crc  .  syllabi collection  .  alumni syllabi  .  environmental sciences and policy  .

   Course Title    Environmental Impact Assessment of Economic Projects
Lecturer    Sergey Govorushko
Institution    Vladivostok Pacific Institute of Geography
Country    Russia

I. Aim of the course

The aim of the course involves providing students with comprehensive theoretical knowledge of EIA for economic projects (contents, principles, implementation stages, EIA techniques, peculiarities of different kinds of environmental impacts, a character of hazardous natural process impacts of human activity, etc.) and some skills in EIA performance.

II. Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum

In recent years the demand is growing for experts who are capable of solving problems in the field of regional natural management (natural resource management, grounds for invested projects of natural management, environmental protection and restoration, etc.). In order to train such experts in field work, general and specialized lecture courses are needed. The course "Environmental Impact Assessment of Economic Projects" is an important component link in the curriculum system for this discipline.

III. Methods used

Low material provision reduces significantly possibilities for the application of various pedagogical techniques. Illustrations on transparencies are widely used when delivering lectures. The lectures themselves are not continuous monologue, rather, a feedback principle is used in the form of individual questions to the audience to stimulate their thinking. When holding a seminar devoted to EIA techniques, implementation of some large-scale practicable project is used as a model. The students are informed of the natural conditions of the territory, specifications of the project are provided and typical environmental impact of similar projects is described. Thereafter, each of the students is asked to implement EIA of this project himself applying some technique (for instance, the Leopold matrix). Once the matrixes are filled in, discussion of the results and their comparison with real consequences of implementing the project is conducted.

IY. Course content

The Curriculum is intended for 110 hours and involves the following chapters:

1. Theory and EIA management and legal principles (20 hrs)

2. Environmental impacts of economic activity (20 hrs)

3. Natural process impacts on economic activity (20 hrs)

4. Identification of the present state of the environment

and prediction of impacts (30 hrs)

5. Methods of EIA implementation (20 hrs)

Below, a syllabus and detailed content of the course of studies is provided.

Chapter 1. Environmental Impact Assessment (theory, management and legal principles)

Theme I. Introduction

The objectives and problems of the course, its place in the structure of the professional ecologist training, the course arrangement, the association of its content with other disciplines. The object field of the study, principal concepts and terms, the relationship among them. The relationship among different kinds of environmental activity in the process of developing, substantiating, making and realizing decisions’ environmental significance. The place and role of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) among them.

Theme 2. Definition of Environmental Impact Assessment

Objectives of EIA. Basic Principles (EIA must be Purposive, Rigorous, Practical, Relevant, Cost-effective, Efficient, Focused, Adaptive, Participative, Interdisciplinary, Credible, Integrated, Transparent, Systematic). Operating principles (The EIA process should provide for Screening, Scoping, Examination of alternative, Impact analysis, Mitigation and impact management, Evaluation of significance, Preparation of environmental impact statement (EIS) or report, Review of the EIS, Decision making, Follow up). Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Theme 3. Legal and standardized-methodical basis of EIA

The structure of Russian legislation in the area of EIA, the content of the Russian Federation’s basic laws regulating the activity involved.

The system of the instructive and standardized-methodological EIA documentation, its state and trends. Regulations, instructions, methodical and other directions, requirements approved by the government and appropriate agencies. Federal standards norms, regulations, orders, etc. International documents dealing with EIA (UN and EEC directives, engineering documents of UNEP, UNESCO, World Bank, etc.).

Theme 4. Information provision for EIA preparation, implementation and data processing

A method of expert assessment as a scientifically substantiated approach to EIA implementation and data processing. The elements of information and analytical provision for measuring. The quantitative and qualitative character of measuring environmental parameters. The basic measuring techniques applied in EIA (ranking, a direct assessment, direct, paired, step by step comparisons).

The evaluation of expert group heterogeneity. The termination of a factor of expert competence on a basis of self-assessment, mutual assessment techniques, etc. The expert number and competence dependence of EIA quality. Procedures of expert interrogation.

Theme 5. Environmental requirements in establishing and implementing EIA

General environmental requirements in locating, planning, building, reconstructing and operating enterprises and structures; taking into account ultimate safe loads on the environment, providing for reliable and efficient measures preventing and eliminating environmental pollution with injurious waste. Their neutralizing and utilizing, introduction of resource-saving, having little or no waste technology and production, environmental management and reproduction of natural resources, etc. Environmental requirements to enterprise building.

Theme 6. International experience in establishing and implementing EIA

International agreements and documents in the EIA area: "World Charter of Nature", "Objectives and Principles of Environmental Impact", "Brutland Legal Principles", "Bergen Statement", "UNECI Convention on EIA in a Transboundary Context", "EEC Directive # 337/85", etc.

Common features of EIA mechanism in developed countries. Availability of institutional legal norms in this area. Unity of purpose, similarity in types of assessed projects. Availability of specially authorized bodies. Similar features in a procedure of establishing and implementing.

EIA characteristics in developed countries. Main differences between European and North-American systems. EIA in the most advanced countries: the USA, Germany, France, Holland as well as in China and Brazil. Problems and perspectives of EIA in developed countries.

Chapter 2. Human Activity Impacts on Environment

Theme 1. Power engineering

Environmental impacts of hydraulic power engineering (variations in river run-offs regime below the dam; backwater; withdrawal of lands that results in immense social and economic consequences involving, mainly, compulsory migration; variation in hydrochemical, hydrologic and thermic regimes responsible for deterioration of fish spawning, fattening and wintering; reforming of banks; climatic changes in adjacent areas, etc.).

