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EPA's Report on the Environment: External Review Draft



History of the ROE

History

For more than ten years, EPA has continued to develop and maintain the ROE as a “living” report that provides the best available indicators of national trends in the status and condition of U.S. environment and human health.

2001: EPA began a bold initiative to assemble, for the first time, the most reliable available indicators of national environmental and health conditions and trends that are important to EPA's mission.

2003: EPA released the Draft Report on the Environment Technical Document and a publicly oriented companion document, Draft Report on the Environment.

2008: EPA released EPA's Report on the Environment and a companion report, EPA's Report on the Environment: Highlights of National Trends (PDF) (40 pp, 2.9M) in print and on the web. Since then, EPA has revised, updated, and refined the ROE in response to scientific developments, as well as feedback from EPA's Scientific Advisory Board and stakeholders.

2014: EPA launched a new Web-based ROE with interactive graphing and mapping tools. EPA also added the topic of sustainability, several new indicators, and other new features. EPA published the ROE exclusively on the Web; printed copies are no longer available.

Ongoing: EPA updates the ROE indicators annually as new data are available. Indicators are occasionally discontinued, for example, when the data on which the indicator is based are no longer being collected.

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Publications

Printed Versions of the ROE

Peer Review and Science Advisory Board (SAB) Reports

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Retired Indicators

ROE indicators may be discontinued for a variety of reasons. For example, the data on which the indicator is based are no longer being collected; or the indicator can be replaced by another indicator for which more data are available or that provides more comprehensive geographic coverage.

Indicators Retired in September 2013

Indicator Name Reason for Retirement
Land Cover in the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin (PDF) (7 pp, 226K) This indicator was based on a one-time study. Data are no longer being collected and analyzed in the same manner.
Relative Ecological Condition of Undeveloped Land in EPA Region 5 (PDF) (8 pp, 265K) This indicator was developed as a pilot project using the 1992 National Land Cover Dataset. The program that conducted the analysis is no longer operational, and thus the analysis will not be updated.
Ambient Concentrations of Benzene (PDF) (7 pp, 143K) This indicator has been replaced by a more comprehensive indicator, Ambient Concentrations of Air Toxics, which describes concentrations of benzene as well as several other hazardous air pollutants.

Indicators Retired in May 2008

Indicator Name Reason for Retirement
Worldwide and U.S. Production of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODSs) Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator presented estimates of the amount of ODSs produced worldwide in 1986 and 1999, and annual U.S. production from 1958 to 1993. This indicator was withdrawn because of issues concerning data reliability and relevance. Global ODS production data are not reliable with respect to comparability among reporting countries. The U.S. estimates are more reliable because of legal reporting requirements and the small number of sources. However, the data set fails to account for imports, and annual production is not a good surrogate for emissions of ODSs into the environment because the time between production and eventual entry into the environment is highly variable among the various products and recovery systems.
Number of People Living in Areas with Air Quality Levels Above the NAAQS for Particulate Matter (PM) and Ozone Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator conveyed how many people (based on census data) lived in counties where air pollutant levels at times were above the level of the NAAQS during the year stated. It was intended to give the reader some indication of the number of people potentially exposed to unhealthy air. Because of changing populations and air quality standards, however, this indicator masks actual trends in the levels of air pollutants. It is not a valid exposure indicator for the ROE because it is not based on measurement of an actual marker of exposure measured on or in individuals.
Percentage of Homes Where Young Children Are Exposed to Environmental Tobacco Smoke Definition: The indicator fails to meet the improved indicator definition for the 2008 ROE.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator portrayed the percentage of homes in the U.S. in which young children were exposed to tobacco smoke in 1998 versus 1957. The survey was based on a questionnaire (do children live in the home, and does someone who smokes regularly live in the home), rather than on measurements of the amount of smoke actually present or the degree to which children were exposed to the resulting smoke. This indicator violates the ROE indicator definition, which requires that indicators be based on actual measurements; furthermore, the 2008 ROE's Serum Cotinine indicator better indicates children's exposure to smoke.
Altered Fresh Water Ecosystems Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on the percentage of land within 30 meters of the edge of a stream or lake that is classified as urban or agriculture based on 1991 satellite data (NLCD). Baseline data are incomplete, there are no reference points for the appropriate percentage of such cover, and it is not clear that the indicator could be reproduced with newer satellite data. There are no data for other alterations such as damming, channelization, etc.
Lake Trophic State Index Regional: The indicator is not national in scope and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.
Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.


