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CRITICAL EVALUATION OF ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS
Fisher, W S., L E. Jackson, AND J C. Kurtz. CRITICAL EVALUATION OF ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS. Presented at EMAP Symposium on Western Ecological Systems: Status, Issues and New Approaches, San Francisco CA, April 6-8, 1999.
EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) has prepared fifteen technical guidelines to evaluate the suitability of an ecological indicator in a monitoring program. The guidelines were fashioned to provide a consistent framework for indicator review and to provide guidance for research on indicator development. They are proposed for use in characterizing the strengths and weaknesses of indicators within the context of their intended application. They may also be used to compare different indicators proposed for a similar purpose. Deficiencies found during evaluation of an indicator can be used to identify areas for further research. The guidelines are not intended to serve as 'indicator criteria' since different programs vary in their objectives and may be willing to overlook some deficiencies in order to capture a critical strength of an indicator. The fifteen guidelines are organized within four evaluation phases, originally described for indicator development in the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) (1) conceptual relevance, (2) feasibility of implementation, (3) response variabililty, and (4) interpretation and utility. The guidelines will be published in a forthcoming EPA technical document, "Evaluation Guidelines for Ecological Indicators." In addition to describing the fifteen guidelines, the document includes examples of three different EMAP indicators presented in the format and sequence of the guidelines. The examples include a direct chemical measurement (dissolved oxygen), an estuarine benthic community index and a fish community index of biotic integrity. The purpose of the examples is to demonstrate the types of information that can be provided to address each guideline.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION