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EPA Contract No. However, there remain environmental problems that cannot be effectively solved only through traditional, compartmentalized, command-and- control approaches, for example, non-point source pollution, decline of biodiversity, and urban sprawl. Recognizing the need for more holistic and integrated approaches to improving environmental quality, in the s EPA instituted a more place-based approach to environmental protection. These methods encourage geographic targeting of locations in need of protection or environmental improvements to reduce human health risks in an equitable way environmental justice and to protect and improve ecosystems and the services they provide.

This report focuses on approaches in use or under development in the ten EPA Regions. It also identifies a few selected approaches under development by other entities. The Office of Sustainable Ecosystems and Communities OSEC sponsored development of this report to assist the EPA Regions in sharing information on methods and data sources that can be used now or are being developed for future use in ecosystem targeting.

EPA This report is an integration of information obtained through the telephone interviews and the written information provided by those contacted. See Appendix B for a list of individuals who provided information for this report. Section 2. Section 3 is organized by Region to allow easy identification of ecosystem targeting activities by Region. Section 4 summarizes the findings of this report according to four issues, comparing and contrasting the Regional approaches for each issue.

Section 4. Criteria used or considered by the Regions for identifying high-priority ecosystems are discussed in Section 4.

Section 4 concludes with a brief summary of the current status of each Region in developing goals, criteria, methods, and data, and in completing some or all of the steps in the process of identifying priority ecosystems for EPA involvement.

An acronym list for this entire report and its appendices is included in Appendix A, and the persons interviewed to develop this report are listed in Appendix B. Most of the Regions provided written materials that explain key aspects of their approaches in some detail. Some of these materials are provided in Appendix C to support the more brief descriptions provided in Section 3. Appendix F includes supplemental information on some national-level initiatives related to ecosystem targeting that have influenced approaches taken in the Regions.

EPA Strategic Plan. Ecosystem Targeting Wrokshop, July , , U. Prepared for the U. While there are a variety of approaches, including social, political,, economic, and scientific, through which ecosystem targeting might be accomplished, OSEC is encouraging the Regional Offices to include scientific and objective methods in their ecosystem-targeting process.

This should assist the Regional Offices in prioritizing those areas where actions are most needed to protect or restore ecosystems. In that context, ecosystem targeting can be viewed as a geographically-referenced ecological risk assessment process. Identifying high-priority or critical, or significant, etc.

The criteria would refer to attributes of the ecosystem considered most important to protect. Targeting ecosystems in an objective and consistent way is facilitated by using geographically-referenced environmental data relevant to those criteria and methods by which to evaluate those environmental data to set priorities.

When the criteria include the concept of risk to the ecosystems, the relevant environmental data would include information on attributes of the ecosystems and the nature of the threats, or potential stressors, for the ecosystems. The methods used to analyze the data will determine the nature of the risk characterization that is possible. The criteria for targeting high-priority ecosystems can be thought of as assessment endpoints see U. EPA, b.

These criteria can depend on attributes of the ecosystem only, or a combination of attributes of the ecosystem and judgments about, or analyses of, threats to the ecosystem.

Attributes of the ecosystem can be related to ecosystem sustainability at local, Regional, or larger scales; to ecosystem services; to human valuation of an ecosystem; to current condition of the ecosystem relative to its potential; and to other concepts.

Judgments about threats or risks to an ecosystem could involve consideration of ecosystem stressors, the probability of exposure to those stressors, and the susceptibility of the ecosystem to those stressors. Proximity of an ecosystem to a stressor is one attribute that influences the probability of exposure. Many examples of targeting ecosystems described in Section 3 are based on proximity analyses.

The geographically-referenced data on attributes of the ecosystems themselves could come from a variety of sources. What types of data are most appropriate is likely to depend on the criteria discussed above and on the scale of the targeting exercise. For purposes of this report, we focus on Regional-scale targeting.

The accuracy of the geographic referencing needed will depend on the ultimate uses of the targeting. Similar considerations apply to geographically-referenced data on the stressors.

Another important consideration is data availability, as discussed in Section 3. The most appropriate methods used to evaluate the data will depend on the nature of the criteria, the data that can be used, and the ultimate users of the targeting information.

CBEP is aimed at protecting ecological integrity and human health while promoting economic sustainability. The CBEP approach assesses and manages the quality of air, water, land, and living resources in a place as a whole.

It is designed to better reflect Regional and local conditions and to help EPA work more effectively with its many partners to achieve environmental results U. The CBEP approach developed from an Agency-wide plan for ecosystem protection, called the "Edgewater Consensus", which was developed in March, as a vision for a "place-driven" approach to ecosystem protection U.

