Terrestrial Ecological Evaluation Process
Definitions and Acronyms

Defined terms applicable to the terrestrial ecological process are provided below.  These terms are defined either in WAC 173-340-200 or in the section of the regulation in which they are used.  CAUTION: Unless the term is defined in WAC 173-340-200, the definition of the term may only apply to the section in which the term is defined.  Please refer to the applicable section noted at the end of the definition to determine the applicability of the definition.

Bioassay
"Bioassay" means a test procedure that measures the response of plants or animals, or their tissues, to hazardous substances present in the soil. 

BTEX
"BTEX" is an acronym that stands for the components present in gasoline - Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl benzene, and Xylene.

Commercial Property
"Commercial Property" means properties currently zoned for commercial or industrial property use and that are characterized by or are committed to traditional commercial or industrial property uses such as offices, retail and wholesale sales, professional services, consumer services, and warehousing.
[WAC 173-340-7490(3)(C)]

Contiguous undeveloped land
"Contiguous undeveloped land" means an area of undeveloped land that is not divided into smaller areas by highways, extensive paving or similar structures that are likely to reduce the potential use of the overall area by wildlife. Roads, sidewalks and other structures that are unlikely to reduce potential use of the area by wildlife shall not be considered to divide a contiguous area into smaller areas.
[WAC 173-340-7490(1)(c)(iii)]

Endangered Species
See Threatened or Endangered Species

Endangered Species Act
"The Endangered Species Act (ESA)"; 7 U.S.C. 136;16 U.S.C. 460 et seq. is federal legislation protecting threatened or endangered species. It provides a means to protect and conserve the ecosystems that threatened and endangered species live upon; establishes a program for the conservation of threatened and  endangered species;  and a method of achieving the purposes of the treaties and conventions to protect such species across political boundaries.  What are the threatened or endangered species in Washington state?

Industrial Property
"Industrial Property"  means properties that are or have been characterized by, or are to be committed to, traditional industrial uses such as processing or manufacturing of materials, marine terminal and transportation areas and facilities, fabrication, assembly, treatment, or distribution of manufactured products, or storage of bulk materials, that are either:
  Zoned for industrial use by a city or county conducting land use planning under chapter 36.70A RCW (Growth Management Act); or 
  For counties not planning under chapter 36.70A RCW (Growth Management Act) and the cities within them, zoned for industrial use and adjacent to properties currently used or designated for industrial purposes.

 See WAC 173-340-745 for additional criteria to determine if a land use not specifically listed in this definition would meet the requirement of "traditional industrial use" and for evaluating if a land use zoning category meets the requirement of being "zoned for industrial use."  [WAC 173-340-7490(2)(c)]

Institutional Controls
"Institutional Controls" means measures undertaken to limit or prohibit activities that may interfere with the integrity of an interim action or a cleanup action or result in exposure to hazardous substances at a site. They are designed to prevent or limit exposure to hazardous substances left in place at a site or to assure the effectiveness of the remedy.  For examples of institutional controls see WAC 173-340-440(1). [WAC 173-340-200]

LOAEL
 
"LOAEL" is the acronym used for "Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level" means the lowest concentration of a hazardous substance at which there is a statistically or biologically significant increase in the frequency or severity of an adverse effect between an exposed population and a control group.[WAC 173-340-200]

Native Vegetation
"Native Vegetation" means any plant community native to the state of Washington. The following sources shall be used in making this determination: Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington, J.F. Franklin and C.T. Dyrness, Oregon State University Press, 1988, and L.C. Hitchcock, C.L. Hitchcock, J.W. Thompson and A. Cronquist, 1955-1969, Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Charles Leo Hitchcock (5 volumes). Areas planted with native species for ornamental or landscaping purposes shall not be considered to be native vegetation. [WAC 173-340-7491(2)(c)(i)]

