Program Evaluation: The Business Case for the Coastal Guardian Watchmen Program

A business case was conducted by EcoPlan International (EPI) provide a single metric (in this business case – dollars ($)) to help clarify the magnitude and significance of the total value generated by the Coastal Guardian Watchmen programs. This business case differs from conventional approaches in that it includes both market and non-market costs and benefits in the analysis. This means that in addition to identifying and measuring financial costs and benefits, this assessment also evaluates costs and benefits associated with a wide range of other value dimensions as well (social, political, cultural, etc.). It was commissioned by the Coastal Stewardship Network, a program of Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative, and TNC Canada. EPI worked in partnership with all seven member Nations of the Coastal First Nations to undertake the research and data collection required for the analysis.

Its development required three components: An understanding of what was being valued (i.e., a well-defined understanding of the Guardian Watchmen programs; including input costs and associated program activities); Identification of the relevant benefits resulting from these programs; and, Quantitative measures for deriving monetary equivalents for these benefits, from which overall program value could be calculated. Without baseline data and little monitoring data, this business case used analytical methods from decision analysis to help move beyond the anecdotal stories to support project impacts with defensible, quantitative evidence.