Earth Economics 


Earth Economics provides robust, science-based, ecologically sound economic analysis, policy recommendations and tools to positively transform regional, national and international economics, and asset accounting systems. Working with leading ecologists, economists and modelers, we serve a large circle of businesses, non-profits, government agencies, policy makers and media channels with research, reports, presentations, workshops and investigations.

Mission Statement
Earth Economics applies new economic tools and principles to meet challenges of the 21st century: achieving the need for just and equitable communities, healthy ecosystems, and sustainable economies.
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Earth Economics
107 N Tacoma Ave 
(253) 539-4801 

David Batker 
Executive Director 


Earth Economics Programs

Ecosystem Service Valuations: Working with public, private and NGO agencies, our Ecosystem Service Valuation (ESV) studies quantify the value of the goods and services provided by regional ecosystems. This valuation justifies the shift of investment toward environmental preservation and/or restoration, and unites diverse interests towards a common goal. For example, in 2014 we completed a valuation of the Colorado River Basin’s ecosystems, showing they provide up to $496 billion in economic benefits every year.

Accounting and Management Strategies:  Working with public utilities, businesses, large land owners and managers, we identify, and helps clients adopt, new management approaches that value ecosystem services in addition to built infrastructure and raw materials. Currently we are working alongside six major water utilities, representing 16 million water consumers, leading a national effort to reassess national accounting standards to include the value of natural capital. To shift private and public investment toward green infrastructure requires that natural capital be recognized as a capital asset that is measurable within standard accounting systems.

Funding Mechanisms for Conservation and Restoration: Working with local and state jurisdictions, we apply innovative approaches to fund critical natural infrastructure and conservation work. For example, we are helping groups in the Green/Duwamish River Watershed design a 21st century institution for Washington State, called a Watershed Investment District. This institution would coordinate, at the watershed scale, flood, stormwater and habitat priorities, creating a dependable and efficient funding mechanisms for natural capital.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Recent Successes: In 2013, FEMA adopted a new policy to include ecosystem service values, provided by Earth Economics, in their Benefit-Cost Analysis tool. This is the first time a U.S. Federal agency has explicitly included the economic benefits of ecosystem services in their policies systemically. These values will be applied to more than 80% of all FEMA mitigation including all floods and hurricanes. The findings from Earth Economics' report on the natural capital value of parks in Tacoma were used to promote a bond to improve parks in Tacoma. The $198 million dollar bond was passed in 2014.

Current needs: Earth Economics now has a solid track record of success at the regional, national and international  levels. We have completed successful projects in almost every watershed in Western Washington, including the Green/Duwamish, Snohomish, Nisqually, Puyallup, Chehalis and Cedar River Watersheds. Because we are introducing new economic concepts and tools, and because our reputation is growing so rapidly, much of this work involves outreach service (presentations, workgroups, strategy meetings, phone consultations, etc.) which is not covered by project specific grant funding. In 2010, David Batker, our Executive Director, alone presented to over 25 audiences, including universities, civic groups and other NGOs, professional societies, and state and local government. While this outreach furthers our mission and helps to move Washington State’s economy towards sustainability, it depletes resources needed for fundraising, increasing staff size, replacing old equipment and other capacity building requirements. We are in great need of funding for both time and travel that allows us to continue outreach service.


The goal of ecological economics is to have a healthy economy in a healthy ecosystem that provides a high quality of life for all people. This perspective reflects the increasing recognition by society that a healthy economy and a healthy ecosystem must go together. Earth Economics provides credible, science-based economic analysis, policy recommendations and tools to positively transform regional, national and international economics and asset accounting systems.

Best Practices
Earth Economics works to help businesses, governments and land owners properly assess the value of natural capital, recognizing that the ecosystem is an asset that should be accounted for alongside built infrastructure and raw materials. In practice, this can help with the realization that natural resources often provide better services than built capital, and actually appreciate in value over time. For example, communities often do not understand that floodplains and wetlands are natural, free sources of flood control. Instead, they build expensive levees that demand continual maintenance. Properly valuing the natural capital can ultimately lead to better services that cost less while protecting the environment.
The organization focuses on scalable projects that can start here in Seattle/the Pacific Northwest but then be replicated elsewhere. By proving that these examples work locally, they can become models nationally, resulting in an increased impact from their work.

Proven Success
The work of Earth Economics has had positive measurable impacts in the way local ecosystems are managed. They have provided economic analysis and ecosystem evaluation to justify and catalyze multimillion dollar public investments toward restoration and ecosystem maintenance. They work with and advise numerous local public agencies and have been involved with groups such as the Army Corps and FEMA as they examine their analysis standards.

Earth Economics brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, working with government agencies, universities, environmental nonprofits and business groups. For example, their work with the Green/Duwamish River and Central Puget Sound Watershed Ecosystem Forum- representing 16 cities, King County, the Port of Seattle, Boeing, the Army Corps of Engineers, Washington Departments of Fish & Wildlife, Natural Resources, and Ecology, King Conservation District, and several other citizen, business and environmental entities resulted in a vote to advance an integrated approach to investing in stormwater management, flood protection and salmon habitat restoration to improve the health of the watershed.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

9/10/2009 $6,500.00support the purchase of computer equipment.


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