Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2004


To assist risk assessors at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS), a Geographic Information System (GIS) application was developed to provide relevant information about specific receptor species of resident wildlife that can be used for ecological risk assessment. Information was obtained from an extensive literature review of publications and reports on vertebrate- and contaminant- related research since 1954 and linked to a GIS. Although this GIS is a useful tool for risk assessors because the data quality is high, it does not describe the species’ site-wide spatial distribution or life history, which may be crucial when developing a risk assessment. Specific receptor species on the SRS were modeled to provide an estimate of an overall distribution (probability of being in an area). Each model is a stand-alone tool consisting of algorithms independent of the GIS data layers to which it is applied and therefore is dynamic and will respond to changes such as habitat disturbances and natural succession. This paper describes this modeling process and demonstrates how these resource selection models can then be used to produce spatially explicit exposure estimates. This approach is a template for other large federal facilities to establish a framework for site-specific risk assessments that use wildlife species as endpoints.

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