(Here's a link to the Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library to borrow a copy of Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington, J.F. Franklin and C.T. Dyrness, Oregon State University Press, 1988, or you may purchase it through your favorite bookseller.  Here's an additional link to a useful online Field Guide to Selected Rare Plants of Washington developed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' Natural Heritage Program (WNHP) and the Spokane District of the U.S.D.I. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which contains fact sheets for 139 vascular plant species and one lichen species.
Natural Background
"Natural Background" means the concentration of hazardous substance consistently present in the environment that has not been influenced by localized human activities.  For example, several metals and radionuclides naturally occur in the bedrock, sediments, and soils of Washington state due solely to geologic processes that formed these materials and the concentration of these hazardous substances would be considered natural background.  Also, low concentrations of some particularly persistent organic compounds such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can be found in surficial soils and sediment throughout much of the state due to global distribution of these hazardous substances.  These low concentrations would be considered natural background.  Similarly, concentrations of various radionuclides that are present at low concentrations throughout the state due to global distribution of fallout from bomb testing and nuclear accidents would be considered natural background. [WAC 173-340-200]

NOAEL
"NOAEL" is the acronym used for "No Observed Adverse Effect Level". It means the highest exposure level at which there are no statistically or biologically significant increases in frequency or severity of adverse effects between the exposed population and its appropriate control; some effects may be produced at this level, but they are not considered to be adverse, nor precursors to specific adverse effects. [WAC 173-340-200]

Semi-Native Vegetation
"Semi-Native Vegetation" means a plant community that includes at least some vascular plant species native to the state of Washington. The following shall not be considered semi-native vegetation: Areas planted for ornamental or landscaping purposes, cultivated crops, and areas significantly disturbed and predominantly covered by noxious, introduced plant species or weeds (e.g., Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberry or knap-weed). [WAC 173-340-7491(2)(c)(ii)]

Sensitive Environment
"Sensitive Environment" means an area of particular environmental value, where a release could pose a greater threat than in other areas including: Wetlands; critical habitat for endangered or threatened species; national or state wildlife refuge; critical habitat, breeding or feeding area for fish or shellfish; wild or scenic river; rookery; riparian area; big game winter range.  [WAC 173-340-200]

Significant Adverse Effect
For species protected under the Endangered Species Act or other applicable laws that extend protection to individuals of a species: "Significant Adverse Effect" means an impact that would significantly disrupt normal behavior patterns that include, but are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering.
For all other species: "Significant Adverse Effect" means effects that impair reproduction, growth, or survival.
 
Soil
"Soil" means a mixture of organic and inorganic solids, air, water, and biota that exists on the earth's surface above bedrock, including materials of anthropogenic sources such as slag, sludge, etc.  [WAC 173-340-200]

Soil Biota
"Soil Biota" means invertebrate multicellular animals that live in the soil or in close contact with the soil. [WAC 173-340-200]

Successional
"Successional" refers to the process of ecosystem development as brought about by changes in the populations of species that results in the creation of a geographic region with particular characteristics. Early successional refers to species that tend to more quickly give way to other species (weeds, nonnative varieties, etc.), typically representing lower quality habitat.  Late-successional refers to more persistent species, and tend to be associated with higher value habitat.

TEE
"TEE" is the acronym for "Terrestrial Ecological Evaluation".

Terrestrial Ecological Receptors
"Terrestrial Ecological Receptors" means plants and animals that live primarily or entirely on the land. [WAC 173-340-200]

Threatened or Endangered Species
"Threatened or endangered species" means species listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act 16 U.S.C. Section 1533, or classified as threatened or endangered by the state fish and wildlife commission under WAC 232-12-011(1) and 232-12-014. [WAC 173-340-200]
What are the threatened or endangered species in Washington state?

Undeveloped Land
"Undeveloped Land" means land that is not covered by buildings, roads, paved areas or other barriers that would prevent wildlife from feeding on plants, earthworms, insects or other food in or on the soil. [WAC 173-340-7491(1)(c)(iii)]

Wildlife
"Wildlife" means any nonhuman vertebrate animal other than fish. [WAC 173-340-200]

 

Please contact David Sternberg if you have any questions or comments about the TEE web pages.

 

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