Ecological Risk Assessment
Ecological risk assessments (ERAs) are at the heart of many Windward projects. ERAs range greatly in size and scope: from small evaluations of individual properties, to assessments of products with uses that are being scrutinized, to large-scale, multi-year investigations of Superfund sites. The specific methods and expertise required to conduct useful and reliable ERAs are just as diverse. Windward is known for our ability to execute successful ERAs that reveal ways to cost-effectively enhance ecological services across a wide range of circumstances.
For smaller sites, Windward’s preferred approach is to uncover the specific issue(s) that will drive risk management decisions. Using that information, we design field or laboratory studies that use hard data to quickly get to the crux of the matter. We find this to be the most cost-effective way to help risk managers be confident in making decisions that will lead to cost-effective site closure. Large and complex sites and problems, on the other hand, generally require expertise in modeling and statistics, as well as patience, discipline, sharp communication skills, technical rigor, and the ability to “go deep” into ecological issues. All of these prerequisites are necessary to overcome the risk aversion that naturally accompanies complex, high-stakes ecological risk management decisions.