Atmospheric impacts of thermal power (expenditure of enormous amounts of oxygen and air pollution with ashes, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide). Impacts on surface waters (irreversible withdrawal and pollution with mineral salts, petroleum products, organic compounds, thermal pollution, etc.), soils (alienation of lands for basic structures, cooling ponds, ash dumps, pollution due to sedimentation of atmospheric emissions, dusting off the ash dump surface, etc.), wildlife (variations in species composition of aquatic fauna, prevention of fish mass destruction, etc.). The ways of decreasing adverse environmental impacts of thermal power stations.

Atomic power plant impacts in the construction phase (physical landscape transformation, cooling storage reservoir construction, noise pollution, etc.), operation (radioactive, thermal and chemical pollution of atmospheric air and surface waters) and conservation stage (radioactive pollution).

The impact of landscape and biochemical characteristics on radionuclide accumulation or dispersion. Methods of decrease in radioactive atmospheric pollution and procedures of radioactive wastewater purification.

Energy sources used in nontraditional power engineering: solar, wind, interior of the earth energy (thermal energy of hot rocks as well as of water and vapor in cavities and cracks), ocean energy (through utilization of energy from tides, sea waves, oceanic currents, salinity gradients, temperature gradient), biomass energy.

Characteristic features of nontraditional renewable energy sources (low specific density, difficulties in concentrating, irregularity of distribution throughout time and space, etc.). The elusiveness in the environmental purity of nontraditional energetic. Impact characteristics of each type on nontraditional energetic on natural components and parameters. Mitigation measures.

Theme 2. Chemical industry and metallurgy

Main types of chemical enterprises (petroleum processing complexes, plants producing fertilizers, pesticides, acids, synthetic fibers, plastic, coloring agents, etc.) and their environmental impacts. The most hazardous atmospheric pollutants (chlorine, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and trioxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrosulfide, hydrogen fluoride, etc.) and those of surface water (phenols, alcohol, resins, chlorides, sulfates, sodium, calcium). Purification procedures of atmospheric emissions and wastewater.

Main sources of environmental impacts in ferrous metallurgy (blast furnaces and open-hearth furnaces, converters, ferroalloy complexes, etching departments, blast-furnace slag granulating plants, etc.) and non-ferrous ones (sintering and roasting furnaces, electrolysisers, crushing and grinding equipment, etc.). Main atmospheric pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon oxide, gaseous fluorides and chlorides) and those of surface water (residues of flotation reagent – cyanides xanthoagents, petroleum products, etc.; ions of heavy metals, arsenic, mercury, antimony, etc.). Mitigation measures.

Theme 3. Machine manufacturing and building materials industry

Basic technological processes of machine-manufacturing works and their environmental impacts. Main atmospheric pollutants and basic methods for protection (improvement of technological processes, substitution of toxic solvents, use of dry powder paints, etc.). Main surface water pollutants and mitigation measures (circulating water supply, decrease in toxicant discharge, wastewater treatment – physical, physicochemical, chemical and electrochemical methods).

Main types of production in the building material industry. Basic technological processes resulting in pollution of natural components. Mitigation measures. Potentialities of beneficial environmental impacts of cement plants (the use of kiln dust for lime pretreatment of soils and neutralization of acidic water, the use of cement kilns for the purpose of eliminating hazardous waste, etc.).

Theme 4. Mining industry

Techniques of mineral resource mining. Main types of environmental impacts in open pit mining (pumping out the water beyond the quarry, blasting, ore mining, stockpiling waste rock), in underground mining (polluted mine water discharge, ore mining), in dredge mining (ore benefaction, productive rock bottom mining and washing), in underground and heap leaching (spillage of production solutions, pipeline leakage, partial washing and neutralization), in oil and gas recovery (accidental emissions during drilling). The most serious environmental consequences (land withdrawal, impacts on ichtiofauna, surface and ground waters, etc.). Mitigation measures.

Theme 5. Agriculture

Main factors of agricultural environmental impacts. Impacts of farm machinery (soil compaction, breaking up of its structure, extermination of soil-forming microorganisms and invertebrates, soil removal outside of the fields, extermination of wild animals and birds, etc.). Consequences of drainage systems (aggravation of wind and water erosion, shoaling of rivers and lakes, rise in flood danger, impoverishment of flora, etc.) and irrigation impacts (secondary salinization, underflooding and bogging of soils, suffusion and irrigation erosion). The impact of fertilizer application (fish and aqueous animal loss owing to enriching basins with bound nitrogen, basin eutrophication, etc.) and chemical agents of plant protection (atmospheric, surface water and soil pollution). Mitigation measures of agricultural impacts.

The most significant branches of animal husbandry from the viewpoint of environmental impacts (cattle and swine breeding, sheep raising, poultry farming). Primary environmental problems arising from stall care of animals (atmospheric pollution with ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, etc.; surface water impacts – eutrophication of basins, deterioration of nutritive base and fish habitat). Beneficial impacts of pasture animal husbandry (maintenance of ecosystem productivity due to placing manure into the soil, accelerating plant seed germination when passing through the gastrointestinal tract; and adverse impacts (soil degradation due to grazing).

Theme 6. Transport

Main environmental implications of different kinds of transport. Automobile transport impacts (atmospheric pollution with exhaust gases of engines, fuel evaporation, products of type attrition and products of roadway wear; surface water pollution with suspended solid particles, hydrocarbons, lead and zinc; change in immediate run-off when roads are built; bird and animal death, land alienation, etc.). Mitigation measures.

