[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 172 (Tuesday, September 6, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 55060-55061]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-22669]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-9459-7]


Aquatic Ecosystems, Water Quality, and Global Change: Challenges 
of Conducting Multi-Stressor Vulnerability Assessments--Release of 
Final Report

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of Availability.

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SUMMARY: EPA is releasing a final report entitled, Aquatic Ecosystems, 
Water Quality, and Global Change: Challenges of Conducting Multi-
stressor Vulnerability Assessments, (EPA/600/R-11/011F). The document 
was prepared by the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) 
within EPA's Office of Research and Development.
    This report investigates the issues and challenges associated with 
identifying, calculating, and mapping indicators of the relative 
vulnerability of water quality and aquatic ecosystems across the United 
States to the potential impacts of global change. Using a large set of 
environmental indicators drawn from scientific literature and data, 
this final report explores the conceptual and practical challenges 
associated with using such indicators to assess the resilience of 
ecosystems and human systems to a variety of existing stresses and mal-
adaptations.

DATES: The report was posted publicly on August 26, 2011.

ADDRESSES: The report, Aquatic Ecosystems, Water Quality, and Global 
Change: Challenges of Conducting Multi-stressor Vulnerability 
Assessments, is available primarily via the Internet on the National 
Center for Environmental Assessment's home page under the Recent 
Additions and the Data and Publications menus at http://www.epa.gov/ncea. A limited number of paper copies are available from the 
Information Management Team, NCEA; telephone: 703-347-8561; facsimile: 
703-347-8691. If you are requesting a paper copy, please provide your 
name, mailing address, and the document title.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information, contact 
the National Center for Environmental Assessment; Chris Weaver; 
telephone: 703-347-8621; facsimile: 703-347-8694; or e-mail: 
weaver.chris@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

 Information About the Project/Document

    This report investigates the issues and challenges associated with 
identifying, calculating, and mapping indicators of relative 
vulnerability of water quality and aquatic ecosystems across the United 
States to the potential adverse impacts of external forces, such as 
long-term climate and land-use change.
    The report does not directly evaluate the potential impacts of 
global change on ecosystems and watersheds. Rather, it explores the 
assumption that the impacts of existing stressors will be a key input 
to any comprehensive global change vulnerability assessment, and the 
impacts of global change will be expressed via interactions with these 
stressors. To date, there has been relatively little exploration of the 
assumption that the practical challenges associated with assessing the 
resilience of ecosystems and human systems might vary as a result of 
existing global change stresses and mal-adaptations. The work described 
in this report is a preliminary attempt at such an exploration.
    This report uses more than 600 indicators of water quality and 
aquatic ecosystem conditions drawn from numerous scientific literature 
and datasets from within EPA, additional Federal agencies, and other 
organizations. The report serves as a starting point for identifying 
challenges in calculating and mapping national vulnerabilities. The 
challenges identified include gaps in ideas, methods, data, and tools. 
Some of those specific challenges are:
     Identifying those indicators that speak specifically to 
``vulnerability'' as opposed to those reflecting simply a state or 
condition;

[[Page 55061]]

     Calculating and estimating the values of these 
vulnerability indicators, including establishing important indicator 
thresholds that reflect abrupt or large changes in the vulnerability of 
water quality or aquatic ecosystems;
     Mapping these vulnerability indicators nationally, 
including data availability and spatial aggregation of the data; and
     Combining and compositing indicators and developing multi-
indicator indices of vulnerability.
    This report is intended to be a building block for future work on 
multi-stressor global change vulnerability assessments. Hopefully, it 
will contribute to improve links between the decision support needs of 
the water quality and aquatic ecosystem management communities and the 
priorities and capabilities of the global change science data and 
modeling communities.

    Dated: August 15, 2011.
Joseph DeSantis,
Acting Director, National Center for Environmental Assessment.
[FR Doc. 2011-22669 Filed 9-2-11; 8:45 am]
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