Ecological Risk Assessment

Ecological risk assessments are conducted to provide information about the potential effects of management decisions. Ecological risk assessments are mandated at contaminated sites owned by federal agencies. Site remediation managers must assess how contaminants could affect ecological resources. The goal of ecological risk assessment is to understand the relationships between stressors and ecological effects to inform risk management decisions.

  • Step 1: Planning. Establish Site-Specific Management Objectives (goals for protecting ecological resources).
  • Step 2: Problem Formulation. Create preliminary Ecological Conceptual Site Model characterizing the environment, contaminants, fate & transport mechanisms, exposure pathways, and exposure limits.
  • Step 3: Effects Evaluation. Establish screening ecotoxicity values.
  • Step 4: Uncertainty Assessment. Determine uncertainties & assumptions.
  • Step 5: Exposure Estimate. Estimate chemical exposure pathways.
  • Step 6: Report of Investigation.