Railway transport impacts in building (quarrying and transporting the ballast, blasting and excavating, the use of building machinery, etc.) and operating (locomotives, cars, track and repair machines, various enterprises providing railway traffic). Main types of environmental impacts (atmospheric pollution due to leakage and evaporation of freight, blowing off dusty fractures when moving trains, solid particle and gas release by locomotives and railway enterprises; surface water impacts due to withdrawal and pollution; noise impacts, etc.). Mitigation measures.

The impacts of land pipeline construction (route clearing, application of insulation coating, pipe laying, trench filling-in, etc.) and underwater (trench excavation, fixing of pipes to the bottom with anchor devices, etc.). The impact of pipeline operation (pollution with pumped products, land alienation, difficulties in wildlife migration, provoking landslides, erosion process activation, etc.). Mitigation measures.

Environmental impacts of flying vehicles. Atmospheric pollution during the stop, taxing operation, approach and flight, noise impact. The impacts of air enterprises (surface water pollution – industrial and house wastewater, surface run-off from the territories of the air entities, noise and electromagnetic fields).

Main factors of environmental pollution when carrying cargoes (petroleum products, heaped-up and bulk cargoes, mineral fertilizers, iron ore, coal, bauxites, grain, phosphates) and establishing and operating infrastructure of water transport (dredging, building of ports and quays, locks and canals). Main causes of pollution when operating water transport (ballast and bilge way water release, accidents, trans-shipment operations, marine engine operation). Mitigation measures.

Theme 7. Power and communication lines, housing construction

Power line impacts at the construction stage (cutting the forest ride, laying the approach road, excavating for setting up supports, poles and transformer substations, wiring) and at the operation phase (the availability of the forest ride itself and power line, effect of electric fields, use of mechanical and physical techniques of vegetation extermination within the right of way, etc.). Beneficial impacts (an effect of the forest edge, increase in variety of habitats); and adverse impacts (impediments to travelling) impacts of the power line ride on wild animals. Power line impacts on birds (losses due to striking against supports and wires, current injuries), fish (electromagnetic dams on the way of movement), vegetation (ozone generation contributing to the forest extermination), air (change in dispersion and assimilation of adverse releases), etc. Mitigation measures.

Housing development impacts at the construction phase (extermination of the vegetation, transformation of the relief, compaction of the soil and its erosion, local increase in the run-off, noise impact) and at the operation phase (withdrawal of large amounts of water, wastes discharge – sewage, bath houses, burning up the trash, storage of consumer waste, deterioration of earth’s surface waterproofness due to asphalting, etc). Mitigation measures.

Theme 8. Recreation and military activity

Recreation activity impacts on various natural components: wildlife (a factor of anxiety, withdrawal of individuals in hunting and fishing, deterioration of habitats), soil and vegetation (destruction of shrub layer, after-growth and grass when travelling, cutting for making fires, soil compaction, etc.), surface water (pollution with petroleum products), ground and subsurface water (withdrawal of mineral water from the interior of the earth, discharge of used-up mud, etc.). Mitigation measures.

Environmental impacts of military activity during wars and peace (exercises, maneuvers, manufacture or elimination of weapons, war material equipment and ammunition). Various kinds of weapons (perforating, of mine type, chemical, bacteriological, radiological, nuclear) and their impacts. Environmental means of waging a war (destruction of dams and embankments, stimulating avalanche and landslide descending, starting forest fires, inner water infection, etc). Premeditated actions aimed at destroying the enemy’s natural environment. Mitigation measures.

Chapter 3. Natural Processes Impact on Economic Activity

Theme I. Disastrous geologic processes

Main seismic belts of the Earth. Main tectonic processes resulting in earthquakes: 1) movement of plates; 2) displacement along fractures, their examples. A group of factors causing destruction: 1) shaking as well as the following changes in ground properties (underground pushes, breaking of ground continuity, Earth surface subsidence, ground dilution); 2) origination of hazardous natural processes (tsunami, landslides, mud flows, avalanches, rockfalls, seiches, talus, etc.). Possibilities of predicting. Mitigation measures.

Volcanic processes resulting in disastrous consequences: 1) outbreak of the fragmental material; 2) outburst of the volcanic gas; 3) lava flows; 4) burning volcanic tugais; 5) volcanic mud flows. Examples of each process and its consequences. The ranking of the processes by the degree of their hazard. Mitigation measures.

Tsunami distribution by the oceans. The cause of tsunami: 1) earthquakes; 2) volcanic eruption; 3) rockfalls and landslides. Factors determining destructive strength of tsunami: 1) depth of the focus; 2) its size; 3) thickness of water layer; 4) earthquake strength or mass of collapsed rocks; 5) distance between the point of origin and the shore; 6) peculiarities of bottom relief; 7) configuration of the coastline. Examples of large-scale tsunami. Reasons for tsunami damage: 1) flooding as the level rises quickly; 2) dynamic load on structures; 3) blows by floating fragments; 4) soil washout at the foundations; 5) water level variation. Mitigation measures: 1) resettlement; 2) predicting; 3) tsunami – resistant structures; 4) protective structures.

Theme 2. Disastrous geomorphologic processes

Distribution of rockfalls, their mechanisms. Examples of the most large-scale rockfalls. Main economic objects exposed to them. Groups of measures to prevent rockfalls.

Types of avalanches (slumps, trough and jumping avalanches). Reasons for deaths by avalanches: 1) suffocation; 2) destruction of building, falling off the scarps, etc.; 3) shock; 4) hypothermia. The ways an avalanche impacts on economic objects: 1) striking impact of snow mass; 2) snow burying; 3) striking impact of air wave. Techniques for avalanche control: 1) safety measures; 2) change in slope surface; 3) man-made avalanche descent; 4) change in snow cover properties; 5) searching for people.

The special impacts of landslides. Speed of sliding, examples of landslides. Situations of landslide impact on structures: 1) an object is situated within the landslide block area; 2) a structure is below it. Directions of the control: 1) decrease in forces aimed at displacing the landslide block; 2) increase in forces resistant to its displacement. A group of anti-landslide measures.

Conditions of mud flow formation, their classification by composition: 1) mud-stone; 2) water-stone; 3) mud; 4) water-debris. Mudflow origin (seismic, precipitation, glacial, etc.). Protective measures: 1) institutional and economic arrangement; 2) agrotechnical; 3) hydrotechnical; 4) forest amelioration.

Theme 3. Disastrous meteorological processes

Cause of evolving tropical cyclones, their characteristics and distribution. Main factors of destructive effect: 1) wind; 2) turbulent movement of air particles; 3) low pressure in the cyclone eye; 4) precipitation. Active and passive protective measures from tropical cyclones.

Geography of spouts, their main characteristics. The reasons for spout damage: 1) side pressure and strikes; 2) whirl distributions; 3) explosive distributions 4) combined distributions. Examples of each kind of distribution.

Air-mass and frontal thunderstorms. Types of thunderstorm impacts: 1) electric discharges (lightning); 2) noise impacts (thunder); 3) turbulence; 4) short-term strengthening of wind (squalls); 5) hail; 6) precipitation; 7) supercooled moisture promoting airplane icing. Examples of different impacts. Mitigation measures.

The spread of droughts on the Earth, their categories. Drought impact on agriculture, electric power generation, river transportation, etc. Control measures against droughts (snow retention, man-made irrigation, etc.).

Geography of blizzards. Negative (complication in traffic operation, increase in snow loads on the roofs of buildings, etc.) and positive (increase in snow reserve, decrease in the depth of freezing, etc.) blizzard impacts. Blizzard control measures.

Theme 4. Disastrous hydrologic processes

The reasons for river flooding: 1) snow melting; 2) rainfall; 3) combined effect of snow melting and rainfall; 4) outbreak of dammed lakes; 5) destruction of dams; 6) glacier melting; 7) wind-induced surges in the river mouth; 8) ice dams; 9) ice jams. Examples of each type of flooding. Direct damage kinds: 1) damage of structures; 2) cattle and harvest loss; 3) annihilation of food products and raw materials, etc.; 4) evacuation expenses; 5) wash-out of fertile soil level. Indirect damage: 1) deterioration of life quality; 2) decrease in product output; 3) expenses for purchase and delivery of food products, building materials, etc.; 4) increase in costs for maintenance of buildings; 5) impossibility of the efficient use of the territory. Various control measures against river flooding and protection from them.

Geography of ice dams, their features. Rivers subjected to ice dam formation: 1) flowing from south to north; 2) having mountain upper courses lowland lower reaches; 3) having areas that differ greatly in terms of breakup. Main objects exposed to ice dams (hydroelectric stations, inhabited localities, wharves, bridges, etc.), control measures against ice dams. The mechanism of ice jam formation. More hazard of ice jam flooding as compared to ice dams, lesser readiness of control methods.

The reasons for sea flooding: 1) tsunami; 2) wind-induced surges. Geography of sea flooding. Factors determined of amount of water rising under surges: 1) wind strength and direction; 2) bottom gradient; 3) coast configuration; 4) temporary correlation with tidal cycles. Examples of the most large-scale sea flooding. Factors determining damage magnitude from them: 1) amount of maximum water rising; 2) duration of flooding; 3) rate of water level rising; 4) repetition frequency; 5) flooding terms. Limited possibilities of sea flooding control (as compared to river ones), their mostly passive character.

Icebergs and sea ice spreading obstacles to navigation, impacts on engineering structures (wharves, oil-gas platforms, etc.) The hazard of pulsating glaciers, their examples.

Theme 5. Disastrous biological processes.

The conditions promoting mass reproduction of agricultural pests and diseases of domestic animals. The examples being most known; mitigation measures. The reasons of epidemics, their examples, control techniques.

Bioinjuries (motor transport collisions with animals crossing roads, airplane and helicopter collisions with birds, short circuits in power-distributing systems, etc.). The features of bioinjuries, specific examples. Control techniques.

The attacks of predatory, poisonous and blood-sucking animals, their distribution. Their impact on human activity in different countries. Protection techniques.

Forest, peat, steppe and other fires resulting from natural causes. Geography of fires, their impact on human activity. The examples being most known: 335 forest fires due to lightning strikes in the forest of the states of Montana and Idaho on the 12th, July, 1940. Different techniques of mitigation measures. Fire control.

Theme 6. Non-disastrous geological processes

Karst and suffusion distribution on the Earth, their basic conditions: 1) availability of rocks soluble and subjected to washing-oil; 2) availability of running water; 3) possibility of water circulation. Surface and underground manifestation of karst and suffusion. Disastrous (collapses) and slow (subsidence) karst deformations. Anti-karst and anti-suffusion arrangements.

The spread of swamps and swamped areas. Swamping conditions: 1) excessive moistening; 2) most recent tectonic movements; 3) character of water and mineral nutrition; 4) the depth of developing the soil process, etc. Main types of swamp deposits (peat and peat-formation kinds) and their major properties. Measures mitigating negative impacts in building on swamplands.

The spread of heaving. Heaving impact on the economic object building and operation (pipelines, automobile roads and railways, airdromes, etc.). Geography of subsidence effects. Factors determining deformation intensity with them: 1) the extent of water saturation; 2) deposit porosity; 3) pressure value; 4) soluble salt quantity; 5) duration of moistening; 6) thickness of subsidence rocks. Control measures against subsidence: 1) protection of loess deposits from moistening; 2) transfer of the load onto underlying non-subsidence rocks; 4) elimination of ground subsidence properties.

The spread of permafrost and seasonally frozen ground. Cryogenic processes most significant for a man. The mechanism of developing processes. Main objects subjected to their impacts. Principles of building the structures under conditions of developing cryogenic processes: 1) gradual defrosting with retaining frozen rocks; 2) without retaining frozen ground. Three variants of realizing the second item: 1) gradual defrosting in the course of building and operating structures; 2) man-made defrosting before setting up an object; 3) substitution of frozen rocks with thawed rocks.

Theme 7. Non-disastrous geomorphologic processes

Necessary conditions for rock stream formation and basic processes morpho- lithogenesis: 1) slope displacement of fragments; 2) fine soil removal under rock stream; 3) ice transfer. Rock stream impact on engineering structures.

The spread of ice coating and their types. Main object exposed to their impacts: automobile roads and railway bridges, mining mills. Measures mitigating ice coating hazard: 1) prevention of ice coating formation; 2) destruction and removal of overflow ice; 3) transfer of objects to the safe places or by-pass of ice coating.

The spread of soil erosion. Main factors determining water erosion development: 1) precipitation; 2) slope characteristics; 3) vegetation. Types of water erosion: 1) gully erosion; 2) sheet erosion. Anti-erosion arrangements: 1) institutional and economic; 2) agrotechnical; 3) forest amelioration; 4) hydraulic engineering.

Geography of aeolian processes. Crucial wind speed for different soils. The ways of particle transfer under the effect of the wind: 1) rolling; 2) leaps; 3) transfer in suspension form. Implications for engineering structures when displacing barhhans and dunes. Contribution of wind erosion in the process of desertification. Control measures against wind erosion: 1) mechanical protection; 2) surface fixation; 3) soil blade cultivation; 4) band disposition of cultures.

The spread of abrasion. Main energy sources for bank destruction 1) energy of wind waves; 2) tidal waves. Mechanical, chemical and thermal abrasion, their mechanisms. Factors determining abrasion intensity: 1) rock firmness; 2) degree of exposing a basin; 3) wind direction; 4) depth of the near shore zone; 5) tidal regime; 6) climatic characteristics of the area. A group of protection techniques: 1) active or drift-retaining; 2) passive or wave-protecting.

Theme 8. Non-disastrous meteorological processes and effects

Types of activity most exposed: 1) transport; 2) building; 3) agriculture. Main kinds of precipitation: 1) rain; 2) snow; 3) hail. Kinds of rain: 1) continuous; 2) shower 3) drizzle. Positive (water storage, material for snow-ice roads, conditions for winter recreation) and negative (traffic complications, destruction of buildings). Snow impacts. Condition for hail formation. Main types of activity exposed to it: 1) agriculture; 2) air transport. Passive and active hail protection.

Atmospheric pressure and wind, their record values. Global (trades, monsoons) and local winds (breezes, focus, mountain and valley winds, etc.). Wind turbulence. The role of wind in spreading pests and plant and animal diseases. Wind impact on structures.

Factors impacting air temperature distribution: 1) latitude; 2) land and sea distribution; 3) regional variations (availability of snow and ice cover, ridges, etc,); 4) general atmospheric circulation. Significance of thermal regime for building, agriculture, traffic operation.

Solar radiation impact: 1) thermal; 2) light. Solar radiation importance for agriculture, recreational activity, energetic. Protection measures.

Cloudiness and humidity importance for different kinds of human activity. Spatial distribution of these characteristics. Fog hazard for air and water transport. Active and passive control techniques.

The role of different meteorological elements, combinations in human life. Sleet effect damage for different objects: 1) air transport 2) water transport 3) power lines; 4) pipes 5) masts. Glaze-ice, its impact on automobile transport and aviation. Importance of freezing rain.

Theme 9. Biological processes

Impact of level variations in internal-drainage basins on human activity, examples of those impacts in the history of mankind.

El-Nino effect, causes and consequences of its origin: 1) ceasing of nutrient supply from deep-seated layers that decreases zooplancton amount and results in reduction of fish and bird population; 2) global climatic changes.

Bioimpacts on shore structures within tidal zone: 1) mechanical damage by boring mollusks; 2) chemical impact due to acid formation in the course of metabolism.

Fouling of ships and piles of oil-gas platforms. Control measures. Bio-corrosion of pipelines caused by activity of sulfate-reducing bacteria. Bird impacts: accidents with power objects, damage of masonry due to the processes associated with decomposition and transformation of bird droppings. Mitigation measures.

Examples of unsuccessful settlement of new animal species (rabbits in Australia, goats in New Zealand and on the island of Madagascar). Implication and mitigation measures of unpremeditated introduction (malarial gnats in Brazil).

