- Wetlands: ELI has published multiple studies focusing on compensatory mitigation, providing citizen groups; local, state, and federal agencies; the public; and the regulated community with the information they need to evaluate the ability of wetland mitigation banking and in-lieu fee mitigation to achieve their regional wetland conservation and land use planning objectives. Click here to read more on ELI’s research on compensatory mitigation.
- Habitat: ELI is assessing the range of opportunities for directing compensatory mitigation dollars to the protection of critical wildlife habitat, including a new framework requiring compensation for currently unaddressed impacts and restructuring current compensatory programs to protect critical wildlife resources.
Climate Change Adaptation
ELI is producing a “Toolkit for Practitioners” that strives to improve adaptation to climate change globally by strengthening laws governing biodiversity management. The Toolkit will consider how payment for ecosystem service (PES) programs can be adapted for climate change. The project is also looking at emerging carbon-sequestration payment schemes such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation to determine consistency and compatibility with the broader goals and techniques of adaptive ecosystem management.
Ecosystem Based Management
- Governance Gaps, Conflicts, and Needs: ELI has focused on identifying and developing practical legal and institutional approaches to EBM implementation. ELI has assessed a range of opportunities for implementing ocean and coastal EBM, including state and regional governance programs and expansion of the Coastal Zone Management Act. TheOcean and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management: Implementation Handbookprovides practical guidance by identifying options for implementation and including concrete examples.
- Managing Change: Developing Community-Based Ocean and Coastal Regional Resource Management of the U.S. Arctic: The Arctic is undergoing rapid environmental, social, and industrial changes, which threaten the marine resources upon which Arctic communities depend. In partnership with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and the North Slope Borough, the Environmental Law Institute has undertaken a multi-year project to help support the local community in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas areas in developing marine spatial planning in a way that will properly consider the rights and expertise of the subsistence hunting communities. The project team is working with the community to ensure that ecosystem-based management (EBM) and marine spatial planning (MSP) objectives are appropriately integrated with existing co-management approaches.
- Linking Cumulative Impact Analysis to EBM Frameworks: Minimization of cumulative impacts across sectors, space, and time is central to achieving and maintaining healthy and resilient marine ecosystems. ELI is assessing ways to improve the quality of cumulative impact analysis and its integration into regional ocean governance frameworks, focusing particularly on the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem as a case study.
- Marine Spatial Planning: Marine spatial planning (MSP) is an important tool for EBM implementation. It is an approach that strives to reduce user conflicts and ensure the sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources. While the President’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force was developing recommendations for a federal MSP framework, the Ocean Conservancy commissioned the Environmental Law Institute to assess the role that key ocean and coastal laws may play in the development of a federal MSP framework, including noting potential obstacles to and opportunities for implementation success.
Water Quality Trading
Sponsored by the U.S. EPA, ELI convened the National Forum on Synergies Between Water Quality Trading and Wetland Mitigation Banking, a two-day meeting focused on advancing point and nonpoint source trading on a watershed scale and on exploring the potential role wetlands can play in water quality trading programs.