• August 4th, 2017

Review of a CEA

Paper , Order, or Assignment Requirements

Using one of the CEA case studies presented in the Cumulative Effects Assessment Practitioners’ Guide, or a project that you’ve been following:

Identify the environmental resources that were impacted and summarize the CEA approach to assessing impacts on those resources. Use the Assessment Framework (3.1 in the Cumulative Effects Assessment Practitioners’ Guide) as an outline.

If you were the reviewer, do you see any problems, past, present, or future, that may have been missed?

Basic EIA Steps Tasks to complete for a CEA
1. Scoping • Identify regional issues of concern
• Select appropriate regional VECs
• Identify spatial and temporal boundaries
• Identify other actions that may affect the same VECs
• Identify potential impacts due to actions and possible effects
2. Analysis of Effects • Complete the collection of regional baseline data
• Assess effects of proposed action on selected VECs
• Assess effects of all selected actions on selected VECs
3. Identification of Mitigation • Recommend mitigation measures
4. Evaluation of Significance • Evaluate the significance of residual effects
• Compare results against thresholds or land use objectives and trends
5. Follow-up • Recommend regional monitoring and effect management
CEAs build on what has been learned and applied in EIA practice for many years. However, assessment practitioners need to know in what ways assessing cumulative effects are different. This Chapter of the Guide identifies and discusses unique tasks in CEAs for each of the five steps in a basic EIA framework (from CEAA 1994): Scoping, Analysis, Mitigation, Significance and Follow-up [Mitigation may also be identified after significance is evaluated; however, the interpretation of significance changes (both approaches have been suggested in the EIA literature as valid). In the order shown in the Framework (mitigation before significance), significance reflects residual effects. This approach implies that mitigation must be identified regardless of whether there is a significant effect. However, this is not always an onerous task as many mitigation measures are “standard” practice and often expected to be recommended by regulators. In the reverse order (significance before mitigation), the significance reflects the “worst-case” situation before mitigation is applied, and therefore provides an understanding of what may happen if mitigation fails or is not as effective as predicted. In recent practice, the former approach is more common (mitigation before significance), largely to better reflect the eventual outcome to decision makers under the assumption that mitigation is effective as described.] . This framework itemizes the typical steps followed by practitioners in completing EIAs. The information box below identifies each of the CEA tasks for these steps.
Ideally, all aspects of a CEA are done concurrently with the EIA, resulting in an assessment approach that makes no explicit distinction between the two “parts”. In practice, however, the substantive work in a CEA is often done after the initialidentification of effects have been completed in an EIA. In this way, the early identification of direct project effects “paves the way” for cumulative effects to be assessed. The Assessment Framework is suitable for assessing actions of any size. However, as discussed in Chapter 4, a scaled-down framework may be more suitable for assessing smaller actions (e.g., in screenings).

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