The Need for Ecological Information and the Use of Bioindicators in US Federal Regulatory Agencies
ELLEN NATESAN AND MICHAEL SLIMAK
AAAS Science and Engineering Fellow, American Association for the
Advancement of Science assigned to the National Center for Environmental
Assessment, Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection
Agency, Washington, DC, USA
National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and
Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA
United States federal regulatory agencies develop indicators and other ecological information tools for a variety of reasons, including providing a framework for supporting decision making that is defensible to Congress and the public. Agencies typically develop indicators for their own specific regulatory or programmatic purposes and coordination with other agencies and other indicator projects is often limited. Here we give an overview of incentives driving the development of indicators at different federal agencies and provide some examples of federally supported monitoring and indicator projects. There has been a trend in management and related indicator projects toward coordinating efforts across larger geographic scales (ecosystem/ regional). However, there is currently insufficient institutional leadership to coordinate development of indicators at the national scale.
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