This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on phosphorus data collected in a one-time statistical sample of lakes in the northeastern U.S. during 1991-1994. It is not included in the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.
Percent Urban Land Cover in Riparian Areas Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on the percentage of land within 30 meters of the edge of a stream or lake that is classified as urban or agriculture based on 1991 satellite data (NLCD). Baseline data are incomplete, there are no reference points for the appropriate percentage of such cover, and it is not clear that the indicator could be reproduced with newer satellite data. There are no data for other alterations such as damming, channelization, etc.
Agricultural Lands in Riparian Areas Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on the percentage of land within 30 meters of the edge of a stream or lake that is classified as urban or agriculture based on 1991 satellite data (NLCD). Baseline data are incomplete, there are no reference points for the appropriate percentage of such cover, and it is not clear that the indicator could be reproduced with newer satellite data. There are no data for other alterations such as damming, channelization, etc.
Sedimentation Index Regional: The indicator is not national in scope and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.
Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.
New indicator: The indicator is replaced by a “new” and superior indicator that was not available for the 2003 Draft ROE.


This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on data collected on freshwater streams in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands Region during a one-time 1993-1994 statistical survey. It is not included in the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project. The 2008 ROE's Streambed Stability in Wadeable Streams indicator provides a more complete nationwide picture of sedimentation in streams.
Nitrate in Farmland, Forested, and Urban Streams and Ground Water (partially withdrawn) New indicator: The indicator is replaced by a “new” and superior indicator that was not available for the 2003 Draft ROE.

Along with two others, this 2003 Draft ROE indicator was replaced by two new indicators, “Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Streams in Agricultural Watersheds” and “Nitrate and Pesticides in Shallow Ground Water in Agricultural Watersheds.” The NAWQA streams in forested and urban watersheds were based on a small sample size, and may not be representative of forested and urban streams in general.
Phosphorus in Farmland, Forested, and Urban Streams (partially withdrawn) New indicator: The indicator is replaced by a “new” and superior indicator that was not available for the 2003 Draft ROE.

Along with two others, this 2003 Draft ROE indicator was replaced by two new indicators, “Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Streams in Agricultural Watersheds” and “Nitrate and Pesticides in Shallow Ground Water in Agricultural Watersheds.” The NAWQA streams in forested and urban watersheds were based on a small sample size, and may not be representative of forested and urban streams in general.
Phosphorus in Large Rivers Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

The indicator was based on phosphorus concentrations in large rivers sampled periodically by the USGS National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN). Monitoring at many of the large river NASQAN sites has been discontinued. Information on phosphorus loads in four major rivers has been incorporated into the new 2008 ROE indicator, “Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loads in Large Rivers.”
Atmospheric Deposition of Mercury Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This indicator was withdrawn following peer review of the indicators because trend data could not be analyzed in time to revise it.
Chemical Contamination in Streams and Ground Water Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on data from a large number of USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) watersheds. The sampling and analytical protocols (including the analytes measured) are not comparable across all NAWQA watersheds.
Sediment Contamination of Inland Waters Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on reported concentrations of sediment contaminants collected by a large number of organizations focusing particularly on places where sediment contamination is perceived to be a problem (the EPA National Sediment Inventory). The database suffers from a number of limitations: the data are heavily biased toward sites at which there is a known or suspected toxicity problem and to particular geographic areas (non-representative of the nation), the data cover different dates in different locations (making estimation of trends difficult), and the data and procedures used to assign sites to a toxicity category are not uniform from watershed to watershed. It is unsuitable for trend estimation.
Fish Index of Biotic Integrity in Streams Regional: The indicator is not national in scope and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.
Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.


This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on fish community data collected on freshwater fish in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands Region during a one-time 1993-1996 statistical survey. Condition cannot be assessed in streams where no fish were caught, because data were insufficient to indicate whether the stream had poor quality or simply no fish. It is not included in the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.
Nitrate in Farmland, Forested, and Urban Streams and Ground Water (partially withdrawn) New indicator: The indicator is replaced by a “new” and superior indicator that was not available for the 2003 Draft ROE.

