Video Media in Federal Training and Outreach Programs

Videos are one of the most engaging ways to market to your community of stakeholders. The Clark Group is excited to work with Federal agencies to incorporate video media into existing communication strategies. This March, our team developed a training video for the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program entitled Building Knowledge with Energy Star: Energy Use Intensity & Weather Normalized Energy Use Intensity. This video will promote engagement with EPA ENERGY STAR and educate building owners and managers about metrics to assess energy performance. View the EUI video on the EPA ENERGY STAR YouTube channel.

Over the past two years, TCG has worked with the EPA ENERGY STAR program to advance its online, multimedia training platform. This work has included reconfiguring the industrial energy management homepage and landing pages, developing infographics in support of the National Building Competition campaign, and producing several training videos in collaboration with our subcontractor, DropFrame Productions, to showcase ENERGY STAR partners’ success and ENERGY STAR tools and resources. For each of these projects, we have translated policy and program objectives into engaging formats to improve the ENERGY STAR customers’ user experience.

To learn more about our multimedia services, please email Lisa Mahoney at lisamahoney@clarkgroupllc.com.

Celebrating The Clark Group, LLC’s Anniversary: 15 Years as a Leader in Environmental Consulting Services

Montpelier, Vermont: The Clark Group (TCG), a nationally known leader in environmental consulting services is honored to be celebrating its 15th year in business.  With offices in Montpelier, Vermont and Washington, D.C., TCG offers high-quality and client-focused consulting services at the local, state, and federal level.

Started by Ray Clark in 2001, The Clark Group was founded on the principle that integrating economic development with environmental protection would give any company, government, or Tribe a competitive advantage and open up new opportunities. Building upon this founding principle, we have used our in-depth understanding of law, science, and policy to help governmental, private, and nonprofit sector clients develop solutions to environmental challenges.  Started as a sole proprietorship in 2001, we have successfully expanded our business with offices in two states and a portfolio of clients across the country. 

“This anniversary is about recognizing our clients who have put their trust in us,” said Lisa Mahoney, President and Owner, “and our employees who work hard every day to find workable solutions to the most complex and challenging environmental problems. We are proud of the accomplishments we have made over the last fifteen years and excited about what we can do in the next fifteen and beyond.”

Projects managed by TCG have resulted in considerable improvements in planning outcomes through informed decision-making, stakeholder buy-in, and sustainable and resilient solutions.  We have unparalleled expertise in environmental policy and decision-making that has made concrete differences in the work we do for our clients. For example, TCG has been at the forefront of NEPA policy development and analysis, having worked for the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to develop A Citizen’s Guide to NEPA and to facilitate roundtable discussions regarding the modernization of NEPA.  Our in depth understanding of environmental law and policy is highlighted by the work we have done for diverse clients such as Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop programmatic analyses of rulemakings under NEPA. 

In recent years, our team has expanded our focus and gained experience and expertise in providing hazard mitigation planning, guidance on flood risk and climate resilience, and community engagement on resilience at the state, federal, and local levels.  For example, following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy and in response to a Congressional mandate, we worked with FEMA, CEQ, ACHP and DHS to create and implement the Unified Federal Review Process.  The UFR process is now being used to improve interagency environmental and historic preservation reviews for disaster recovery projects.   TCG is excited to build and expand on these successes in the coming years to assist our clients in realizing the benefits that the strategic integration of environmental and economic objectives can create. 

Advancement of Ecosystem Services into Agency Decision Making

Over the past several months, The Clark Group (TCG) has worked in partnership with EcoMetrix Solutions Group (ESG), a firm that specializes in quantifying impacts to ecosystems, to demonstrate how federal agencies can better identify and evaluate the benefits of ecosystem services to enhance federal decision making. This effort follows the Council on Environmental Quality memorandum, Incorporating Ecosystem Services into Federal Decision Making, which directs federal agencies to develop policies to promote consideration of ecosystem-services assessments within existing agency planning and decision frameworks. With TCG’s expertise in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a law which provides a required decision framework for federal actions, we recognize the role ecosystem services could play throughout NEPA analyses to improve environmental outcomes and expedite the environmental compliance of federal actions.

