Environmental management: Integrating ecological evaluation, remediation, restoration, natural resource damage assessment and long-term stewardship on contaminated lands

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70 Scopus citations


Ecological evaluation is essential for remediation, restoration, and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), and forms the basis for many management practices. These include determining status and trends of biological, physical, or chemical/radiological conditions, conducting environmental impact assessments, performing remedial actions should remediation fail, managing ecosystems and wildlife, and assessing the efficacy of remediation, restoration, and long-term stewardship. The objective of this paper is to explore the meanings of these assessments, examine the relationships among them, and suggest methods of integration that will move environmental management forward. While remediation, restoration, and NRDA, among others, are often conducted separately, it is important to integrate them for contaminated land where the risks to ecoreceptors (including humans) can be high, and the potential damage to functioning ecosystems great. Ecological evaluations can range from inventories of local plants and animals, determinations of reproductive success of particular species, levels of contaminants in organisms, kinds and levels of effects, and environmental impact assessments, to very formal ecological risk assessments for a chemical or other stressor. Such evaluations can range from the individual species to populations, communities, ecosystems or the landscape scale. Ecological evaluations serve as the basis for making decisions about the levels and kinds of remediation, the levels and kinds of restoration possible, and the degree and kinds of natural resource injuries that have occurred because of contamination. Many different disciplines are involved in ecological evaluation, including biologists, conservationists, foresters, restoration ecologists, ecological engineers, economists, hydrologist, and geologists. Since ecological evaluation forms the basis for so many different types of environmental management, it seems reasonable to integrate management options to achieve economies of time, energy, and costs. Integration and iteration among these disciplines is possible only with continued interactions among practitioners, regulators, policy-makers, Native American Tribes, and the general public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-19
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


  • Buffers
  • Contamination
  • Ecological evaluations
  • Ecological protection
  • Environmental management
  • Natural resource damage assessment (NRDA)
  • Remediation
  • Restoration
  • Stewardship
  • Sustainability

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