Along with two others, this 2003 Draft ROE indicator was replaced by two new indicators, “Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Streams in Agricultural Watersheds” and “Nitrate and Pesticides in Shallow Ground Water in Agricultural Watersheds.” The NAWQA streams in forested and urban watersheds were based on a small sample size, and may not be representative of forested and urban streams in general.
Total Organic Carbon in Sediments Regional: The indicator is not national in scope and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on data collected in a survey of Mid-Atlantic estuaries during a one-time 1997-1998 statistical survey. It is not included in the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project. Also, total organic carbon in sediments is useful in understanding sediment toxicity, but there are unlikely to be trends in sediment total organic carbon, and therefore it would be of limited value as an ROE indicator.
Population Density in Coastal Areas Definition: The indicator fails to meet the improved indicator definition for the 2008 ROE.

Discussion of population density in coastal areas was moved to the introduction of the water chapter section responding to the question, “What are the trends in the extent and condition of coastal waters and their effects on human health and the environment?”
Number of Beach Days That Beaches Are Closed or Under Advisory Definition: The indicator fails to meet the improved indicator definition for the 2008 ROE.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on the frequency of beach closures or fish consumption advisories as reported to EPA voluntarily by states and local government organizations. The data are not nationally or temporally consistent because of different and changing criteria for closing beaches or issuing fish consumption advisories in the different states, many of which do not involve actual water quality measurements. It is therefore an administrative indicator (based on administrative action rather than actual physical measurements) and fails to meet the definition for ROE indicators.
Percent of River Miles and Lake Acres Under Fish Consumption Advisories Definition: The indicator fails to meet the improved indicator definition for the 2008 ROE.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on the frequency of beach closures or fish consumption advisories as reported to EPA voluntarily by states and local government organizations. The data are not nationally or temporally consistent because of different and changing criteria for closing beaches or issuing fish consumption advisories in the different states, many of which do not involve actual water quality measurements. It is therefore an administrative indicator (based on administrative action rather than actual physical measurements) and fails to meet the definition for ROE indicators.
Number of Watersheds Exceeding Health-Based National Water Quality Criteria for Mercury and PCBs in Fish Tissue Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on voluntary reporting of mercury contamination using data that had not undergone formal QA/QC review. It is not representative of the nation, or suitable for trend monitoring.
The Farmland Landscape Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator represented croplands and the forests, woodlots, wetlands, grasslands, and shrublands that surround or are intermingled with them, and the degree to which croplands dominate the landscape. The indicator relied on data generated using early 1990s satellite data, and it is unclear whether the definition of “farmland landscape” is sufficiently precise to be replicated independently, especially with respect to any future satellite data availability.
Sediment Runoff Potential from Croplands and Pasturelands Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator represented the estimated sediment runoff potential for croplands and pasturelands based on topography; weather patterns; soil characteristics; land use, land cover, and cropping patterns; and the Universal Soil Loss equation. The indicator addressed “potential” and not actual/current condition, and relied on a model (the Soil and Water Assessment Tool: http://swat.tamu.edu/) to predict ambient characteristics based on pressure/stressor measurements, which violates a fundamental ROE protocol on the use of models in indicators. Trends in this indicator would likely be associated only with trends in land cover, cropping practices, and weather (topography and soil type are unlikely to change). No reliable spatial trend data at the appropriate scale exist for either cropping practices or land cover, and consequently trends in this indicator would be difficult to calculate.
Quantity of Radioactive Waste Generated and in Inventory Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on production and inventory data collected by the Department of Energy. Although the data continue to be collected, they are no longer publicly available post-September 11, 2001; therefore, ongoing data trends are not and will not be available for this indicator in the future. Moreover, the earlier data reflected two distinct periods in the history of waste generation in the nuclear weapons complex. The first reflected a period during which wastes and other materials were being generated as an integral part of the production of weapons-grade nuclear materials and components. The period after 1989 reflected the cessation of large-scale production of such materials and the initiation of cleanup activities and wastes from those initiatives. Thus, even before the truncation of data in the post-9/11 period, there were significant issues with the comparability of the data over time.
Number and Location of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfills (partially withdrawn) Definition: The indicator fails to meet the improved indicator definition for the 2008 ROE.
New indicator: The indicator is replaced by a “new” and superior indicator that was not available for the 2003 Draft ROE.


This 2003 Draft ROE indicator represents an administrative count of landfills, rather than an amount of waste produced, and therefore does not meet the 2008 ROE indicator definition. The indicator was replaced by a new and superior indicator that tracks the quantity of municipal solid waste generated and how it is managed.
Number and Location of RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Facilities (partially withdrawn) Definition: The indicator fails to meet the improved indicator definition for the 2008 ROE.
New indicator: The indicator is replaced by a “new” and superior indicator that was not available for the 2003 Draft ROE.