In September 2016, TCG, ESG and partners briefed agency representatives at the Council on Environmental Quality about an available tool, the ESII tool, to identify and measure the social and economic benefits from nature. The ESII tool eliminates the need for data collectors to have GIS knowledge and simplifies the creation of baseline and alternatives assessments, uncertainty risk analysis, and short- and long-term planning for agency decision makers. The tool can be applied to site- and program-level actions. Check out the tool here: www.esiitool.com

TCG is continuing to work with ESG to develop tailored solutions to the unique decision frameworks of federal agencies and determine how ecosystem services can be applied in federal planning processes. To learn more about our work with ecosystem services or to request a webinar or training, email Lisa Mahoney at lisamahoney@clarkgroupllc.com.

The Clark Group and the Implementation of the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

TCG and Dewberry are supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the development of a guidance document and training for the implementation of the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS).  The FFRMS is a new federal requirement which mandates that all federally funded projects located in a floodplain be built higher and stronger than previously required. The FFRMS is a critical resiliency standard which will impact billions of dollars of federally funded construction projects across the country, from highways and bridges to hospitals and housing complexes, at a time when flooding in the U.S. is getting worse every year because of climate change.

TCG and Dewberry’s approach to this project emphasizes intra-agency collaboration across FEMA’s technical and grant funding programs from the headquarters level to the field by engaging staff in meaningful discussions to generate FFRMS policy outcomes and decision points that are effective across the agency. Using our extensive knowledge of federal flood management policy and the requirements of Executive Order 13690, the team is facilitating working group meetings and conducting research to assist in the development of the new FFRMS guidance and training materials. Our approach incorporates the latest best practices and case studies focusing on nature-based approaches and green infrastructure, climate change, and resiliency, to ensure the guidance reflects current environmental policies and practices.  We are also developing scenario-based webinars that demonstrate how users can implement the FFRMS using both the Climate Informed Science Approach and the Freeboard Value Approach.

Because of FEMA’s unique role in overseeing the development and implementation of national flood policy, this new FFRMS guidance will serve as a model for other agencies on how to implement the requirements of Executive Order 13690.  FEMA’s approach to this new resiliency requirement is expected to have an influence across the country on national flood policies and implementation.

The Clark Group Awarded Two EPA ENERGY STAR Contracts for 2015

In March 2015, the EPA ENERGY STAR Program’s Commercial and Industrial Branch awarded two contracts to The Clark Group for ENERGY STAR Training and Communication Support. The Clark Group (TCG) was chosen based on our unique and innovative approach to training, communications and strategy development. With a diverse and experienced team of project managers, energy efficiency leaders and media and communications experts, TCG will support the EPA ENERGY STAR Program in furthering their market reach, and improving their training and online services.

“We are very pleased to have successfully competed and been awarded two contracts this year to support the important work of EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program” said Lisa Mahoney, President of The Clark Group. “Our firm excels at both creating and implementing training programs and effective communications strategies designed to improve the quality of the environment. We are excited at the opportunity to apply this experience specifically to the ENERGY STAR Program for the EPA”.

The Clark Group’s Work Developing the Unified Federal Review

For the past year, The Clark Group has been working alongside the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Council on Environmental Quality, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and numerous other federal agencies to develop the Unified Federal Environmental and Historic Preservation Review (UFR) Process.  The UFR Process aims to coordinate environmental and historic preservation (EHP) reviews to expedite planning and decision-making for disaster recovery projects. The UFR Process was established on July 29, 2014, by the execution of the Memorandum of Understanding Establishing the Unified Federal Environmental and Historic Preservation Review Process (UFR MOU) among eleven federal agencies involved in the EHP reviews associated with disaster recovery assistance. The establishment of the UFR Process was mandated in the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) of 2013, which added Section 429 to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.  The goal of this process is to streamline the EHP review that must be completed prior to the release of federal assistance or permits so that disaster recovery projects can proceed quickly without delay.  This effort will improve the federal government’s assistance to states, local and tribal governments, communities, families and individual citizens as they recover from future presidentially declared disasters.  TCG is happy to announce that the development of the UFR Process has been completed and that more information can be found at:

http://www.fema.gov/environmental-historic-preservation/unified-federal-environmental-and-historic-preservation-review