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Ecological Indicator Development

EMAP describes indicators as measurable characteristics of the environment, both abiotic and biotic, that can provide quantitative information on ecological resources. ORD's Ecological Indicators Workgroup was established to examine the characteristics that make indicators useful in order to improve the quality and utility of existing indicators and identify the need for new indicators of ecological condition. The objectives of the workgroup are to:

a) develop a research strategy that focuses research efforts on the development of needed ecological indicators and reduces uncertainty associated with indicators already in use
b) define categories of information that are critical to the development of indicators to provide a consistent basis for research development and scientific review of ecological indicators
c) provide outreach and technology transfer to regional, state, and local groups who use ecological indicators in their regulatory and assessment programs as well as program offices and other agencies who have ongoing activities that influence the development and use of ecological indicators.

Plans are underway to:

a) Develop a research strategy with the assistance of a research strategy committee. Committee members have been identified and a preliminary work session was held Sept 10-12, 1996.
b) Review critical categories by assessing how well 6 specific ecological indicators selected for use in the Agency's Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment Program (MAIA) meet identified needs in the areas of responsiveness, performance, and programmatic criteria.
c) Establish a listing of regional contacts to assist in reviewing the array of critical categories for assessing ecological indicators prior to formal review.

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