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M3 AM Ecological Risk Assessment (Part 1)
(COH-1117-833306) Amphibian Risk Assessment, Risk Management, and Habitat Conservation for Golf Course Developments.
cohen, s1, klemens, m2, klein, m3, 1 environmental & turf services, inc., wheaton, md, usa2 wildlife conservation society, bronx, ny, usa3 environmental planning services, west hartford, ct, usa
ABSTRACT- There is a general consensus that amphibian populations are in a state of worldwide decline, and there is anecdotal evidence that the rate of deformities is increasing. Pesticides and fertilizers are among several possible causes cited for the increased rate of declines and deformities, although a cause-effect relationship has not been established, except for habitat destruction as a significant cause of population decline. Golf courses, which regularly receive pesticide and fertilizer applications, can be home to a variety of wildlife, including amphibians. Golf course developments often have the potential to be suitable sites for amphibian habitats because their large areas frequently couple prime upland habitat with wetlands and other surface water bodies. The planning of golf course developments, especially those that include housing, requires an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to ensure that the development and the environment can coexist. The first step is to characterize the water resources, identify potential amphibian habitats, and identify and characterize amphibian populations on the proposed site. The next step is to rank the habitats – typically vernal pools associated with wetland systems – according to their productivity and species diversity. Concurrently, two-part development envelopes should be drawn around each priority habitat that provide total protection for 100 ft (30.4 m) and minimal disruption for 750 ft (228 m). The rankings and the protection envelopes should be used to guide the development of the site plan. The third step is to conduct a pesticide and fertilizer risk assessment based on computer modeling estimates of exposure to the larvae in the aquatic phase, as well as dermal exposure to juveniles and adults in the terrestrial/upland phase. Amphibian toxicology studies are not required by regulatory agencies, therefore we developed a methodology to calculate maximum allowable concentrations (MACs) for amphibian exposure to turf pesticides, as well as nitrates. The final step is to integrate this information into a risk management program, which can include turf management, civil engineering, and design mitigation measures. A case study of a proposed development in coastal Connecticut will be presented.
Key words: pesticides, amphibians, risk, modeling
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