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The SECI Dashboard is a USGS hosted Web-application that interfaces partner and research community engagement with the best-available USGS science related to ecosystem services. The vision of the SECI Dashboard is to serve as the USGS platform for ecosystem services outreach and communication, and to supply data, tools, and research examples to partnering DOI bureaus and other federal agencies. Forming a community of practice, targeted users of the Dashboard range from research scientists conducting technical economic valuation studies to field-level planners with limited exposure to ecosystem services. Content within the Dashboard is designed to be flexible, showcasing the ongoing SECI pilot projects and tool development,...
Tags: Efforts
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In April 2016, in response to the White House Memorandum M-16-01, Incorporating Ecosystem Services into Federal Decision Making (Memorandum), The Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of Policy Analysis gathered representatives from 12 DOI bureaus and offices to form the DOI Ecosystem Services Task Force. The following DOI bureaus or offices are represented on the Taskforce: Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Department of the Interior; Office of Policy Analysis (PPA) Department of the Interior; Office of the Secretary (OS) Department of the Interior; Office...
Tags: DOI
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For FY17, the USGS Powell Center has funded a new working group on natural capital accounting whose goals align substantially with the SECI project. Notably, this will extend SECI’s work by aligning ecosystem services and their values with conventional economic measures (i.e., Gross Domestic Product, GDP) to more clearly quantify linkages between the environment and economy. This group also has a proposal currently in review with the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) that, if funded, will extend its work through FY19. The group’s primary goals include: 1) synthesizing existing natural capital accounting data to quantify environmental-economic trends over time, 2) running national scale models...
Tags: Pilot Study
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In addition to methodological standards for performing analyses, DOI bureaus and offices would benefit from high-level guidance that would identify principles and provide an overall direction for the Department. The objective of this effort is to determine the value of establishing short term, general Department level standards on incorporation of ecosystem services into Interior decision-making, as well as specifically in the context of NEPA. Topics may include: developing a set of “guiding principles;” incorporating ecosystem services more explicitly in the Departmental Manual; identifying approaches for maximizing social well-being across the various potential uses of public lands; revisions to the NEPA section...
Tags: DOI
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This research links watershed-marine models with ecosystem service outputs to evaluate management strategies in three cases: Puget Sound, Galveston Bay, and Chesapeake Bay. Integrated ecosystem approaches to marine and coastal management can greatly improve our ability to understand management outcomes, and can promote cooperation among local, state, and federal land management agencies.
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The Forest Service is applying ecosystem services concepts to planning and implementation processes at three national forests in the Pacific Southwest Region: Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia. Services are assessed in three ways: a bio-regional assessment, forest assessment, and science synthesis. These evaluations produce a comprehensive appraisal of the ecosystem services provided by the land in and around ten Sierra Nevada national forests.
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The Solar Energy Program was established by the Department of Interior in 2012 for the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Solar Energy Development. Geographically, the Solar Energy Program covers approximately 100 million acres across six states across the southwestern U.S. The Solar Energy Program provides a framework for including ecosystem services into both large, regional scale assessments and localized project-level scopes. The program defines how utility-scale solar energy would be considered and developed on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and also establishes solar energy right-of-way authorization policies and environmental impact minimization measures for...
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When evaluating resource tradeoffs, natural resource planners, field staff, and socioeconomic analysts often require economic value estimates and other information related to resources that are not priced in conventional markets. Benefit Transfer is one methodological approach used to estimate the economic value of those non-market goods and services. Benefit Transfer uses value estimates of non-market goods and services reported in previously conducted primary studies to estimate the value of that same good or service in a policy-relevant area where a primary study has not been conducted. The Benefit Transfer Toolkit is designed to facilitate the economic valuation of multiple recreation uses and other ecosystem...
Tags: Efforts
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The deciduous forest ecosystems of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) occupies the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. The GSMNP protects the headwaters for forty-five watersheds, and is home to more than fifty percent of the old-growth forest remaining in the eastern United States. Although national parks are highly protected, many threats to preserved ecosystems, such as air pollution, originate outside the park and can have detrimental effects on the park’s resources. The National Park Service studied the effects from ozone pollution on two important ecosystem services provided by GSMNP: climate stabilization and water provision.
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Eutrophication of landscapes from excessive nitrogen deposition can alter plant communities, and lead to acidification of soils, lakes, and streams. The effects of air pollution on ecosystem functions have been a particular research focus of the National Park Service’s (NPS) Air Resources Division. Links between atmospheric deposition and ecosystem services can inform park managers about how excessive nitrogen and sulfur can affect those who use and depend publicly managed landscapes. By improving upon these linkages, the NPS can enhance park management by better representing the effects from air pollution on ecosystem functions.
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Located in the Willamette National Forest, the Soda Fork Creek is a 10,000-acre drainage that feeds into the upper South Santiam River in Linn County, Oregon. Project planning is designed to: 1) highlight the ecosystem goods and services provided by the forest, 2) encourage outcome-based approaches to resource management, and 3) support collaborative project development and implementation. This study addresses different management opportunities across all ownerships in the planning area and evaluates the sustainability practices in these various ownership groups.
