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Ecological Risk Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

Ecological Receptors

  1. Do I need to assess the potential impact that a site may have on amphibians?
  2. Do I need to assess the potential impact that a site may have on reptiles?

1. Do I need to assess the potential impact that a site may have on amphibians?

Amphibians can and should be included as receptors in the screening level risk assessment as appropriate (based on the potential presence of habitat necessary to support these receptors). The assessment should consider AWQCs and any appropriate contaminant specific benchmark available in the literature. Even if risk is indicated during the screening level assessment, evaluation of potential impacts to amphibians will only be carried through to the baseline assessment if "appropriate" amphibian habitat is present or threatened or endangered species (T&E species) are expected. "Appropriate" habitat can be described as habitat that provides essential components (i.e., water regime, soil type, structure, etc.) necessary for the survival of the endpoint species with no comparable habitats in the immediate area; access to the habitat should also be considered. In many cases, temporary pools, puddles, ephemeral ponds are all that is needed for amphibian reproduction and should be considered as high quality. Amphibian habitat completely surrounded by impervious materials or industrial facilities are generally not to be considered further.

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2. Do I need to assess the potential impact that a site may have on reptiles?

As a general rule in Region 3, impacts to reptiles do not have to be considered as an assessment endpoint in the screening level ERA. However, the screening ERA would need to state that impacts to reptiles are being assessed qualitatively through the use of surrogate receptors. An exception to this rule is when a T&E reptile has been identified as a potential receptor on the site. In this situation, it may be appropriate to consider impact on reptiles when identifying assessment endpoints.

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