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TP18 Assessing Ecosystem Services and Benefits
(ROY-1117-820290) Application of an Ecological Services Analysis under the Texas Risk Reduction Rule.
Roy, M1, 1 URS Corporation, Austin, Texas, USA
ABSTRACT- An ecological services analysis (ESA) is a risk management option under the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Texas Risk Reduction Program (TRRP) 30 TAC 350. An ESA is required when contaminants are to be left in place above ecological criteria. The ESA considers the present and predicted ecological services of an affected property, as well as the beneficial and/or detrimental effects on services associated with ecological risks. According to TRRP, key tenets of the ESA are, (1) even impaired habitats can provide valuable ecological services, (2) the environment is an ecosystem that extends beyond the perimeter of an affected property, and (3) reduction in services provided by habitat in one location can be offset by a corresponding increase in services elsewhere. The first ESA to be approved in Texas was for a City of Austin (CoA) project. An on-site two-acre pond had received runoff from the surrounding landscape, and organochlorine pesticides were in sediments. An ecological risk assessment (ERA) was conducted and approved by the TCEQ. The natural resource trustees who participated in this process included TCEQ and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The ESA included the ERA conclusions and interpretation of how potential risks relates to ecological resource damage. A CoA surface water retention pond located in the city was used as compensation for the potential ecological service loss from the pesticides remaining in the sediments of the two-acre on site pond. A Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA) was included in the ESA document to justify this alternative. Other alternatives included removing or lining the pond. Both alternatives removed all habitats. It was only through communication efforts that all parties were able to understand each perspective and to reach a cooperative solution. Ecological and societal resources were increased, adding no additional costs for remediation.
Key words: ecological, sustainability, equivalency
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