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The Department of Interior plays an integral role in conserving America’s natural resources and heritage, honoring our cultures and tribal communities, and supplying the energy to power our future. In doing so, DOI’s people, programs, responsibilities, and missions support Americans across all 50 States and territories. Interior grants access to public lands and offshore areas for renewable and conventional energy development — covering roughly a quarter of the Nation’s domestic supplies of oil and natural gas — while ensuring safety, environmental protection, and revenue collection for the American public. DOI oversees the protection and restoration of surface mined lands and is the largest supplier and manager...
Tags: DOI
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This pilot leverages National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) stream health data collected in Oregon’s Willamette River Valley and Washington’s Puget Sound to estimate the economic value of water quality in this region of the Pacific Northwest. The USGS NAWQA Program is currently conducting a regional assessment of water-quality, habitat stressors, and biological communities (including salmon) in the Willamette River Valley and Puget Sound, with the overall goal of evaluating the relative importance of factors affecting stream health throughout the region. Sampling will take place across more than eighty stream sites in the region to analyze gradients of human disturbance, characterize chemical stressors,...
Categories: Project; Tags: Front Page, Pilot Study
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This effort will begin late fiscal year 2016 through a cooperative agreement with the University of Vermont, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. The goals include: (1) Integrating ecosystem services data and tools into the SECI Dashboard for use in public land management decision-making; (2) Applying ecosystem services mapping and modeling capabilities at the local, regional, and national scales; and (3) Investigate common areas of data requirements between ecosystem services tools and developing research in natural capital accounting frameworks. While the ultimate goal of this effort is to achieve national scale ecosystem service models, the initial phase will focus on the development of case studies conducted...
Tags: Efforts
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Cultural ecosystem services (CES) are defined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) as “the non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences.” The ecosystems within which human cultures exist have always influenced the evolution of those cultures. At the same time, human systems continually shape their surrounding environment and modify the availability of certain valued services. While there are specific cultural ‘‘services’’ that ecosystems provide (such as aesthetic enjoyment, recreation, spiritual fulfillment, and intellectual development), it is difficult to separate these services or their combined...
Tags: Pilot Study
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NOTE: the Stream Channel and Floodplain Metric Toolbox has been superseded by a newer tool, FACET. The Stream Channel and Floodplain Metric Toolbox was developed to demonstrate the feasibility of mapping fluvial geomorphic features from high-resolution bare-earth elevation data. A Python toolbox for ArcGIS was built to calculate key metrics describing channel and floodplain geometry. Channel and Floodplain Metric Toolbox provides this ability in an automated fashion, allowing for regional analyses based solely on digital elevation models (DEMs). This manual describes the general operation of the toolbox and technical details describing the specific algorithms. The toolbox works best in a watershed no larger than...
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The need for ecosystem service data, tools, and information on incorporating ecosystem service information in decision making spans a multiplicity of contexts in DOI public land and water management. The DOI Ecosystem Service Research Agenda is intended to catalogue and categorize existing efforts across the DOI; take into consideration other prescriptions in the DOI Ecosystem Service Workplan; utilize existing work to document ecosystem service research needs, and tie into budget processes and context of DOI bureaus and offices. The Data Gap Analysis should inform the Applied Research Agenda. The general areas of research that will be addressed in the Research Agenda include: Translating ecosystem structure,...
Tags: DOI
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The Delaware River pilot study will integrate biophysical information on freshwater mussels into a stated preference nonmarket valuation household survey to estimate the ecosystem service benefits of clean water supply to downstream users. The Delaware River basin is home to a healthy and substantial freshwater mussel population which has been characterized on a nearly continuous basis for the entire river. It is also unique in that a decision support system (known as the REFDSS) has been developed for the basin as part of the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART initiative and the USGS’s National Water Census to facilitate management of key ecological resources in the river. Because of the well-established...
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“Blue carbon” is carbon sequestered and stored in marine and coastal habitats, and refers specifically to three habitat types: mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass meadows. These coastal habitats sequester large amounts of carbon annually, which can be stored for long periods of time. However, human activities are contributing to the degradation of these habitats worldwide. The benefits of protecting these habitats can be two-fold: 1) by contributing to climate mitigation efforts through the storage of blue carbon, and 2) consequently conserving fisheries habitats, promote storm protection, provide recreation opportunities, and improve coastal water quality.
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Fully implementing ecosystem services concepts and approaches requires capacity building and communication across bureaus and offices, disciplines, and programs. For example a fully quantitative ecosystem service assessment requires specialized technical skills. A critically important aspect of building capacity is facilitating connections between social and natural scientists at the beginning of a project rather than at the end so the link from biophysical observation to human well-being is complete. This is particularly important in agencies where the majority of staff are biophysical scientists not trained in social science. It is also critical to demonstrate the added value of an ecosystem service approach...
Tags: DOI


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