Quantifying the Values and Benefits of Indigenous Guardian Programs on the coast of BC

“Having all of the benefits and activities of our Coastal Guardian programs written down in this report is so helpful because it provides a framework as our Guardian program continues to evolve and grow.  I can also use the findings in this report as ‘evidence’ when talking with government, industry and funders about the importance of our Guardian programs.” Ross Wilson, former Metlakatla Stewardship Director.

Valuing Coastal Guardian Watchmen Programs: A Business Case" is a report prepared by EcoPlan International for the Coastal Stewardship Network and TNC Canada that looks at the costs, benefits and values associated with Indigenous Guardian programs in seven coastal First Nation communities. 

The Business Case describes and quantifies the social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits of Indigenous Guardian Programs and not surprisingly found that investments in Indigenous Guardian Programs generate significant value for Nations and communities.  For the Nations that participated in this study, their Indigenous Guardian programs made significant contributions to:

  • Taking care of their territory.
  • Nurturing cultural wellbeing.
  • Improving general health and community wellbeing.
  • Advancing governance authority for their Nation.
  • Increasing community capacity.
  • Opening and promoting economic opportunities
  • Providing financial capital inflows to the community.

Beyond these benefits, the authors estimated that for each dollar invested in a program on a yearly basis, the Nation benefits at least 10 times that amount. This return-on-investment is calculated by first understanding the changes that communities have experienced as a result of their Guardian programs, and then considers the importance of those changes, ultimately calculating the value of those changes in dollar terms.  These findings provide communities with a tool to better communicate the many ways in which Guardian programs create value.

William Trousdale, one of the authors from EcoPlan, had this to say:  “From our perspective, this analysis is exciting and important because it not only articulates a more comprehensive picture of benefits communities are realizing from the Coastal Guardian Watchman program, it also translates these benefits to dollar measures, helping to communicate this value communities are seeing on a daily basis to a wider audience. “

Interested in learning more about the methods and the results of the “Valuing Coastal Guardian Watchmen Programs: A Business Case” – would you like to participate in a webinar with the authors of the report and representatives from Nations that participated in the study?  Please click here to let us know if you would like to be contacted when a webinar is scheduled.