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(565) The use of biological data for the development of environmental regulations.
Munkittrick, Kelly*,1, Hedley, Kathleen2, 1 Canadian Rivers Institute, Department of Biology, UNB, Saint John, NB, Canada2 National EEM Office, Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
ABSTRACT- In Canada, federal management risk objectives are almost exclusively technology based (Best Available Technology Economically Achievable). The underlying assumption is that best available technology will result in less discharge, and less discharge will result in an improvement with respect to the environmental issue identified. In order to move towards regulations based on environmental performance, there would be a need for methods that measure receiving environment performance that are easy to use, scientifically defensible and enforceable in court, and the methods would need to measure progress against a goal. Important challenges include the lack of information linking effects to sources, site-specific variability in effluent quality and receiving environments, and the presence at most sites of confounding stressors. As biological criteria begin to develop, another important hurdle is the need for stakeholder involvement and the requirements to develop an understanding of issues surrounding the definition of the acceptability and sustainability of subtle changes in biological performance. Stumbling blocks to this development are the conflicting, and sometimes contradictory, monitoring requirements of diverse programs like environmental impact assessment, cumulative effects assessments, permit monitoring requirements, regional assessments, and post-operational monitoring programs such as the Canadian Environmental Effects Monitoring requirements. Biologically-based regulations will require a commitment to baseline monitoring, adaptive management and post-operational monitoring that is currently lacking in most situations.
Key words: environmental effects monitoring, cumulative effects assessment, environmental regulation, impact assessment
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