FEMA finalized the Ecosystem Service Benefits in Benefit-Cost Analysis policy to coincide with the launch of Hazard Mitigation Assistance non-disaster grant (see Funding). Ecosystem service benefits are positive effects provided to people by nature, such as aesthetic value, air quality, recreation space, and water filtration. FEMA recognizes the natural environment as an important component of a community’s resilience strategy and this new policy encourages the use of nature-based solutions in mitigation projects. It removes barriers to allow consideration of ecosystem service benefits for a project regardless of the Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) value, as well.
FEMA aligned this policy with other Benefit-Cost Analysis guidance for the Federal government guidance and to reduce the complexity of Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs.