The selection of appropriate assessment endpoints is a basic element of an ecological risk assessment, especially at regional or watershed scales. Because ecological services often are tied to specific species, the risk to populations is a critical endpoint and feature of ecological risk assessments. The first item is a discussion of the replacement of population-level risk assessment with the construct of a population-scale assessment endpoint. Next, the criteria that are currently used for assessment endpoints are reviewed and evaluated for utility in an ecological risk assessment. Following this examination, assessment endpoints from a number of regional-scale ecological risk assessments are compared. The outcome of this evaluation is that population-scale assessment endpoints are important expressions of the valued components of ecological structures. Finally, a few recommendations for the selection of assessment endpoints at a population scale are listed.
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Vol. 2 • No. 1