December 19, 2023

EWN Collaborative Efforts Drive Progress in Implementing The White House Roadmap to Accelerate Nature-Based Solutions

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Engineering With Nature played a key role in advancing the implementation of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) during the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Infrastructure Federal Collaborative (GIFC) Winter Workshop held on December 7, 2023, in Washington, DC.

From the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Dr. Jeff King, Margaret Kurth, and Kyle Gordon, along with Brianne McGuffie from USACE Headquarters, participated in the workshop, which brought together over 100 staff from 19 Federal agencies. The primary objectives were to develop best practices and actionable guidance for implementing the recommendations outlined in the White House report, “Opportunities to Accelerate Nature-Based Solutions: A Roadmap for Climate Progress, Thriving Nature, Equity, and Prosperity,” learn more about EWN’s role in supporting this White House effort.

Dr. King led a panel session, highlighting successful collaborations within the USACE Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) Program. The discussion focused on how these partnerships with federal, state, local, and public entities contribute to environmental and community resiliency, with an emphasis on promoting equity.

As the co-chair of the GIFC’s NBS Permitting Implementation Committee, Mr. Gordon led a breakout session aimed at identifying opportunities to streamline federal permitting and environmental reviews for NBS projects. Discussions centered around enhancing interagency collaboration, establishing regional permitting teams, and expanding mechanisms such as General Permits and programmatic agreements to expedite the permitting process. The GIFC, organized into three implementation committees (Technical Assistance, Training, and Permitting), fosters collaboration among federal agencies to promote Green Infrastructure, Natural and Nature-based Features, and other NBS. The NBS Permitting Implementation Committee, featuring representation from 12 different federal agencies, including USACE Headquarters and ERDC, plays a crucial role in facilitating federal permitting and environmental review processes for NBS.

This strategic engagement represents a significant step forward in incorporating EWN principles into federal projects and developing solutions to expedite permitting and environmental reviews for NBS.

Wetland area in the Chesapeake Bay. Source: USEPA. Photographer: Eric Vance.
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