Defining and Assessing Adverse Environmental Impact Symposium, 2001View this Special Issue
Use of Equivalent Loss Models Under Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act
Equivalent loss models encompass a variety of life table-based approaches that can be used to convert age- and life stage-specific estimates of entrainment and impingement loss to a common, easily understood currency. This common currency can be expressed in terms of numbers of individuals, yield to the fishery, or biomass to the ecosystem. These models have at least two key uses in the Section 316(b) assessment process: screening for adverse environmental impact (AEI) and determination of environmental benefits associated with intake alternatives. This paper reviews the various forms of equivalent loss models, their data input requirements, and their assumptions and limitations. In addition, it describes how these models can be used as a second-level screening tool as part of the assessment of the potential for AEI. Given their relative simplicity and ease of use, equivalent loss models should prove to be an important tool in the arsenal of impact assessment methods for Section 316(b).