Chapter 1.12: Environmental Risk Assessments

An environmental risk assessment (ERA) is a process for evaluating  how likely it is that the environment may be impacted as a result of exposure to one or more environmental stressors such as chemicals, disease, invasive species and climate change.  Most ERA’s involve several common phases:  planning and scoping, problem formulation and risk assessment analysis and characterization.  These ERA’s then can be used to inform the public about the impact that these changes in the environment may have on human populations. 

Background Materials:

The US EPA gives a good introduction to ecological risk assessment, including details on each phase of the process:

A link to interesting ecological risk assessments publications put out by the US EPA:

A summary of ERA in layman’s terms from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry:

Textbook References and Links:

A link to the Chapman article on the ERA for soil contamination and remediation:

Practice exercise:  Review the article on high elevation development impacts on watershed hydrology to inform your ERA:  


Downloadable data and files: NA