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Course description

Suzanne Simard and Trish Miller present: Using the Triad Approach for Terrestrial Ecological Risk Assessments

How many times have you calculated unacceptable risks to soil invertebrates and plants using standards or ECx, when a habitat or site inspection reveals an apparently healthy plant community? We know that the lower trophic level receptors are important receptors, as they typically have the greatest exposure and they form the foundation of the ecosystem. However, commonly used methods are frequently inadequate to determine what the impacts of contaminants are. In this presentation, we will discuss the application of an adaptive approach to terrestrial risk assessments where we have taken a triad approach, similar to what is commonly used for sediment quality risk assessments, incorporating basic ecology with chemistry and toxicity testing, to provide a strong assessment of risks to lower trophic level receptors.

We will describe how the approach evolved using examples from four contaminated sites we have applied this to, and our ideas for other sites we think this will be helpful for.

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Reviews (1)

by Kyle McCrea

by Kyle McCrea

Dr. Suzanne Simard and Trish Miller

Dr. Suzanne Simard and Trish Miller

Suzanne Simard, PhD, RPF is a Professor at UBC, where she studies the synergies and complexities of forests and the development of sustainable land stewardship practices. Her research centers on understanding the vital relationships between plants, microbes, soils, carbon, nutrients and water that underlie the adaptability and resilience of ecosystems.  She is known for her work on belowground fungal networks that connect trees and facilitate interplant communication.  


Trish Miller is an Associate and Senior Toxicologist/Risk Assessor at Golder Associates. She has over 18 years’ experience conducting human health and ecological risk assessment investigation including senior technical review of sampling plans, integrating objectives and data requirements of RA into work plans and site investigations, review of toxicology testing programs for ecological assessments, coordinating data analysis, developing site-specific remediation standards, liaising with clients, and reporting. She has managed and directed many HHRA and ERA of complex sites, including RA and remediation programs for large-scale diesel contamination in remote northern communities.Trish has also developed provincial matrix standards and water quality guidelines, and derived numerous site-specific risk-based soil, groundwater, and surface water standards. Trish has conducted workshops for corporate environmental managers on the advantages of RA for contaminated site remediation and on general principles and procedures involved in the conduct of RA. Trish was appointed to the Society of Contaminated Sites Approved Professionals of BC as a Risk Assessment Specialist.

Course Contents

1 Video

1 Disqus

0.5 hrs

Course Curriculum

Terrestrial Risk Assessment Triad
46:03