Applied Ecosystem Services, LLC

The Environmental Issues Doctor

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Biota and opportunity costs

    Natural resource operators are directly affected by habitat preservation requirements for species listed under the ESA and state equivalents. One possible explanation is that environmental decision-makers do not have sufficient information, ecological training, or appropriate analytical tools so they fall back on the precautionary principle (hope for the best, prepare for the worst) and declare that all actual and potential habitat for the species be left untouched for population sustainability. This is both unnecessary and wasteful as there are robust statistical and spatio-temporal models that can inform technically sound and legally defensible decisions, even with limited data.
  4. Photo of Clean Water Act Compliance: Quantifying Ambient Water Quality

    Clean Water Act Compliance: Quantifying Ambient Water Quality


    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    The CWA’s objective of restoring and maintaining the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters requires ambient condition assessment. In fact, that’s what the CWA tells regulators to do. This article presentation will define ambient conditions and explain how to measure and interpret the data. The basis for setting water quality standards is decades out of date, given our current understanding of environmental data and availability of recently developed statistical models.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Environmental data essential

    Environmental data are the foundation for all natural resource operations. They are the scientific basis for environmental impact analyses by public lands management agencies. Mining, energy generation and transmission, and livestock grazing all depend on the environmental impact assessment being based on appropriately collected, analyzed, and interpreted data. Point source water discharges require permits: a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for discharge directly to any surface water or a Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) permit for discharge to the ground and not directly to surface or ground waters.
  9. Environmental decision-making for regulators

    The current paradigm used by all federal agencies when preparing NEPA documents is descriptive. It is a qualitative assessment with a decision made subjectively. There is no standardized process used to determine what components are included in the assessment. Scoping too often is separated from public participation. Descriptions of the existing environments are described in words with large technical appendices filled with tables of numbers and graphics. However, there is no attempt to explain what this description means.
  10. Environmental degradation

    Answers to these two questions support decisions based on environmental data: Why do we observe the values we have? How can we identify natural variability and anthropogenic effects? The first question can be answered using an appropriate regression model that relates mean or quantile values of the continuous response variable to the range of values of one or more explanatory variables. Explanatory variables frequently are categorical; that is, names such as soil type, compass direction, and dominant vegetation rather than continuous variables such as temperature and slope.

Providing essential environmental services since 1993.