This 2003 Draft ROE indicator, by itself, represents an administrative decision to force a cleanup, rather than an amount of waste present or removed, and therefore does not meet the 2008 ROE indicator definition. The data were combined into a new indicator, “Quantity of RCRA Hazardous Waste Generated and Managed,” which combines information from several 2003 Draft ROE indicators.
Number and Location of Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) Sites Definition: The indicator fails to meet the improved indicator definition for the 2008 ROE.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator represented an administrative decision to force a cleanup, rather than an amount of waste present or removed, and therefore does not meet the 2008 ROE indicator definition.
Number and Location of RCRA Corrective Action Sites Definition: The indicator fails to meet the improved indicator definition for the 2008 ROE.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator represented an administrative decision to force a cleanup, rather than an amount of waste present or removed, and therefore does not meet the 2008 ROE indicator definition.
Agricultural Pesticide Use Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

Agricultural pesticide usage data, measured at the national aggregate level for all pesticides, are very difficult to interpret. From one time period to another, the mix of pesticides changes, pest pressures change, agricultural practices change, agricultural acreage changes, regulatory status of key uses changes, and many other important variables change. Moreover, the effects of pesticide usage are encountered at three levels of the product's life cycle: production, usage, and residues on foods. The geographic distribution of those effects renders difficult the interpretation of national usage levels for all pesticides, taken as a group. While it is of course possible to compare magnitudes of aggregates at different times, the real significance for the environment is in the differences in the content and geographic distribution of the aggregates, not in the magnitude of the aggregate.
Potential Pesticide Runoff from Farm Fields Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator represented the potential movement of agricultural pesticides from the site of application to ground and surface waters, based on estimates of pesticide leaching and runoff losses derived from soil properties, field characteristics, management practices, pesticide properties, and climate for 243 pesticides applied to 120 specific soils in growing 13 major agronomic crops. The indicator addresses “potential” and not actual/current condition, and relies on models to predict ambient characteristics based on measurements of pressures/stressors. This violates a fundamental ROE protocol on the use of models in indicators.
Risk of Nitrogen Export Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator represented the potential movement of nitrogen and phosphorus from the site of application to surface waters, based on a large empirical dataset relating land use to nitrogen and phosphorus observed in receiving streams over several decades at a variety of locations. The indicator addresses “potential” and not actual/current conditions, and relies on statistical models to predict ambient characteristics based on measurements of pressures/stressors. This violates a fundamental ROE protocol on the use of models in indicators.
Risk of Phosphorus Export Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator represented the potential movement of nitrogen and phosphorus from the site of application to surface waters, based on a large empirical dataset relating land use to nitrogen and phosphorus observed in receiving streams over several decades at a variety of locations. The indicator addresses “potential” and not actual/current conditions, and relies on statistical models to predict ambient characteristics based on measurements of pressures/stressors. This violates a fundamental ROE protocol on the use of models in indicators.
Pesticide Leaching Potential (from the ecological condition chapter) Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator represented the potential movement of agricultural pesticides from the site of application to ground and surface waters, based on estimates of pesticide leaching and runoff losses derived from soil properties, field characteristics, management practices, pesticide properties, and climate for 243 pesticides applied to 120 specific soils in growing 13 major agronomic crops. The indicator addresses “potential” and not actual/current condition, and relies on models to predict ambient characteristics based on measurements of pressures/stressors. This violates a fundamental ROE protocol on the use of models in indicators.
Urine Arsenic Level Regional: The indicator is not national in scope and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on data from EPA Region 5 only, and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot.
Blood Volatile Organic Compound Levels Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on a convenience sample whose representativeness cannot be determined or necessarily used as a baseline for future sampling. The indicator is based on detects only, so there is no reference level. Also, volatile organic compounds are cleared from the bloodstream rapidly (about 1 hour), so there is a significant possibility of false negatives, considering that exposure tends to be associated with occupational and indoor settings.
Cancer Mortality Peer review: The independent peer review panel recommended withdrawing the indicator from the 2008 ROE.

The independent peer review panel recommended the removal of the cancer and asthma mortality indicators because trends in these indicators are less likely to be due to changes in environmental factors than to changes in social factors such as availability/access to healthcare.
Asthma Mortality Peer review: The independent peer review panel recommended withdrawing the indicator from the 2008 ROE.

The independent peer review panel recommended the removal of the cancer and asthma mortality indicators because trends in these indicators are less likely to be due to changes in environmental factors than to changes in social factors such as availability/access to healthcare.
Childhood Cancer Mortality Peer review: The independent peer review panel recommended withdrawing the indicator from the 2008 ROE.

The independent peer review panel recommended the removal of the cancer and asthma mortality indicators because trends in these indicators are less likely to be due to changes in environmental factors than to changes in social factors such as availability/access to healthcare.
Childhood Asthma Mortality Peer review: The independent peer review panel recommended withdrawing the indicator from the 2008 ROE.

The independent peer review panel recommended the removal of the cancer and asthma mortality indicators because trends in these indicators are less likely to be due to changes in environmental factors than to changes in social factors such as availability/access to healthcare.
Forest Age Class New indicator: The indicator is replaced by a “new” and superior indicator that was not available for the 2003 Draft ROE.

While forest age class has implications for biodiversity and ecological function, this indicator was withdrawn in favor of indicators of forest extent and type and forest fragmentation.
Extent of Ponds, Lakes, and Reservoirs Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on data from the USGS National Wetlands Inventory. While these data are based on a valid statistical sampling design, the total amount of surface water is less than half the area of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds greater than 6 acres in size in the USGS National Hydrography Data Set. Until this discrepancy is resolved, the indicator may not satisfy the ROE criteria.
Extent of Estuaries and Coastline Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on remote sensing data, but is unlikely to show trends unrelated to sea level rise and changing tides, so it is not a very useful indicator for trends.
At-Risk Native Forest Species Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

The ecological condition chapter was restructured from the 2003 Draft ROE organization per the recommendation of EPA's Science Advisory Board and numerous stakeholders. As such, the chapter's indicators no longer need to be broken out by ecosystem. For many of them, as well, the ability to track trends is questionable.
Populations of Representative Forest Species Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

The ecological condition chapter was restructured from the 2003 Draft ROE organization per the recommendation of EPA's Science Advisory Board and numerous stakeholders. As such, the chapter's indicators no longer need to be broken out by ecosystem. For many of them, as well, the ability to track trends is questionable.
Tree Condition Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on an ongoing statistical sample of forests across the contiguous U.S. and comprises components that relate to crown (tree canopy) condition, the ratio of dead to live wood, and the fire class. This indicator likely relates more to forest management practices than to environmental condition, and for this reason has low relevance value to EPA.
At-Risk Native Grassland and Shrubland Species Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

The ecological condition chapter was restructured from the 2003 Draft ROE organization per the recommendation of EPA's Science Advisory Board and numerous stakeholders. As such, the chapter's indicators no longer need to be broken out by ecosystem. For many of them, as well, the ability to track trends is questionable.
Population Trends of Invasive and Native Non-Invasive Bird Species Regional: The indicator is not national in scope and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on an analysis of USGS Breeding Bird Survey data in grassland and shrubland ecosystems for 5-year periods ranging from the late 1960s to 2000. Because the ecological condition questions are no longer directed at specific ecosystem types, this appears to be a Regional Indicator. Also, it is not clear at this time that the data for this indicator will be collected in the future.
At-Risk Native Fresh Water Species Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

The ecological condition chapter was restructured from the 2003 Draft ROE organization per the recommendation of EPA's Science Advisory Board and numerous stakeholders. As such, the chapter's indicators no longer need to be broken out by ecosystem. For many of them, as well, the ability to track trends is questionable.
Non-Native Fresh Water Species Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

The ecological condition chapter was restructured from the 2003 Draft ROE organization per the recommendation of EPA's Science Advisory Board and numerous stakeholders. As such, the chapter's indicators no longer need to be broken out by ecosystem. For many of them, as well, the ability to track trends is questionable.
At-Risk Fresh Water Plant Communities Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

The ecological condition chapter was restructured from the 2003 Draft ROE organization per the recommendation of EPA's Science Advisory Board and numerous stakeholders. As such, the chapter's indicators no longer need to be broken out by ecosystem. For many of them, as well, the ability to track trends is questionable.
Coastal Living Habitats Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on remote sensing data of coastal wetlands, mudflats, sea-grass beds, etc., but the only system for which a National Indicator has been developed is coastal vegetated wetlands, which already is covered in another indicator (the 2008 ROE's Wetlands indicator).
Shoreline Types Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on NOAA's Environmental Sensitivity Index. The index is based on a standardized mapping approach, but coverage is not complete for large parts of the coastline and the data in some of the atlases are more than 15 years old. Consequently, this indicator is not appropriate for measurement of representative, national trends.
Fish Diversity Regional: The indicator is not national in scope and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on a statistical sample of fish trawls in Mid-Atlantic estuaries during 1997-1998. This indicator is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project, and EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) is no longer collecting fish samples to support this indicator.
At-Risk Native Species Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