Theme 10. Prediction of natural processes and measures protection

Interrelation between natural processes, their types: 1) direct (when a process is a release mechanism of the other process); 2) indirect (providing conditions for proceeding the other process). Interrelation matrix - the estimation of frequency and proposed intensity of interrelation.

Spatial and time prediction of natural processes. Typification of predictions by territorial scope (global, regional, local) and time of proceeding (long-, medium-, short-term). Main groups of prediction techniques 1) empirical-statistical; 2) genetic.

The better readiness of hydro-meteorological forecasts as compared to predictions of geologic and geomorphologic processes. Comparative assessment of previous study degree, potentialities of prediction and protection from different natural processes.

Measures mitigating natural process impacts on human activity, their main groups: 1) preventive measures; 2) natural process management; 3) protection from them; 4) elimination of consequences from proceeding processes.

Classification of the techniques, specific examples of their application. Convention of boundaries between selected technique categories.

Chapter 4. Identification of the Present State of the Environment and Prediction of Impacts

Theme 1. Stages of EIA implementation

Stage 1. Identification of the existing state of the environment.

The inventory of the territorial natural resources. The need for performing: 1) available natural conditions themselves can be an impediment to the building and operation of the project; 2) the necessity of a reference point. The combination of natural factors required for the building and operation of various kinds of enterprises.

The indicators of the environmental original condition. The procedures for the quantitative assessment of the natural component condition, their classification, principles, advantages and disadvantages. The procedures for the qualitative assessment, possibilities for their use. The principles of sampling for various natural components.

Stage 2. Identification of the most significant factors for planning and taking them into account in the project.

The basis for picking them out: distinct indication of the character and intensity of environmental impact of the potential economic activity as well as identification of the most valuable natural objects in the territory (separate various natural components or their parts – some species of animals or plants, individual historic and archeological monuments, unique natural objects, etc.). The dependence of the volume and composition of natural component investigation on the character of the industrial activity within the adjacent area.

Stage 3. Impact prediction.

The need of taking into account available trends in natural environment change occurring without man’s interference (climatic variations, natural environmental cycles and successions, natural eutrophication of lakes, etc.). Two variations of prediction: 1) when the impact is not available; 2) when the impact is available. Physical, chemical, mechanical, biological impacts. The variations of the organism responses to the combined impacts of chemicals: 1) strengthening of the effect (synergism); 2) weakening of the effect; 3) independent action. Available prediction procedures: qualitative prediction (logical analysis, space and time analogies, expert assessment); 2) quantitative prediction (statistical and analytical methods).

Theme 2. Geological environment

Types of activity impacting geologic environment most of all: 1) extraction of mineral resources; 2) hydraulic engineering; 3) building of industrial plants and inhabited localities; 4) road building; 5) agriculture; 6) military activity, etc. Anthropogenic natural processes (subsidence due to pumping out the ground water, oil and gas recovery; karst-suffusion processes when draining mineral deposits, etc.). Differences in lithosphere volumes touched during human activity of various kinds.

Procedures for studying geologic environment. Aircosmic procedures (photo-, tele-, infrared, radiothermal, radiolocation, multispectrum surveys). Mining–tunneling and drilling works, dynamic and statistic probing. Geophysical procedures (electromagnetic, seismic, gravimetric, nuclear-physical).

Theme 3. Geomorphologic environment

Direct impacts on the relief: lowering of the earth surface marks (cuttings of the relief in connection with vertical planning when building the inhabited localities, transport, hydraulic and other structures; mineral open-cast mining, etc.); 2) raising (rock transportation when extracting minerals, hard sanitary and manufacturing waste, protection of lowland coasts from floods with built-up ground, etc.). Indirect impacts (relief-forming processes and events whose origination or intensification is determined by human activity).

Consequences of human activity impacts on the geomorphologic environment: 1) general leveling of the relief; 2) erasing of geomorphologic margins (escarps, terraces, etc.); 3) disappearance of natural microrelief and development of anthropogenic relief; 4) conversion of many of the negative forms on the relief (ravines, small flat bottom valleys, small stream valleys, etc.) in the buried state; 5) predominance of mark raising over relief lowering.

The variations of active interaction between economic projects and geomorphologic environment: 1) direct impact; 2) indirect impact; 3) direct hazard; 4) provoked hazard; 5) indirect hazard.

Conditionally continuous geomorphologic processes (yearly manifestation with season strengthening – erosion, abrasion, rock streams, etc.) and discontinuous ones (recurrent manifestation with predisposition to occurring in the particular season – avalanches, landslides, rockfalls, etc.) and procedures of studying their dynamics.

Theme 4. Atmospheric air

Natural atmospheric pollution sources (deflation, volcanic activity, fires, thunderstorms, etc.) and anthropogenic ones (thermal power engineering, metallurgy, chemical industry, automobile transport, military activity, etc.). The most hazardous pollutants (sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen chloride, sulfur anhydride, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide) and sources of their emission.

Processes of atmospheric self-purification: 1) sedimentation of solid particles; 2) washing out of particles with precipitation; 3) dissolving of some gases and solid particles in rain and fog drops; 4) dissolving of detrimental substances in surface basins; 5) dispersion of impurities.

Procedures and instruments for identifying meteorological characteristics. Procedures for assessing pollutant dispersion. Measures for mitigating industrial project atmospheric impacts: 1) technologic; 2) architectural-planning; 3) organization of the sanitary zone; 4) gas purification.

