Applied Ecosystem Services, LLC

The Environmental Issues Doctor

  1. Aquatic sediments

    Collecting sediment samples for analysis of contaminants—particularly in river systems—is not just a matter of going out with a bucket and shovel. In fact, it is much more complex than a water quality survey, aquatic biota survey, or any terrestrial sampling program. Monitoring of sediment contaminants frequently is done to determine whether the sediments are a sink or a source of the chemicals of interest, and to evaluate the effects of the contaminants on the aquatic ecosystem as a whole.
  2. Aquatic toxins

    Inorganic metals and organic toxic chemicals in water, sediments, soils, or rocks concern everyone. Most people are seriously concerned with toxins that effect human and environmental health. A major characteristic of toxic geochemicals is that they tend to occur at very low concentrations; many times not being detected or quantified at all by the analytical chemical lab. These non-detected (or censored) results too often are mis-handled by ignoring them or substituting some arbitrary number in their stead.
  3. Photo of Avoiding Permit Compliance Actions

    Avoiding Compliance Actions


    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Every business complying with environmental laws can be profitable and sustainable while operating responsibly. Learning how to go beyond minimal permit compliance requirements to avoid regulatory compliance enforcement actions is as important as are other aspects of your job or operations when you are responsible for environmental permits. The rapidly warming climate and resulting more frequent and severe weather patterns such as megadroughts, massive wildland fire, severe flooding, hotter summers, and colder winters affect environmental permit holders in unpredictable ways.
  4. Avoiding permit compliance issues

    We live in a time of rapid changes and uncertainties in our climate, health, and economy. The “new normal” is not likely to stabilize for at least another year. The western US is entering the third decade of a megadrought that Columbia University’s Lamont Geological Observatory considers to be the worst in 1,200 years. The megadrought affects the area bounded approximately by the Columbia River on the north, northern Mexico to the south, the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west.
  5. Censored data

    Many projects or operation involve geochemistry: chemicals in water, sediments, soils, or rocks. Most people are not concerned with chemicals like magnesium sulfate or sodium chloride, but they are seriously concerned with toxins that effect human and environmental health. These toxins can be inorganic metals such as arsenic, cadmium, and zinc or organic compounds such as polychlorinated dioxins, furans, biphenyls, and pesticides. These toxins are most commonly present in very low concentrations, frequently not detectable.
  6. Complex environmental data

    From baseline conditions for environmental impact assessments to compliance with regulatory permit conditions regulated companies collect biological data and report analytical results to regulators and other interested parties. Historically, analyses used biotic diversity and integrity indices. These attempt to summarize highly complex natural ecosystems in a single number believed to make comparisons and decisions easier. While these indices are based on ecological theory they are very difficult, even impossible, to measure and quantitatively compare.
  7. Data values

    This tutorial explains the benefits of a process that maximizes the value of your environmental data, then describes the process in detail. There are two main reasons all environmental permit holders need this data management process: First, when regulators, NGOs, local groups, and others allege that an operation or project harms the environment their claim is always based on data. Specifically, the data you collect for baseline studies or permit compliance monitoring.
  8. Demonstrate stewardship

    Natural resource companies, particularly in extractive industries, are expected to comply with standards of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Financial institutions subscribing to the Equator Principle require evidence of such compliance when considering project funding. Mining companies constrained by low commodity prices and difficulties in obtaining financing benefit by demonstrating their adherence to these concepts. Stewardship and sustainability concern the natural environments in which the project operates. Two inter-related ways of demonstrating the company’s commitment are the appropriate analyses of their environmental data and the smooth operation of their environmental department.
  9. EMS value

    Environmental management systems (EMS) are policies directing how the company complies with statutory and regulatory environmental constraints on its operations. The Equator Principles (EP) are a financial industry benchmark for determining, assessing, and managing social and environmental risk in project financing. Implementing the former adds value to the company and increases investor confidence that the latter are reducing social and economic risks. Download the PDF.
  10. Environmental data acquisition benefits

    Regulated industries need environmental data to support complex and contentious permit applications, demonstrate that operations do not adversely affect the natural environment, and effectively address concerns of regulators, other stakeholders, and the public. Environmental data are ephemeral: if they are not acquired at a given time they are gone forever. The costs of sampling, measuring, and counting are minor compared to their potential value. Unfortunately, such early actions are not the norm.

Providing essential environmental services since 1993.