Ecological Risk Assessments

Ecological Risk Assessments (ERAs) involve the integration of a variety of environmental disciplines including environmental toxicology, environmental chemistry, and aquatic/terrestrial ecology. For over 20 years, GLEC researchers have conducted ERAs of wetlands, lakes, and streams for RCRA Corrective Action sites, Superfund Sites, and state monitored sites in Michigan, Ohio, and several other states.

For ERA studies, GLEC utlizes the multiple lines of evidence or triad approach, which integrates surface water/sediment toxicology and chemistry data with ecological and biological data. GLEC researchers also recognize that even though ERAs have a prescribed framework, consideration of sitespecific issues in study designs often contributes to more accurate and meaningful findings.

GLEC owns and operates a wide array of field sampling equipment for ERAs, including seven specialized sampling boats, Vibracore sediment samplers, and backpack and boat mounted electrofishing equipment. Our Michigan and Ohio aquatic toxicology laboratories are fully equipped to perform acute and chronic toxicity evaluations, bioassays, and biomonitoring of surface water, whole sediment, sediment elutriate, sediment porewater and single compounds using vertebrate and invertebrate test species. GLEC’s benthic and environmental chemistry laboratories round out our ability to manage all aspects of an ERA and deliver scientifically sound results.


GLEC operates one of only a few U.S. laboratories accredited for whole sediment toxicity testing. GLEC also maintains NELAP accreditation for chlorophyll and nutrient chemistry testing.


GLEC's Columbus, OH laboratory is ADEQ accredited for Acute Toxicity and Chronic Toxicity testing.



Great Lakes Environmental Center

739 Hastings Street
Traverse City, MI   49686

Phone: (231) 941-2230
Fax: (231) 941-2240