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Implementation of the CREED approach for environmental assessments

March 1, 2024

Environmental exposure data are a key component of chemical and ecological assessments, supporting and guiding environmental management decisions and regulations. Measures taken to protect the environment based on exposure data can have social and economic implications. Flawed information may lead to measures being taken in the wrong place or to important action not being taken. Although the advantages of harmonizing evaluation methods have been demonstrated for hazard information, no comparable approach is established for exposure data evaluation. The goal of Criteria for Reporting and Evaluating Exposure Datasets (CREED) is to improve the transparency and consistency with which exposure data are evaluated regarding usability in environmental assessments. Here, we describe the synthesis of the CREED process, and propose methods and tools to summarize and interpret the outcomes of the data usability evaluation in support of decision-making and communication. The CREED outcome includes a summary that reports any key gaps or shortcomings in the reliability (data quality) and relevance (fitness for purpose) of the data being considered. The approach has been implemented in a workbook template (provided as Supporting Information), for assessors to readily follow the workflow and create a report card for any given dataset. The report card communicates the outcome of the CREED evaluation and summarizes important dataset attributes, providing a concise reference pertaining to the dataset usability for a specified purpose and documenting data limitations that may restrict data use or increase environmental assessment uncertainty. The application of CREED is demonstrated through three case studies, which also were used during beta testing of the methodology. As experience with the CREED approach application develops, further improvements may be identified and incorporated into the framework. Such development is to be encouraged in the interest of better science and decision-making, and to make environmental monitoring and assessment more cost-effective. 

Publication Year 2024
Title Implementation of the CREED approach for environmental assessments
DOI 10.1002/ieam.4909
Authors Carolina Di Paolo, Irene Bramke, Jenny Stauber, Caroline Whalley, Ryan R. Otter, Yves Verhaegen, Lisa H. Nowell, Adam C. Ryan
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Index ID 70251870
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center