Speaker Bio & Abstract

Jan Slaats Geospatial Application Engineer
The Nature Conservancy

BiographyJan Slaats is a Geospatial Application Engineer at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), based in Minnesota with 23+ years of experience in conservation GIS. He provides geospatial services to TNCs geospatial community of over 1,650 staff and manages the organizations Esri Enterprise account, including ArcGIS Online members, ArcGIS desktop software licensing, and annual training. Jan also supports 48 non-profit partner conservation organizations, working in 145 locations around the Globe.AbstractWatersheds are being degraded around the world, with dire impacts on water security. Nature based Solutions (NbS) can preserve or restore degraded watersheds, thereby addressing critical water security issues, however today there is a lack of sufficient uptake and investment. This is in part due to the complexity and time required to demonstrate an NbS portfolios positive return on investment (ROI) for water security outcomes, a significant first step required for unlocking at-scale funding commitments by public and private sector water actors.

The WaterProof platform (https://water-proof.org), has been developed to provide users with a rapid and indicative NbS investment portfolio and associated ROI. The tool is intended to engage actors interested in exploring green infrastructure solutions to local water challenges and provide program sponsors with a pre-feasibility level of ROI estimation. Specifically, the system virtualizes a series of natural capital ecosystem service models developed by the Stanford University Natural Capital Project (InVEST and RIOS) and pre-formats relevant global data sets to radically reduce the time, cost, and resources required for NbS portfolio ROI assessments.

Key outputs provided to users include summary watershed characterization, maps for recommended NbS portfolios, full lifecycle costing, ROI evaluation at pre-feasibility level, and co-benefits estimation. The primary audience for this tool includes individuals concerned with watershed stewardship and water treatment costs at utilities, water stewardship leads at private sector companies who are large water users, and conservation practitioners or managers focused on water security and watershed health.