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Assessing environmental contaminant threats to lands and biota managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

January 1, 1999

The Contaminant Assessment Process (CAP) is a standardized approach for documenting and assessing threats posed by environmental contaminants to lands and biota managed by the Department of the Interior (DOI). The Biomonitoring of Environmental Status and Trends (BEST) Program of the U.S. Geological Survey Biological Resources Division (USGS/BRD) developed the CAP cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) Division of Environmental Contaminants (DEC). The CAP involves two parts, a retrospective analysis, and if needed, field-sampling. The retrospective analysis documents the ecological characteristics, management goals, areas potentially vulnerable to hazardous substance spills, and habitats of importance for the DOI land unit of interest. In addition, contaminant transport pathways and sources (point and nonpoint) are identified and potentially contaminated areas delineated. The second part of the CAP involves developing field-sampling plans to confirm the presence or effects of contaminants identified in the retrospective analysis. Field-sampling deemed necessary to confirm contaminant issues on national wildlife refuges identified through the retrospective analyses of CAP is handled as part of DECs on- and off-refuge investigation programs.

By gathering and interpreting information, the CAP generates valuable insight regarding contaminant issues that may be affecting refuges. Findings from the CAP can help FWS stewards select options that reduce contaminant impacts on the habitats and species that they manage. Information synthesized through the CAP also contributes to the development of Comprehensive Conservation Plans mandated through the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. To insure that this information has the maximum benefit to the agency, DEC and the BEST Program jointly developed a data management system to support the CAP. This system facilitates information acquisition from remote sources and serves as a permanent data repository. Thus, the system documents CAP findings, enhances FWS's institutional memory, and supports informed management decisions.

This document is a user's guide, intended for use by FWS field biologists responsible for applying the retrospective analysis portion of the CAP to FWS national wildlife refuge lands and provides instructions for entering information into the data management system. This is the third revision of the original document written in 1993 by scientists of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

Publication Year 1999
Title Assessing environmental contaminant threats to lands and biota managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
DOI 10.3133/ofr99108
Authors James Coyle, Craig Moore, R. Sky Bristol, Mary G. Henry, Tim Hall, Tim Kubiak
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 99-108
Index ID ofr99108
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Core Science Analytics, Synthesis, and Libraries