The Ely Mine, which operated from 1821 to 1905, and its area of downstream impact constitute the Ely Copper Mine Superfund site. The site was placed on the National Priori-ties List in 2001. The mine comprises underground workings, foundations from historical structures, several waste-rock piles, roast beds associated with the smelting operation, and slag piles resulting from the smelting. The mine site is drained by Ely Brook, which includes several tributaries, one of which drains a series of six ponds. Ely Brook empties into Schoolhouse Brook, which flows 3.3 kilometers and joins the Ompompanoosuc River.The aquatic ecosystem at the site was assessed using a variety of approaches that investigated surface-water quality, sediment quality, and various ecological indicators of stream-ecosystem health. The degradation of surface-water quality is dominated by copper with localized effects caused by iron, aluminum, cadmium, and zinc. Chronic water-quality criteria for copper are exceeded in the surface water of four of the six ponds on the Ely Brook tributary, and all of Ely Brook and Schoolhouse Brook, and of the Ompompanoosuc River down-stream of the confluence with Schoolhouse Brook. Compari-son of hardness-based and Biotic Ligand Modelbased water-quality criteria for copper yields similar results with respect to extent of impairment. However, the Biotic Ligand Model criteria are mostly lower than the hardness-based criteria and thus suggest a greater degree of impairment, particularly in the Ely Brook watershed, where dissolved organic carbon concentrations and pH values are lower. Surface-water toxicity testing correlates strongly with the extent of impact. Likewise, riffle-habitat benthic invertebrate richness and abundance data support these results through the stream environment. Simi-larly, the index of biotic integrity for the fish community in Schoolhouse Brook and the Ompompanoosuc River document degraded habitats throughout Schoolhouse Brook from Ely Brook down to the Ompompanoosuc River.