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Targets: Sensitive Environments

  • Two types of sensitive environments are considered as targets:
    • Those listed in HRS Table 4-23 - Wetlands

  • These sensitive environments must lie on or contiguous to the in-water segment of the hazardous substance migration path to be included in the pathway assessment.

  • Turn to HRS Table 4-23, page 51624 and review it carefully, including the footnotes. To help focus your attention, search for those types of sensitive environments you are most apt to encounter in the parts of the nation where you work.



    • Notice that some of the sensitive environments are established by statute and will, therefore, have regulatory definition, a promulgation or listing of specific areas, a regulatory agency responsible for the environment, and some reporting requirements. Examples: National Park or Marine Sanctuary.
    • Others of the sensitive environments define a classification that will require the exercise of documented professional judgment. Examples: Habitat known to be used by a Federal endagered species or a spawning area critical for the maintenance of a fish species within a river.
    • You must be familiar with this list before beginning a Preliminary Assessment, a Site Inspection, or an HRS Documentation Record.

  • Appendix A of the HRS Guidance Manual is your life-saver for understanding and applying HRS Table 4-23.

    • Section A-2 has definitions. Turn to page A-9 for "Habitat known to be used by Federal designated or proposed endangered or threatened species" or press here:
    • Section A-3 has notes on identifying and delineating sensitive environments. Turn to page A-27 for notes on "Habitat known to be used by Federal designated or proposed endangered or threatened species":
    • Section A-4 gives sources of information for identifying the sensitive environments. Turn to page A-38 for sources of information on "Habitat known to be used by Federal designated or proposed endangered or threatened species" or press here:

  • The value assigned to each sensitive environment is stated in HRS Table 4-23. That value is assigned to the highest-scoring segment of surface water.

    • If two or more sensitive environments are co-located, add the values.

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