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.