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 Deputy Administrator Hansen November 22, memorandum; U. EPA a call for the Regions to develop a defensible basis for identifying high priority geographic areas in which they will work.

Hansen listed five criteria to use in developing priorities for geographic areas in which EPA will work: 1 resources of national significance e. Thus, ecosystem targeting, as defined and described above, should be one of the inputs to identifying geographic areas in which to consider CBEP projects.

The remainder of this report focuses on ecosystem targeting at an EPA Regional scale both to assist in identifying areas for CBEP projects and for any other purpose for wftch an EPA Region might use ecosystem targeting.

Source: U. November 22, Draft Report. Washington, DC. Guidelines for Ecological Risk Assessment, Final. This section also briefly describes ongoing efforts to improve those approaches or to develop new approaches. This section is organized by Region. For each Region, we describe one or more ecosystem targeting approaches depending on the Region. For a major ecosystem targeting effort, we describe the goals of the effort, criteria for prioritizing ecosystems i.

An important consideration when reviewing these brief summaries is that each Region has different needs, constraints, and history of the development of its programs. Some were using geographic targeting to help prioritize their activities before EPA Headquarters formally articulated that approach or initiated specific place-based initiatives e. Some Regions focused on ecosystem targeting as part of their geographic targeting, and some had long histories of experience with ecosystem-based environmental protection e.

The relationship of the EPA Regional offices to the states in a Region also has differed historically, as have traditions of working with local stakeholders and partners. The following subsections provide information for the ten EPA Regions. The project recognizes the critical relationship between ecosystem and human health, and focuses on protecting healthy resources rather than restoring impaired ones.

Region 1 works on a state-by-state basis, with the states taking the lead in the process. Many stakeholders and the public participate, as described in the subsections below. The process involves an intensive process of mapping resources using Geographic Information Systems GIS , prioritizing areas using risk information, and implementing protection efforts. Each of those states has published a report describing their process and results. The following pages describe the approaches taken in the three states that have completed their projects to date.

See also Appendix C-1 for additional information on these three projects. The report revealed that additional considerations actually were applied. The workgroup considered the wildlife habitat and water supply maps see Data below to be the most important because those two maps depict features considered critical to both ecological and human health concerns.

Large areas with multiple resources dominated in the results. Data on valued resources and stressors were summarized in six statewide maps to assist in the targeting decisions. A summary of the data sources is provided in the project report see Section 3. The approach consisted of several steps, the first of which was developing a workgroup comprised of interested parties see Participants above.

The second step was developing the GIS data layers for the data sets described above. GIS was used to portray all of the maps, specifically showing the spatial relationship between natural resources and threats to those resources and other currently protected areas.

The highly participatory process, with stakeholders and experts from many state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations, was the greatest strength of the approach. That approach helped to foster a feeling of ownership and involvement by all of the entities represented and formed a basis for strengthening partnerships among those groups. Completion of the project in a reasonable amount of time and money 1. There were too few data for some parts of the state or for several characteristics of the resources or stresses that the Workgroup thought should be considered, and those data needs were not fulfilled.

Another possible disadvantage is that the second phase of this process, implementing protection efforts in the high- priority areas, is up to the good will of the participants. There were four criteria used to identify Resource Protection Areas RPAs : 1 resources that co-occur; 2 scarcity of resource; 3 resources of state significance; and 4 proximity of resource to threats.

Data on valued resources and stressors were summarized in seven statewide maps, and were similar to the types developed in NH. Thorough documentation of the data sources included in each map is provided in the oversized, full color The Rhode Island Resource Protection Project Report, July The first page of that document is provided in Appendix C GIS analysis was the method used to portray and analyze the maps.

Algorithms were added to the GIS system to identify unfragmented natural lands; large and complex freshwater wetlands; and undeveloped riverbanks, lake shorelines, and 12 coastlines. GIS was used to identify areas with co-occurring resources using four square kilometer boxes pixels.

Given the similarity of the approach to the NH approach, the same strengths and limitations would apply. With more participants, the Rl analysis required two years; however, the cost was approximately the same.


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EPA Contract No. However, there remain environmental problems that cannot be effectively solved only through traditional, compartmentalized, command-and- control approaches, for example, non-point source pollution, decline of biodiversity, and urban sprawl. Recognizing the need for more holistic and integrated approaches to improving environmental quality, in the s EPA instituted a more place-based approach to environmental protection. These methods encourage geographic targeting of locations in need of protection or environmental improvements to reduce human health risks in an equitable way environmental justice and to protect and improve ecosystems and the services they provide.

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