Memorandums - Office of Environment and Planning
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
TO FOSTER THE ECOSYSTEM APPROACH
COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY
An ecosystem is an interconnected community of living things, including humans,
and the physical environment within they interact.
The ecosystem approach is a method for sustaining or restoring ecological systems
and their functions and values. It is goal driven, and it is based on a collaboratively
developed vision of desired future conditions that integrates ecological, economic,
and social factors. It is applied within a geographic framework defined primarily
by ecological boundaries.
The goal of the ecosystem approach is to restore and sustain the health, productivity,
and biological diversity of ecosystems and the overall quality of life through
a natural resource management approach that is fully integrated with social
and economic goals.
The Federal Government should provide leadership in and cooperate with activities
that foster the ecosystem approach to natural resource management, protection,
and assistance. Federal agencies should ensure that they utilize their authorities
in a way that facilitates, and does not pose barriers to, the ecosystem approach.
Consistent with their assigned missions, Federal agencies should administer
their programs in a manner that is sensitive to the needs and rights of landowners,
local communities, and the public, and should work with them to achieve common
In its June 1995, report entitled, The Ecosystem Approach: Healthy Ecosystems
and Sustainable Economies, the Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force set
forth specific recommendations with respect to how Federal agencies could better
implement the ecosystem approach. The Task Force recommended that member agency
representatives sign a memorandum of understanding affirming their intent to
implement the recommendations.
IV. THE ECOSYSTEM APPROACH
Healthy and well functioning ecosystems are vital to the protection of our
nations biodiversity, to the achievement of quality of life objectives,
and to the support of economies and communities. The ecosystem approach recognizes
the interrelationship between healthy ecosystems and sustainable economies.
It is a common sense way for Federal agencies to carry out their mandates with
greater efficiency and effectiveness. The approach emphasizes:
- Striving to consider all relevant and identifiable ecological and economic
consequences (long term as well as short term).
- Improving coordination among Federal agencies.
- Forming partnerships between Federal, State, and local governments, Indian
tribes, landowners, foreign governments, international organizations, and
- Improving communication with the general public.
- Carrying out Federal responsibilities more efficiently and cost-effectively.
- Basing decisions on the best science.
- Improving information and data management.
- Adjusting management direction as new information becomes available.
V. THE COOPERATORS AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING:
- Each Federal agency that is a party to this Memorandum of Understanding
shall designate an individual who will be responsible for coordinating the
agencys internal and interagency activities in support of this Memorandum
of Understanding to implement the recommendations of the Task Force report
as appropriate. Such designation shall be reported to theInteragency Ecosystem
Management Task Force within 30 days of signature. The collective agency designees
will serve as an Implementation Committee. The Committee will meet regularly
to share information on progress in implementing this Memorandum of Understanding,
problems encountered, and solutions proposed in resolving them. The Committee
shall provide reports at meetings of the Interagency Ecosystem Management
Task Force. Such reports should include any unresolved issues that may require
the attention of the Task Force.
- Each signatory agency shall examine the specific recommendations made in
the report of the Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force in light of
its authorities, policies and procedures, and identify recommendations that
may apply to its programs. Based on this review, agencies shall determine
what changes or interagency actions are necessary or desirable, undertake
appropriate actions, monitor accomplishments, and report their findings and
actions through the Implementation Committee to the Interagency Ecosystem
Management Task Force, on a schedule to be determined by the Task Force.
- The Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force shall encourage regional
directors or comparable executives of the Federal agencies in the various
regions to have regular and systematic exchanges of information about plans,
priorities, and problems. The purposes are to eliminate inefficiencies and
duplication of effort, to keep executives informed about Federal Government
ecosystem activities of Federal agencies with varying missions (such as land
technical assistance, and funding), and to strengthen executive-level support
for the interagency ecosystem activities of field personnel.
- Each signatory agency shall participate, as appropriate to its mandates,
in ecosystem management efforts initiated by other Federal agencies, by state,
local or tribal governments, or as a result of local grass-root efforts. Members
of the Implementation Committee shall identify their ongoing ecosystem efforts
and other efforts that come to their attention, share information about those
efforts, discuss appropriate agency actions with regard to participating in
those efforts, and identify successful and unsuccessful components of those
efforts. Signatory agencies shall also look for opportunities in new geographic
areas for Federal efforts in collaboration with stakeholders.
- The Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force will propose, as appropriate,
new regional ecosystemdemonstration initiatives. These initiatives will build
upon the knowledge gained from evaluating the seven ecosystems that were the
subject of the Task Force reports.
- The Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force will evaluate the potential
for joint training programs for the ecosystem approach, in which all signatory
agencies could participate, and in which personnel from all signatory parties
could receive training. The Implementation Committee members will share information
on agency training programs related to the ecosystem approach, and signatory
agencies are encouraged to accommodate trainees from other agencies in such
courses as appropriate.
VI. IT IS MUTUALLY AGREED AND UNDERSTOOD BY AND AMONG THE COOPERATORS THAT:
- Specific work projects or activities that involve the transfer of funds,
services, or property among the Cooperators will require the execution of
separate interagency agreements, contingent upon the availability of funds
as appropriated by Congress. Each subsequent agreement or arrangement involving
the transfer of funds, services, or property among the Cooperators must comply
with all applicable statutes and regulations, including those states and regulations
applicable to procurement activities, and must be independently authorized
by appropriate statutory authority.
- This Memorandum of Understanding in no way restricts the Cooperators from
participating in similar activities or arrangements with other public or private
agencies, organizations, or individuals.
- Nothing in this Memorandum of Understanding shall obligate the Cooperators
to expend appropriations or enter into any contract or other obligations.
- This Memorandum of Understanding may be modified or amended upon written
request of any party hereto and the subsequent written concurrence of all
of the Cooperators. Cooperator participation in this Memorandum of Understanding
may be terminated with the 60-day written notice of any party to the other
Cooperators. Unless terminated under the terms of this paragraph, this Memorandum
of Understanding will remain in full force and in effect until September 30,
- This Memorandum of Understanding is intended only to improve the internal
management of the executive branch and is not intended to, nor does it create
any right,benefit, or trust responsibility, substantive or procedural, enforceable
at law or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies, it officers,
or any person.
- The terms of this Memorandum of Understanding are not intended to be enforceable
by any party other than the signatories hereto.
Council on Environmental Quality
|JAMES R. LYONS, Undersecretary
for Council on
Natural Resources and Environment,
Department of Agriculture
Secretary for Civil Works,
Department of the Army
HALL, Assistant Sec. for
Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of
GOODMAN, Deputy Under
Secretary for Environmental Security,
Department of Defense
|DAN W. REICHER, Acting
Secretary for Policy, Planning and
Program Evaluation, Department of
|ANDREW M. CUOMO, Assistant
for Community Planning and Development,
Department of Housing and Urban
Assistant Sec. for
Policy, Management and Budget,
Department of the Interior
|LOIS SCHIFFER, Assistant
General for Environment and Natural
Resources, Department of Justice
|JOSEPH A. DEAR, Assistant
for Occupational Safety and Health,
Department of Labor
|DAVID A. COLSON, Acting
Secretary for Oceans and International
Environmental and Scientific Affairs,
Department of State
|FRANK KRUESI, Assist.
Department of Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency
|JACK GIBBONS, Director,
Office of Science and Technology
Dated: December 15, 1995
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