conservancy in San Francisco—and a Berkeley resident—gave some vivid concrete examples of where this new approach has been used.  Here is one.

New York City has long drawn its water from upstate natural sources, so pure that NYC did not need a water filtration plant.  Some years ago, water managers realized their water was becoming contaminated and they would need to spend $10 billion to build a huge treatment plant, which would cost millions to operate every year.  But they realized that they had a much cheaper alternative–offering incentives and disincentives that would prevent upstream contamination at the source.  So they instituted regulations and payments so that, for example, farmers would keep their cows out of creeks and lumber companies would leave strips of trees and plants growing along streams and rivers when they cut forests.

Ms. Pulling’s talk—and all the excellent Bay Area League Day talks—can be heard and seen on YouTube on the LWV BayArea channel at

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