Theme 5. Soils

Processes of soil self-purification: 1) physical (dilution, filtration with water, etc.); 2) biological (metabolism, bio-concentration, biodegradation); 3) chemical (hydrolysis, reduction-oxidation, sorption, etc.). The most important properties of soil: 1) nutrient substance content (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc. content); 2) ion-exchange soil capacity; 3) infiltration and water retaining soil capacity; 4) aeration; 5) water environment response. Procedures for determining these properties (analytical, indicative). Procedures for predicting impacts: 1) qualitative; 2) ordinary quantitative; 3) specific quantitative. Measures for mitigating soil impacts.

Theme 6. Vegetation

Direct positive impacts: different kinds of phytoamelioration (afforestation, inhabited locality landscaping, shelter-belt forest planting). Direct negative impacts: forest cutting, forest flooding from water storages, forest fires, trampling of forest leaf litter and grass cover by people and animals, phytopathologic infections, etc.

Indirect negative impacts: deterioration of life activity conditions of plants due to atmospheric and soil, etc. pollution, man-made swamping, anthropogenic erosion, rise of ground water and extreme water drawdown. Indirect positive impacts: more favorable conditions for plant life (increase in soil fertility, improving of water regime, etc.).

Main groups of plants according to the character of their use: 1) food; 2) for technical use; 3) medical; 4) forage; 5) for fermentation use.

Main groups of techniques for determining vegetation state: 1) description of test and accounting areas; 2) description of geobotanical profiles; 3) chemical methods; 4) physiological methods; 5) statistic and mathematical method; 6) geobotanical mapping and zoning.

Vegetation protection techniques: 1) prohibition of using plants; 2) regulation for their use; 3) limitation of regulation impacts by decrease of anthropogenic press on other components; 4) vegetation protection by means of establishing reserves and other natural areas particularly protected; 5) compensating measures (afforestation, planting instead of plants removed, etc.); 6) plant introduction; 7) propaganda of plant protection.

Theme 7. The animal world

Basic characteristics: 1) numbers of animals; 2) density; 3) animal composition (sex, age, genotypical); 4) spatial structure (single individuals, colonies, families, areal lace); 5) migration and nomadic character; 6) intensity of breeding; 7) morphologic specific features.

Animal species in terms of environmental functions: plant pollinators (hundreds of insect species, birds – hummingbirds, mammals – some bat species of tropical latitudes), soil improvers (earth worms, mammals – burrowers and shrews), vectors of plant seeds (birds, mammals), vectors of fish roe (water fowl), regulators of harmful species (a series of predaceous insects), landscape transformers (ungulates, beavers, termites, marmots, etc.), corpse-earth, etc.

Techniques for determining numbers of animals. Procedures of accounting on the test areas: 1) accounting with running; 2) close round; 3) making a path; 4) game shooting.

Animal protection techniques: 1) bag prohibition; 2) bag regulation; 3) protection and improvement of animal life; 4) introduction; 5) breeding; 6) propaganda of animal protection.

Theme 8. Surface water

Direct impacts: 1) destruction of swamps, lakes, rivers, etc.; 2) surface run-off control (dams, channels, locks, etc.); 3) water withdrawal; 4) wastes discharge; 5) aerosol intake from atmosphere; 6) pollution with underwater mineral extraction; 7) establishing underwater structures and dumps; 8) intake of polluted rain and snow water.

Indirect impact: 1) forest cutting; 2) afforestation; 3) plowing up; 4) measures facilitating activation of soil erosion; 5) snow retention; 6) snow removal; 7) relief change; 8) man-made lowering of ground water level; 9) fertilizer and toxic chemical application; 10) Earth’s surface pollution; 11) loose floating; 12) anthropogenic eutrophication, etc.

The most widespread pollutants of surface water: fertilizers, pesticides, heavy metals and their salts, petroleum products, synthetic detergents and features in their behavior.

Assessment techniques of the existing state of the surface water: analytical, acrial and space photography, bioindication, etc. The main techniques of waste water treatment: 1) mechanical (removal of insoluble impurities – traps, settlers, etc.); 2) chemical (addition of reagents producing precipitation); 3) biological (the use of plants and microorganisms feeding on waste water substances).

Theme 9. Ground water

The results of human activity: 1) raising of water level; 2) lowering of water level; 3) ground water pollution. The reasons of raising: 1) building of reservoirs, ponds, channels, etc.; 2) ground water shrinkage; 3) oil deposit flooding; 4) water leakage (filter beds, water supply line, sewer system, etc.); 5) snow retention and making snow heaps; 6) man-made irrigation; 7) destruction of natural drains; 8) decrease in rock water conductivity under the effect of the static load; 9) barraging effect of underground structures; 10) moisture condensation under the buildings, etc. The reasons of lowering: 1) long-term pumping-out for the water supply; 2) utilization of mineral, thermal and service waters; 3) water draining when performing mining and construction works; 4) associated water withdrawal in oil recovery; 5) amelioration; 6) elimination of surface reservoirs; 7) industrial and civil engineering (the use of watertight covers, making of sewers, snow removal, etc.). The reason of the water level lowering may be both water withdrawal out of the depths and decrease of its inflow in aquifers layer.

Types of pollution: 1) chemical; 2) bacterial; 3) thermal; 4) radioactive. Dynamics of pollution and factors which determine it. Processes of ground water self -purification: 1) chemical and biochemical oxidation; 2) sorption; 3) ion exchange. Prediction of pollutant spreading, measures mitigating consequences of ground water impacts.

