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:

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

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: