United States
Environmental Protection
  Office of Research and Development
National Health & Environmental Effects
        Research Laboratory
         200 SW 35th St, Corvallis OR 97333
Hatfield Marine Science Ctr, Newport OR 97365
                                WESTERN ECOLOGY  DIVISION
        Meeting Information Needs for EPA and the Nation
     The Western Ecology Division
  (WED)  is  part  of  the  National
  Health and  Environmental Effects
  Research  Laboratory   (NHEERL),
  with research facilities  in  Corvallis
  and Newport, OR. WED scientists
  provide information to  EPA offices
  and regions nationwide to improve
  our understanding of how human
  activities  affect  estuarine,  freshwa-
  ter, and terrestrial ecosystems.
Field data and stress-response
modeling improve estuarine -water
 quality criteria.
                      The Division addresses a broad range
                      of ecological issues.  Our scientists
                      collaborate with  other  EPA research
                      labs, as well as with scientists in other
                      programs located in Corvallis  and
                      Newport, such as  Oregon State Uni-
                      versity, USDA Forest Service, USGS
                      Biological  Resources Division,  and
                      NOAA Fisheries. These collaborations
                      have greatly enhanced our collective
                                  above: Novel sampling designs and biological indica-
                                  tors ensure accurate assessment of aquatic condition
                       Contributing to Environmental  Improvements
                             Past research programs  at WED have in-
                             formed environmental policy in the United
                             States and elsewhere.  Early work on con-
                             taminated waters led the  Office of Water to
                             develop  water quality criteria. WED scien-
                             tists led efforts in acid rain  research that
                             influenced  U.S. .policies restricting air pol-
                             lutants. Studying the  effects  of ozone on
                             terrestrial ecosystems led the Office of Air
                                                       to undertake changes in regulations. WED sci-
                                                       entists have developed techniques for assess-
                                                       ing the condition of aquatic ecosystems that
                                                       are used nationally. Wetland assessments have
                                                       helped define new federal policies. Research
                                                       at WED has  contributed to better tools for
                                                       pesticide risk assessments for protection of
                                                       wildlife and their habitats.
                Continuing Leadership in Environmental Research
   Research at WED continues a long tradition of developing information to meet Agency
and national needs. Current work focuses on providing data for the Offices of Water and
Pesticides, as well as information requested by Regional EPA Offices, benefiting citizens
across the United States :
                                                                    and popula-
                                                                    tion model-
                                                                    ing identify
                                                                    stresses on
   ^•Monitoring  the   Nation's  Waters:  Scientists at
WED's  Environmental Monitoring and Assessment  Program
(EMAP) have developed innovative approaches to  monitoring
coastal  and freshwater   environments.   Federal  and  State
Agencies which implement the Clean Water Act rely heavily on
information generated by EMAP to evaluate the condition of
U.S. waters.

  ^•Salmon Habitat:   WED is working to identify stream and
landscape characteristics that  are important  spawning and
rearing habitats for at-risk populations of coho salmon and other
native fish.

   ^•Freshwater/Estuarine  Ecosystems: Nutrients coming
into  streams, rivers and estuaries can have both positive and
negative effects on aquatic life, and can impact the use of those
waters by humans. WED scientists are providing information
that will help establish nutrient criteria and guide management
of excess nutrients coming into our nation's estuaries.
                                                ^•Pesticides:  Crops, native plants, and wildlife face
                                             individual and cumulative risks due to pesticide use. The
                                             EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs assesses the environ-
                                             mental risks posed by pesticides to a variety of plant and
                                             animal species, utilizing  many  innovative  techniques
                                             developed in WED laboratories.  Research may also pre-
                                             dict other stressors on key wildlife species and ecosystem

                                                ^•Genetically modified crops: Recent concern over
                                             use  of genetically  modified
                                             crops  has  prompted  WED
                                             research  into the  potential
                                             ecological  risks  caused  by
                                             movement  of genetically  al-
                                             tered  material  into   native
                                             plant communities.

                                             above: WED researcher conducts an analysis under black light


The long-term success of WED is due to its dedicated and highly capable workforce that
consists of over 70 federal employees. In addition, WED works with contract employees,
research collaborators, student interns and post-doctoral researchers to address priority
research needs of the agency.
                                                                              above: The future of-wild salmon in the
                                                                              Pacific Northwest remains the subject of
                                                                              ongoing research at WED.
Our scientific expertise is distributed among three research Branches:

                > Freshwater Ecology Branch
                • Developing new indicators and approaches to assess biological condition of freshwater resources
                • Developing new statistical survey designs to assess status and trends in biological condition of
                       aquatic resources
                • Developing understanding of headwater streams and isolated wetlands and how they contribute
                        to the biological condition of other aquatic resources
                • Characterizing and assessing ecoregions across the United States

                > Pacific Coastal Ecology Branch (Newport)
                • Developing models of the effects of stressors such nutrients, sediments, toxics, and non-native
                        species on estuarine species, habitats and ecosystem processes
                • Developing new indicators of ecological condition of estuarine and near-coastal environments
                • Developing approaches for evaluating the impacts of habitat alteration within estuarine systems

                >• Ecological Effects Branch

                • Developing tools to understand and predict effects of stressors on terrestrial ecosystem functions
                • Characterizing relationships between terrestrial ecological processes and aquatic ecosystem
                • Analyzing the effect of landscape patterns and pesticide applications on habitat quality for wildlife
                • Understanding risks to native plants associated with genetically engineered crops
  WED—Addressing New and  Emerging Information Needs
  Our disciplinary expertise allows us to be prepared to respond to new and emerging Agency needs effectively and
  efficiently. Among the many issues that can be addressed by our scientists, staff, and unique experimental facilities
  are the following:
              air pollution
                acid rain
            aquatic ecology
            climate change
          ecosystem modeling
       environmental monitoring
        environmental statistics
           estuarine ecology
                                               fisheries biology
                                                forest ecology
                                                lake ecology
                                              landscape ecology
                                           marine benthic ecology
                                              molecular ecology
     plant-soil studies
      plant toxicology
     seagrass biology
stable isotope applications
      stream ecology
     V water quality
     wetland eco ogy
  Contact Us:
  Western Ecology Division
  200 SW 35th Street
  Corvallis, OR 97333
  Phone: (541) 754-4600
                                  providing sound science for
                                environmental decision-making
           Visit our Website
         for more information: