The U.S. Federal Administration released a new memorandum directing Federal agencies to factor the value of ecosystem services into Federal planning and decision-making (Announcement). From “Incorporating Ecosystem Services into Federal Decision Making” (Memo).
(Elevating Wetlands to a Higher Level)
Today, the links among land, air, fresh water, ocean, and human activities are better understood. Advances in science and technology have provided timely and usable information to guide decision making. For example, advances in the social sciences have further developed methods to articulate the value of ecosystem services in both monetary and non-monetary terms. By incorporating ecosystem services into Federal agency planning and decision making, and recognizing that healthy ecosystems are essential to human welfare, security, and the health of social and economic systems, Federal agencies will more effectively address the challenges facing the Nation and ensure ecosystems are healthy for this and future generations.
Ecosystem services include clean water, clean air, soil fertility, carbon sequestration, erosion control, buffering of climate extremes such as flooding, and healthy fish, wildlife and pollinator habitats. AutoCASE can automatically and monetize the ecosystem benefits so that people can make more informed decisions, prioritize projects and communicate to its stakeholders the impacts of projects and programs.
Several areas of interest to ecosystems services are already covered in AutoCASE such as created or restored wetlands. The benefits in terms of improved water quality, protection against flooding are captured now. As Federal departments develop their plans over the next 5 months and the guidance for this directive is developed over the next 14 months, we’ll monitor them and incorporate standards into AutoCASE.