&EPA
United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Health and Environmental
Effects Research Laboratory
200 SW35th Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97333
Hatfield Marine Science Ctr., Newport, Oregon 97365
www.epa.gov/wed
EPA/600/F-05/009
                            WESTERN  ECOLOGY  DIVISION
Meeting Information Needs for the EPA and the Nation
   The Western Ecology Division (WED) is part of the National Health and Environmental
Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL). WED scientists provide information to EPA offices and
regions nationwide to improve our understanding of how human activities affect estuarine, fresh-
water, and terrestrial ecosystems. The Division has disciplinary expertise to address a broad range
of ecological issues in an interdisciplinary manner. Our scientists regularly collaborate with
scientists in other EPA research labs across the country. Co-location of EPA scientists with other
research programs in Corvallis and Newport, such as those at Oregon State University, USDA
Forest Service, USGS Biological Resources Division, NOAA Fisheries, and others, has greatly
enhanced our collective capabilities.

Our Information Has Contributed to Environmental Improvements
   Past research programs at WED have influenced environmental policy in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
Early work on nutrient enrichment of natural waters, also known as eutrophication, led the Office of Water to improve
surface water quality standards. WED scientists led efforts in acid rain research that influenced policies and regulations
restricting air pollutants in the U.S. Studying the effects of ozone on  terrestrial ecosystems led the Office of Air to
undertake changes in regulations. WED scientists have developed ecological survey techniques for assessing the condi-
tion of aquatic ecosystems that are used nationally. Wetland assessments have helped define new federal policy on
compensatory wetland mitigation. Research at WED has contributed  to better tools for pesticide risk assessments for
protection of wildlife and their habitats.

WED Scientists Continue to be  Leaders in Environmental Research
   Research at WED continues a long tradition of developing relevant  information to meet Agency and national needs.
Current work focuses on meeting information needs for the Offices of Water and Pesticides as well as information requested
by Regional EPA Offices to benefit the citizens of their respective States throughout the U.S. :
 Assessing the  condition of the Nation's waters. WED scientists have developed innova-
tive approaches to  accurately assess and monitor the condition of U.S.  waters. Federal and State
agencies charged with maintaining clean water under the Clean Water Act rely heavily on the
information generated using these techniques developed by the Environmental Monitoring and
Assessment Program (EMAP) at WED. Efforts are under way to implement and improve these
techniques for both coastal and freshwater environments in the U.S..
 Evaluating habitat requirements of coastal salmon. We are identifying the most
important characteristics of streams and landscapes that must be protected or restored to improve
spawning and rearing habitat for at-risk populations of coho salmon and other aquatic species.
 Assessing the  risks of pesticide use to crops, native plants, and wildlife. New,
innovative GIS and modeling techniques are being developed by WED scientists to support EPA's
Office of Pesticide programs' valuations of environmental risks from pesticide use nationwide.
These techniques will allow EPA regulators to more fully assess individual and cumulative risks
that chemicals pose to a broad spectrum of plant and animal species. These techniques also show
great promise for assessing the potential impacts of other stressors on the population viability of
key wildlife species and key ecosystem processes.
 Determining the impacts of nutrients on freshwater and estuarine ecosystems.
Nutrients coming into streams, rivers and estuaries can have both positive and negative effects on
aquatic life and use of those waters by humans. By more fully understanding complex relation-
ships of nutrient and food web dynamics, WED scientists are providing Regional Offices and the Office of Water with
information that can help guide management of excess nutrients coming into our nation's waters.
 Assessing risks of genetically engineered crops to native plants. Recent concern overuse of genetically modified
crops has resulted in increased efforts to understand the potential risks  of movement of genetically altered materials into
native plant communities. As the use of genetic engineering increases in agricultural enterprises, this work will be key to
guiding the development and application of these new organisms.

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WED's Capabilities
   The long-term success of WED is due to its dedicated and highly capable workforce that consists of over 80 federal
employees and over 100 contract employees. In addition, WED is very active in employment of student interns and post-
doctoral researchers to ensure that the next generation of environmental scientists can learn from our senior scientists.
Our scientific expertise is distributed among four research Branches, with a diversity of expertise addressing a number of
contemporary issues facing the Agency:
Aquatic Monitoring & Bioassessment Branch
  Developing statistical approaches to assessing the status and trends of environmental conditions at various scales.
  Developing statistical sampling methods and new approaches to spatial analyses.
  Developing new approaches to assessing the biological conditions of freshwater resources
  Characterizing and assessing ecoregions across the country.
Pacific Coastal Ecology Branch (Newport)
  Assessing the effects of ecosystem stressors such as nutrients, sediments, pollutants, and exotic species on estuarine
 species, habitats and food webs.
  Documenting the condition of estuarine habitats and their use by indigenous fish and shellfish.
  Assessing the biological condition of estuarine and nearshore marine environments.
Risk Characterization Branch
  Developing tools to understand and predict effects of stressors on terrestrial ecosystem functions.
  Characterizing the relationship between terrestrial ecological processes and aquatic ecosystem conditions.
  Analyzing the effect of landscape patterns and pesticide applications on habitat quality for wildlife.
  Understanding risks to native plants associated with genetically engineered crops.
Watershed Ecology Branch
  Identifying key characteristics important to recovery of coastal streams as habitat for salmon and other fish.
  Understanding and predicting the effects of stressors on linkages between terrestrial  and aquatic systems of watersheds.
  Documenting watershed processes to inform terrestrial, freshwater and whole watershed models.

WED - Capable of 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. Issues that arise  in any of the following areas can be addressed by our scientists, staff and unique
experimental facilities:
  Air pollution
  Acid rain
  Aquatic ecology
  Alternative futures analysis
  Benthic ecology
  Biodiversity conservation
  Biostatistics
  Biogeochemistry
  Climate change
  Ecosystem modeling
  Ecological sustainability
  Environmental chemistry
  Environmental engineering
Environmental monitoring
Estuarine ecology
Fisheries biology
Forest ecology
Geographic information systems
Hydrology
Infectious diseases
Landscape ecology
Limnology
Microbial ecology
Molecular ecology
Marine ecology
Nutrient dynamics
Oceanography
Plant-soil relationships
Plant toxicology
Riparian ecology
Risk assessment
Seagrass biology & ecology
Sediment chemistry & toxicology
Soil processes
Spatial statistics and analysis
Stable isotope analysis
Stream ecology
Systems ecology & modeling
Water quality
Wetland ecology
Wildlife biology & toxicology
WED - Building scientific foundations for sound environmental decisions
   Contact Us:
   Western Ecology Division
   200 S.W. 35th Street
   Corvallis, Oregon 97333
   Phone: 541-754-4600
                                       Or visit our Website for
                                       more information about us:
                                       www.epa.gov/wed

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