The ecological condition chapter was restructured from the 2003 Draft ROE organization per the recommendation of EPA's Science Advisory Board and numerous stakeholders. As such, the chapter's indicators no longer need to be broken out by ecosystem. For many of them, as well, the ability to track trends is questionable.
Bird Community Index Regional: The indicator is not national in scope and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was not national in scope or part of the ROE EPA Regional Pilot.
Forest Disturbance: Fire, Insects, and Disease Peer review: The independent peer review panel recommended withdrawing the indicator from the 2008 ROE.

The independent peer review panel recommended that this indicator be withdrawn because it was “limited in many aspects of its coverage: temporally, spatially, and in types of disturbance…Ecological interpretation of disturbance patterns is difficult…For example, the lack of fire may actually represent an ecological disturbance, while fire suppression can lead to overcrowded forests that are more conducive to insect and disease outbreaks.” The reviewers also commented that the data were questionable and that the interdependence among the disturbance categories could result in significant double-counting. Finally, timber harvest was not included even though it disturbs more acres than fires, insects, or disease.
Soil Compaction Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator is based on an ongoing statistical sample of soils in forests across the contiguous U.S., but the actual indicator is based on models rather than measurement. This violates a fundamental ROE protocol on the use of models in indicators.
Soil Erosion (Forests) Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator is based on an ongoing statistical sample of soils in forests across the contiguous U.S., but the actual indicator is based on models rather than measurement. This violates a fundamental ROE protocol on the use of models in indicators.
Soil Erosion (Farmland) Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator is based on an ongoing statistical sample of soils in forests across the contiguous U.S., but the actual indicator is based on models rather than measurement. This violates a fundamental ROE protocol on the use of models in indicators.
Processes Beyond the Range of Historic Variation Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on an analysis of recent Forest Inventory and Analysis data on climate events, fire frequency, and forest insect and disease outbreaks, which were then compared to anecdotal data for the 1800-1850 period. Because the early data are anecdotal, and because the data mostly relate to forest management practices, etc., it is proposed that this indicator has low relevance to EPA and that trend data are of questionable utility as an ROE indicator.
Soil Quality Index Regional: The indicator is not national in scope and is not part of the 2008 ROE Regional Pilot Project.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on a survey of soils in the Mid-Atlantic region during the 1990s; that survey was not repeated and is not part of the Regional Pilot Project for the 2008 ROE.
Terrestrial Plant Growth Index Peer review: The independent peer review panel recommended withdrawing the indicator from the 2008 ROE.

The independent peer review panel recommended that this indicator be withdrawn because “The results are too ambiguous and not explained, or perhaps, unexplainable…NDVI is a crude measure of growth. [Also,] The relative deviation of the Plant Growth Index (20-40%) without explanation during the period of analysis suggests that the indicator might lack the precision needed to assess national trends in productivity.”
Chemical Contamination (partially withdrawn) Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator combined data from the NAWQA program that are not consistent in terms of sampling frequency or analytical protocols. The part of this indicator presenting contaminant levels in coastal fish as measured by EMAP was moved to a separate indicator in the water chapter of the 2008 ROE: Coastal Fish Tissue Contaminants.
Animal Deaths and Deformities Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on data reported by a number of different organizations to USGS on incidences of death or deformities in waterfowl, fish, amphibians, and mammals. Trends are available only for waterfowl, and because data reporting is voluntary rather than systematic, the data are not adequate to determine actual trends versus trends in reporting.
Fish Abnormalities Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on a statistical sample of fish trawls in estuaries in the Atlantic and Gulf, but the data are no longer being collected by EMAP to support this indicator.
Unusual Marine Mortalities Criteria: The indicator fails to meet one of the six indicator criteria that were established to conform to EPA Information Quality Guidelines.

This 2003 Draft ROE indicator was based on voluntary reporting of unusual mortality events to NOAA. Because there is no systematic requirement to report, these data are not suitable to support national trends in the indicator.

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