Engineering With Nature

EWN Supports White House in Accounting for Nature

A United Focus

For more than a decade, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its Engineering With Nature® initiative have been part of a worldwide community of organizations that have dramatically advanced the use of nature-based solutions to infrastructure challenges. In April 2022, President Joe Biden focused considerable attention and federal effort on nature-based solutions when he issued an executive order focused on strengthening the nation’s forests, communities, and local economies. EWN leaders have provided input on key byproducts from the order.

There are three major components to this portion of the executive order, Enlisting Nature in the Fight Against Climate Change. First, a commitment of the federal government to develop an inter-agency report on ways in which we can accelerate the delivery of nature-based solutions for the benefit of our country and our communities. The second, a commitment to be led by the Office of Management and Budget to develop guidance on valuing nature as a part of our decision-making processes. And the third is to commit the federal government to perform the first ever national nature assessment to understand fundamentally the status of nature, the value and the benefits that it provides to our country and our communities, and how we can sustain and even grow that value to a more resilient future.

Executive Order 14072 takes multiple actions designed to tackle the climate crisis, make our nation more resilient to extreme weather, and strengthen local economies, including focusing considerable attention and federal effort on nature-based solutions. Watch the video to learn more about the executive order and the role USACE will play in enacting it.

White House Report on Nature-Based Solutions

The White House Council on Environmental Quality, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy worked across agencies in the Federal government, including the USACE and its Engineering With Nature Program, to develop and publish a report that identifies opportunities to accelerate the implementation of nature-based solutions.

The report describes opportunities to increase workforce capacity for designing and building nature-based solutions. It recommends means for increasing support to communities and the use of nature-based solutions to build equitable and sustainable futures for places and people. It highlights avenues to simplify community access to relevant federal funds. The purpose of the report is to advance the use of nature-based solutions, in combination with other solutions, to support communities, meet their needs, and build a prosperous future.

This report provides a roadmap with five strategic recommendations for federal agencies to unlock the potential of nature-based solutions and highlights bold Executive Office of the President actions designed to pave the way.

This guide contains 30 examples of ways that federal agencies have used nature-based solutions to achieve their goals along with 177 federal knowledge resources, tools, guidance, and technical assistance on nature-based solutions.

Related Materials

The National Nature Assessment

This periodic assessment will build on the wealth of existing data, scientific evidence, and Indigenous Knowledge to create a holistic picture of America’s lands, waters, wildlife, ecosystems and the benefits they provide to our economy, health, the climate, environmental justice, and even our national security. The assessment will allow us to take stock of what we have now, as well as look ahead to anticipate how nature and its benefits might change in the future. Dr. Todd Bridges and Dr. Kyle McKay serve on the Federal Steering Committee of the NNA for the Department of Defense.

Natural Capital Account

The Office of Management and Budget will issue valuation guidance to help agencies better account for services provided by ecosystems and the environment (such as pollinators supporting our crops, or forests cleaning our air and water). In support, OSTP and the Department of Commerce will continue leading an interagency initiative to improve and update baseline information on the economic value of our existing natural assets and new nature-based solutions. 

This initiative will connect changes in nature with changes in economic performance and thus fill in important economic gaps and will help improve federal regulations and private business decisions. 

A Generational Moment

USACE will play a central role in these efforts, along with collaborators from the federal government, academia, industry and the non-profit sector, as well as international partners – building on the collective spirt that is central to EWN’s mission.

The president’s executive order issued on Earth Day is a generational moment for our country. He has brought the entirety of the federal government together to focus on nature and nature-based solutions to support our country.

Read more about this work from The White House.

We must seize the day for the benefit of the 21st century.

Dr. Todd Bridges, National Lead, Engineering With Nature