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Environmental Assessment

Aquatic Ecosystems, Water Quality, and Global Change: Challenges of Conducting Multi-Stressor Vulnerability Assessments (Final Report)

Notice

EPA is annnouncing the release of the final report, Aquatic Ecosystems and Global Change: The Challenges of conducting Multi-Stressor Global Change Vulnerability Assessments.

Report Information

This report investigates the issues and challenges associated with identifying, calculating, and mapping indicators of the relative vulnerability of water quality and aquatic ecosystems, across the United States, to the potential impacts of global change. Using a large set of environmental indicators drawn from the scientific and management literature, this final report explores the conceptual and practical challenges associated with using such indicators to assess how the resilience of ecosystems and human systems may vary as a function of existing stresses and maladaptations.

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Chris Weaver
  • by phone at:   703-347-8621
  • by email at:  weaver.chris@epa.gov

Background

Cover of the Climate Change Vunerability Assessment Final Report It is a widespread assumption that the impacts of existing stressors is a key input to any comprehensive global change vulnerability assessment – in other words, that the impacts of global change will be expressed via interactions with such stressors through their potential to reduce overall resilience, or increase overall sensitivity, to global change. However, to date, there has been relatively little exploration of the practical challenges implied by this assumption – i.e., the practical challenges associated with comprehensively assessing how the resilience of ecosystems and human systems in the face of global change may vary as a function of existing stresses and maladaptations. This report is a preliminary attempt to explore these issues.

The intent is for this report to be a useful building block for future work on multi-stressor global change vulnerability assessments: (i) to bridge disconnects between the decision support needs of the water quality and aquatic ecosystem management communities and the priorities and capabilities of the global change science data and modeling communities; (ii) to help to synthesize lessons learned from more detailed, place-based, system-based, or issue-based case studies; and (iii) to prioritize future work in developing adaptation strategies for global change impacts.

History/Chronology

Feb 2010EPA released the draft report for public comment and external peer review.
Aug 2011EPA released the final report.

Citation

U.S. EPA. Aquatic Ecosystems, Water Quality, and Global Change: Challenges of Conducting Multi-Stressor Vulnerability Assessments (Final Report). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-11/011F, 2011.

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