07.11.16 | By Jessica Hanson

It’s been a busy year already at Earth Economics! We’ve attended a number of conferences and events, worked on projects from Alaska to Central America, and seen a lot of exciting developments in our work. Natural capital is increasingly becoming a part of the conversation as agencies like FEMA and HUD begin to incorporate ecosystem services, and we are excited to continue our efforts to account for nature.

Program Highlights:  

  • In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the winners of its $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. In the fall, Earth Economics worked closely with several competition finalists in conducting holistic benefit-cost analysis for their applications – and these groups were awarded over $300 million of the total $1 billion award!

  • In February, we released the National and Regional Economic Analysis of the Four Lower Snake River Dams. The report results, which show that the Lower Snake River dams return only 15 cents on every dollar, are being leveraged by stakeholder groups to advocate for dam removal.

  • In March, we conducted a professional development session on natural resources accounting for about 60 staff, board, and advisory council members of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF). Together, these institutions set national accounting standards for state and local government and the private sector in the U.S.

  • In April, we launched a new and improved website with a sharpened focus on our four core offerings: Ecosystem Services Valuation, Benefit-Cost Analysis, Industry Analysis, and Finance and Investment Strategies.  

  • In May, EE staff members Angela Fletcher and Jared Soares traveled to Corvallis, Oregon to tour operations at Farmland LP. EE is conducting an ecosystem services valuation of sustainable agriculture practices in an effort to spark investment in sustainable agriculture.

  • In June, we initiated a new project in Alaska’s remote Pribilof Islands. The project is focused on assessing the ecosystem services of St. George Island and its surrounding marine environment.

Our work doesn’t stop there – we’ve also been tackling projects in Central America, where we conducted an ecosystem services valuation to help identify the impacts of drug trafficking on Central American biodiversity hotspots, and work in Colorado to prioritize restoration and conservation efforts for effective watershed management.  We also welcomed two new staff members this spring - Ruby Ellis, Senior Accountant, and Evelyn Hickman, Fundraising Coordinator.

With such exciting developments already and more opportunities as we move forward, 2016 promises to be a full year with significant progress in conveying nature’s value to planners and decision makers.

Photo Credit: Lauren Travis