Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC)
Research at the Atlantic Ecology Division
The Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) Research Program (PDF) (46 pp, 440K) will inform and empower decision-makers at the community, federal, state, and tribal levels, to effectively and equitably weigh and integrate human health, socio-economic, environmental, and ecological factors into their programs in a way that fosters community sustainability. Community sustainability is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. EPA is providing innovative and user-friendly methods and tools to help community leaders who can then make decisions that better protect human health and well-being, and still preserve the vital services that ecosystems provide, e.g., clean air, water and food.
AED scientists help communities identify and develop indicators to evaluate the current and future status of the environment, diagnose problems, and track the performance of various approaches, with the goal of measuring the effects and efficacy of environmental policy decisions.
AED research quantifies the benefits and value of ecosystem services, such as water filtration, flood regulation, and food production. This helps communities factor in the implications of losing those services and the costs of replacing crucial ecosystem functions that support viable economies and human health and well-being.
AED is conducting highly focused research in important areas such as contaminated sites, nitrogen effects and wetland integrity to help communities develop sustainable solutions to environmental problems.