Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA)

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EPA's Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) program is an approach to regional scale, priority-setting assessment being developed by EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD). ReVA will expand cooperation among the laboratories and centers of ORD, by integrating research on human and environmental health, ecorestoration, landscape analysis, regional exposure and process modeling, problem formulation, and ecological risk guidelines.

These are a few of the areas evaluated to make a regional vulnerability assessment.

  • Invasive Species - Invasive species can alter the structure, composition and function of ecosystems. Invasive species become weeds in both altered environments and natural ecosystems, displacing native flora. Kudzu, shown to the left, is a well known example of an invasive nonindigenous plant. It was originally planted in some parts of the southeastern United States as a means to prevent erosion. The fast-growing vine climbs over other plants (including natives) and kills them. Its tuberous root habit makes eradication of this species difficult.
  • Resources Extraction - This photo shows a clear cut. In a clear-cut, all the trees in a stand are removed. Clearcutting is economically compelling because many trees can be removed quickly. However, clearcutting results in severe ecological damage and poses a threat to wildlife and water quality. Other examples of resource extraction are mining, quarrying and well drilling.
  • Land Use Change - Land use change has become an environmental concern across the country, as residential developments and strip malls rapidly replace former fields and forest. It is frequently blamed for a variety of social and environmental ills including traffic congestion, wildlife habitat destruction, and water and air pollution.
  • Pollutants & Pollution - Air pollution, for example, was perceived as a local problem in urban industrialized areas, hence taller smoke-stacks for industries and power plants were a ready solution. However, taller stacks merely transported the problem elsewhere and soon regional problems such as acid rain were recognized.