Therefore, the CLL concept based on the biogeochemical approaches is a valuable methodology for ecological impact and risk assessment and is easily adjusted to the formal EIA procedure. The proposed framework could be applied to EIAs of development projects with high ecological implications that can potentially affect the environment both on local and regional scales. The model may be applicable to developments that involve releases of acidifying and eutrofying compounds, heavy metals and POPs into the environment in areas with high ecosystem vulnerability and/or pristine areas.

Ecological effects are often treated inadequately in the assessment of environmental impacts of proposed developments, while lack of quantitative ecological impact predictions is mentioned among key drawbacks of the current EIA practice. The idea of integrating ERA into EIA for improving the quality of the relevant studies has been supported by many EIA practitioners. At the same time, formal ecological risk assessment has significant limitations for assessing ecosystems risks related to proposed developments.

To improve addressing ecological implications of human activities, the authors have attempted to


Figure 6 A simplified biogeochemical food web in the aquatic ecosystems.

incorporate the CLL approach, an established methodology for assessing effects of industrial pollution on ecosystems and their sensitive components, into the EIA process. Benefits of and obstacles to applying that approach to assessing ecosystem effects within EIA were analyzed. Finally, a structured framework for CLL application for ecosystem risk assessment in EIA aimed at integrating three assessment tools was presented and key CLL inputs into impact assessment stages were discussed.

The proposed model of integrated assessment process is suggested for testing in EIAs for development projects with high ecological implications: those associated with releases of pollutants covered by current CLL calculating and mapping methodology and located in areas particularly sensitive to the selected indicator chemicals.

See also: Ecological Risk Assessment; Risk Management Safety Factor.

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