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Environmental Sciences


EPA’s Environmental Sciences Program conducts research, development, and technology transfer programs on environmental exposures to ecological and human receptors. The Environmental Sciences Program, located on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, develops methods for characterizing chemical and physical stressors, with special emphasis on ecological exposure. The program develops landscape and regional assessment capabilities through the use of remote sensing and advanced spatial analysis techniques. it also conducts analytical chemistry research and applies advanced monitoring technology to issues involving surface and subsurface contamination. To carry out its mission, EPA environmental scientists apply a multidisciplinary, multimedia approach in both laboratory and field settings.



Major Environmental Sciences Research Areas:

  • Regional Sustainable Environmental Science (RESES)
    The goal of the RESES research program is to promote healthy and sustainable communities with an emphasis on combining practical field measures and measurements with effective, long-term, community involvement.  The key to the program is using the best available tools and science to assign value to our shared ecosystem goods and services.

  • Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA)
    EPA's Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) program is an approach to regional scale, priority-setting assessment by integrating research on human and environmental health, ecorestoration, landscape analysis, regional exposure and process modeling, problem formulation, and ecological risk guidelines.


  • Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC)
    The Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) was formed by several federal agencies as an economical means to acquire satellite images and convert those images into useful products. This site describes the consortium and their projects.


  • Landscape Ecology Projects
    Landscape ecology is an interdisciplinary science framework that studies the relationship between spatial patterns of landscape characteristics and conditions of and risks to ecological resources, including forests, rangelands, wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes, and urban environmental settings.


  • Characterization and Monitoring
    Use of correct site characterization and monitoring techniques at hazardous waste sites is essential to provide accurate data from which decisions about the site's fate can be made. This research area is focused on improving the accuracy and representativeness of data through better sampling designs, equipment, methods, and through improved statistical data interpretation. Efforts focus on the measurement and evaluation of contaminants in various media, with emphasis on soils, sediments, and ground water.
  • Properly Functioning Condition of Ecosystems - Tribal-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool Project (T-FERST) >
    This study is about the overall health of a system of regional streams in Northern Nevada and provides a path for developing an interactive blueprint for implementing scientifically and economically sound regional management practices and restoration efforts.

  • Regional Applied Research Effort (RARE)
    A majority of the contaminated sites within the United States contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This research effort's goal is to develop a coupled analytical method which uses thermal desorption to extract and accurately measure VOCs and semi-volatile organic compounds from a single high moisture soil or sediment sample using a dual gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) system.


  • Trace Organic Analysis
    Continuous development of techniques and instrumentation play a central role in the chemical measurements that are needed to protect human health and the environment.


  • Vacuum Distillation for Identifying Volatile Pollutants
    Vacuum distillation is an EPA-patented technique for analyzing a broad spectrum of environmental sample types for conventional volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) as well as semi-volatile pollutants. This rugged approach has built-in quality assurance and has been adopted as an official method in RCRA's SW-846 Manual of Methods.


  • Ion Composition (ICE) for Identifying Uncommon Pollutants
    ICE is an EPA-developed tool that helps analytical chemists identify pollutants not included on EPA target lists. ICE enhances the power of conventional, high resolution mass spectrometry in environmental forensics to reveal sources and types of chemical pollution. Determining compound identities is essential for risk assessments.

 



Resources:

  • Properly Functioning Condition of Ecosystems 
    A Tribal-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool Project. This study is about the overall health of a system of regional streams in Northern Nevada and provides a path for developing an interactive blueprint for implementing scientifically and economically sound regional management practices and restoration efforts.

  • Environmental Geophysics 
    This website beta version contains information on geophysical methods, references to geophysical citations, and a glossary of geophysical terms related to environmental applications.

    Additionally, the website provides a beta version of the Geophysical Decision Support System (GDSS), which is an informal application for obtaining suggested geophysical methods and citations based on information you provide for your study area. The results are presented in ascending order of most relevant.

  • Technical Reference Center
    Collections include nuclear science, environmental science, specific areas of research performed at the Las Vegas lab facility, and one-of-a-kind collections such as the National Eutrophication Study.


  • Technical Support Center for Monitoring and Site Characterization
    The Technical Support Center offers monitoring and site characterization for Superfund support to EPA's Remedial Project Managers (RPMs) and On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) throughout a site characterization event, i.e., from planning and design to analysis and data interpretation.


  • Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)
    The Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) Program encourages the development and implementation of innovative treatment technologies for hazardous waste site remediation and monitoring and measurement.

Environmental Sciences | Research & Development
National Exposure Research Laboratory
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