What is the history of environmental benefits?
Decision makers at HQUSACE and at the Office of ASA(CW) have noted deficiencies in the documentation of project benefits in Corps ER feasibility reports. In addition, OMB has questioned the demonstrated success of the agency's ER program. To address these concerns, this research seeks to improve benefit/output evaluation techniques with emphasis on scientifically based and peer-recognized metrics for the analysis of ER projects with the goal of comparing projects and computing aggregate benefits on a national basis in support of the Federal investment.
Why quantify and track environmental benefits?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is committed to spending the nation's tax dollars wisely by investing in ecosystem restoration projects that provide the greatest benefits for the investment, and focus upon our most significant natural resources. The Environmental Benefits Analysis (EBA) program supports this commitment by developing improved benefit/output evaluation techniques, models and tools with emphasis on scientifically based and peer-recognized metrics for the analysis of ecosystem restoration projects.
What are the program goals?
The EBA Research Program will seek to develop a framework for the consistent evaluation of environmental benefits across program lines, geophysical regions, and ecosystem types. The framework should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate later advancements in science and predictive capability.
As ecological assessment capabilities improve over time, there will be less uncertainty in projected benefits and less reliance upon professional judgment.
What is the program strategy?
- Identify the state of the science and practice for EBA and formulate interim guidance (with associated tools) for EBA procedures that ensure that Corps’ assessments reflect the most current standards of practice.
- Develop a framework for assessment at multiple scales, recognizing that some technologies to populate the data set may be emerging or require further development under other programs.
- Identify analytical tool requirements for forecasting ecosystem response; determine the status of development for those tools in other venues (including external to the Corps); focus on those tools that have the widest application, the greatest return on investment, and represent “no regrets” initial investments in terms of either relative ease of implementation or recognition of the necessity of their development.
- Provide objective metrics with quantifiable data to document the Corps’ Ecosystem Restoration Program performance - eventually including more robust yet measurable outcome measures for the Ecosystem
- Restoration Program.
- Prepare and disseminate technical guidance for appropriate tools and methods necessary for plan formulation and evaluation.
- Demonstrate and evaluate procedures and methods.