Environmental Assessment

Environmental assessment is the evaluation and reporting of environmental impacts from certain activities. The impacts considered range from potential harm to human health to reduced environmental quality. Activities for which environmental assessments are carried out are usually stipulated by law.  They typically include things like major housing, road, or other construction projects; mining, oil and gas and other resource extraction projects; large manufacturing on other industrial facilities; energy generating plants; and use of genetically modified organisms.  Environmental assessments are typically used to guide decision-making about whether an action takes place, whether an action complies with environmental laws, and whether fees or remedial actions are required to offset adverse impacts. Environmental assessments can include a wide range of technical perspectives including biology, chemistry, ecology, engineering, epidemiology, genetics, modeling, statistics, and toxicology. These perspectives can be applied to a number of different processes and criteria.  In some jurisdictions, the formal reporting of environmental assessments is referred to as an Environmental Impact Assessment.

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Watershed Last Updated on 2014-07-03 15:11:40 The term watershed is used (especially in North America and Europe) to indicate an area of land from which all water falling as rain or snow would flow toward a single point. This includes both surface water flow, such as rivers, streams and creeks, and the underground movement of water. The boundaries and the area of such a watershed are determined by first specifying geographic point on land. A line is then drawn which connects all of the points of highest elevation immediately adjacent to that point. The watershed area would be the land area within those boundaries. The watershed of the Amazon River would include all of the tributaries that flow into it so it would actually contain several hundred smaller watersheds. The watershed is thus defined hydrologically, that is, by the specific river or stream. Watershed and drainage basin or catchment are used synonymously and all of... More »
Public Health Statement for Atrazine Last Updated on 2014-06-14 12:27:27 This article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by EoE editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the EoE. September 2003 En Español CAS#: 1912-24-9 This Public Health Statement is the summary chapter from the Toxicological Profile for Atrazine. It is one in a series of Public Health Statements about hazardous substances and their health effects. A shorter version, the ToxFAQs™, is also available. This information is important because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present. For more information, call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-888-422-8737. This public health statement tells you about atrazine and the... More »
The North American Mosaic Last Updated on 2013-10-24 15:12:08 An Overview of Key Environmental Issues The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation obliges the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to “periodically address the state of the environment in the territories of the Parties.” To meet this obligation, the Secretariat has developed this report—The North American Mosaic: An Overview of Key Environmental Issues—with the support of environmental reporting experts from the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States. This report describes a wide variety of environmental trends and conditions across North America. The breadth and diversity of the subject are astounding: from tiny invasive zebra mussels to global greenhouse gases measured by the teragram; from the last remaining vaquita porpoises to vast expanses of boreal forests and marine ecosystems; from invisible... More »
Improving access to and use of earth science data Last Updated on 2013-10-22 23:34:26 USGS Helps Debut New Technology to Improve Access and Use of Earth Science Data Researchers investigating global issues now have an easy method for finding and using earth science data through a new technology developed by the Data Observation Network for Earth, or DataONE.   Understanding broad and complex environmental issues, for example climate change, increasingly relies on the discovery and analysis of massive datasets. But the amount of collected data—from historical field notes to real-time satellite data—means that researchers are now faced with an onslaught of options to locate and integrate information relevant to the issue at hand.  DataONE, a ten-institution team with several hundred Investigators, including researchers from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is addressing this data dilemma with a number of cyberinfrastructure and... More »
Ecological footprint Last Updated on 2013-10-22 19:06:50 Ecological Footprint is defined as a resource accounting framework for measuring human demand on the biosphere. The human economy is embedded in the biosphere and is entirely dependent on its ecological services. In consuming nature’s products and services, people have an impact on the Earth. But since nature has the ability to renew, it can cope with human demand as long as this demand stays within the regenerative capacity of the biosphere. Ecological Footprint accounting documents the extent to which human economies stay within the regenerative capacity of the planet, and who uses which portion of this capacity. They answer the research question of how much of the regenerative capacity of the biosphere is occupied by a given human activity. Such biophysical resource accounting is possible because resources and waste flows can be tracked, and most of these flows can be... More »