Ecosystem Services in Working Lands: US Northeast

4.4.4 Opportunities to Expand Market Presence Other than various land lease opportunities available for the aquaculture industry (see Section 4.4.1), there are limited programs that offer expanded market presence for aquaculture businesses and producers.

• The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurant program, for example, is a compliance and certification program that recognizes restaurants that are committed to making sustainable choices in terms of the seafood products that they source. This certification program, like other certification programs, incentivizes sustainable practices and encourages restaurants to be transparent about their seafood sourcing so that consumers can make informed decisions about where and what they eat. Other certification programs also serve the aquaculture industry in a similar way, but rather than certify food service establishments, they certify food products. Organizations like the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) offer various programs, like the Seaweed Standard, Chain of Custody Standard and the Fisheries Standard, which provide compliance and regulatory guidelines as well as certification for various aquatic resources. Still other programs such as the Eco- Certified Seafood , the Salmon Welfare Certified , and the Seafood HACCP are certification-based programs that target aquatic products to improve sustainability and animal welfare in the industry.

4.5 SUPPORTING LANDSCAPES AND SYSTEMS

The supporting landscapes and systems category includes programs that sit at the nexus of social, economic, and environmental systems. While there is great variability in this data, as will be discussed in the following sections, the programs it contains all aim to address social and economic considerations alongside returns to or investments in the environment. This slice of overall data contains just under 500 programs total. Of particular note in this category are the number of programs related to infrastructure and personal livelihoods. A critical issue for the U.S. Northeast is its aging infrastructure: roads, bridges, railroad lines, water and wastewater pipelines, culverts, and electrical power networks (U.S. GCRP 2017). The region has the oldest industry and building inventory in the United States, much of which was built along the coast and in estuaries — both of which are highly vulnerable to flooding.

4.5.1 Programs for Producers/Businesses Within this category, a significant portion of programs were directed towards producers and businesses (n=288). Most of these programs are about improving wildlife habitat and water quantity/quality and protecting sensitive ecological resources from commercial development.

4.5.1.1 PES and land protection restore wildlife habitat

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). At the federal level, one such program is the USDA FSA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Under the 2018 Farm Bill, CRP aims to protect environmentally sensitive agricultural lands by increasing habitat for endangered and threatened species for a 10- to 15-year enrollment period. CRP is one of the most sizable private-lands conservation programs in the United States, paying producers a rental fee in exchange for withholding agricultural production on ecologically sensitive lands and encouraging the establishment of plant species that improve environmental health and quality (USDA 2021).

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