Theme 10. Radiation background

Sources of radioactive pollution: waste of atomic industry, accidental emissions of atomic power plants, precipitation falling out with nuclear explosions, thermal sources including those used for producing power and heating buildings, thermal coal power, phosphorous fertilizers (due to increased uranium concentration in phosphates), prospecting equipment as well as devices for medical diagnostic.

Types of ionizing radiation: 1) alpha-; 2) beta-; 3) gamma- and X-rays. Their characteristics and the extent of hazard. Sensitivity of living organisms to radiation. Somatic impacts (disturbances in physiology of irradiated specimens) and genetic ones (the effect on development and formation of sex cells).

Sampling techniques. Procedures of predicting changes in radiation situation (personal doses according to food chains, collective doses, irradiation prediction, etc.). Procedures of mitigation consequences (fixation of radionuclides with the organic substance resulting in insoluble complex formation, fixation with clay minerals, etc.).

Theme 11. Technogenous physical impacts

Types of noise depending on physical nature: 1) mechanical origin from vibration of machine and equipment surfaces; 2) aerodynamic origin caused by processes occurring in gases (vortex processes, pressure when bodies move in the air at great speed, escape of compressed air, steam or gas, etc.); 3) electromagnetic origin induced by oscillation of elements (a stator, a rotor, a core, a transformer, etc.) of electromechanical devices under the effect of variable magnetic fields; 4) hydrodynamic origin occurring due to processes evolving in liquids (water hammers, turbulence, cavitation, etc.).

Noise impacts on man and wildlife. Mitigation measures (lowering of the noise level in the source, in the way of spreading, in the noise receiver, etc.). Legal regulation of the noise level.

Thermal impacts on atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere, their examples. The peculiarities of impacts on basins (decrease in species diversity of algae and phytoplankton, reduction in average life of zooplankton, drop in oxygen, nitrogen and carbon contents) and its consequences.

Man-made (aerial high voltage power lines, metal heating plants, electric distribution substations, broadcast, telecast and radiolocation stations, specific means of communication, physiotherapeutic devices, household SHF-ovens, etc.) and natural (magnetic field of the Earth) sources of electromagnetic fields, their physiologic impacts on living organisms, possibility of the cumulative effect, mitigation measures.

Vibration sources: powerful energy-producing plants (engines, pumps, compressors), technological equipment with a shock effect (press, hammers, etc.), track vehicles (trains, trams, underground railway). Their consequences (irregular foundation settling of the point of destruction of building constructions, activation of landslides, solifluction). Two types of measuring systems: a seismograph and vibration meter. Protective measures.

Natural sources of infrasound (blowing round the structures, over water surface, etc., by high wind, etc.) and man-made ones (jet engines, turbines, aerodynamic installations ventilators, compressors, vibrating screens) consequences of impacts on living organisms.

Natural (dolphins, whales, bats, etc.) and man-made (ultrasonic generator, gas-turbine plants, etc.) sources of ultrasound. The impact of ultrasound on living organisms, facilities for lowering its level. Light impacts, mitigation measures.

Theme 12. Cultural environment

The conception of cultural environment (architecture, history, archeology and art heritage). The order of actions for assessing impacts. Procedures of performing archeological studies: conventional methods (excavations, field fixation and documentation, inventory of archeological materials, statistic analysis of facts and observations, various physical methods (magnetic, seismic and electro-reconnaissance, geoacoustic location, infrared photography, radioisotopic, paleomagnetic and thermoluminescent dating, spectroscopy, X-ray structural and X-ray spectral analysis, electronic and proton microsounding, activation by neutrons, charged particles and gamma-quanta, mass-spectrometry and electronic microscopy, etc.), aero- and satellite photography, various botanical (dendrochronology, palinological analysis, etc.), geochemical (the content of phosphates in soil, fluorine and organic substances in bones), palaeontologic methods.

Direct (flooding when erecting a reservoir, destruction when building, etc.) and indirect (due to change in natural component state when realizing a project) impacts. Irreplacibility of cultural resources. The most significant indirect impacts: atmospheric pollution with sulfur dioxide, acid rains, rising of ground water in the territory, man-made physical fields (vibration, heat, etc.).

Measures mitigating environmental impacts: 1) restrictions in the area of initiated building; 2) change in the project being built (reprofiling, reorientation, etc.); 3) repairing, reconstruction and restoration of monuments; 4) work aimed at preserving historic rarities within the area of a planned project and their maintenance; 5) documentation (drawing, photographs, historic facts) related to buildings and structures that are to be destroyed or eliminated; 6) removal of historic monuments; 7) salvage of information materials on archeology and architecture. Various examples of using measures of that kind.

Theme 13. Visual quality

The concept of visual quality. Visual impacts of different scope: 1) point when landscape is conserved but extraneous objects deteriorate its perception (power line supports, radar masts, gas and oil derricks, etc.); 2) line (automobile roads and railways, pipelines, forest ride, etc.); 3) area intrusion resulting in more serious disturbance of landscape; it may restrict visibility of picturesque objects (a mountain, valleys, waterfalls, seas, architecture heritage, etc.) or eliminate individual objects.

Atmospheric pollutant impacting air visibility and transparency: 1) emissions containing soot, smoke, dust, etc.; 2) gaseous sulfur compounds forming sulfate and sulfuric acid particles on reaction in atmosphere; 3) gaseous nitrogen compounds reacting with nitrate and nitric acid formation; 4) photochemical pollution for example, "Los Angeles smog" determined by formation of aerosols with particles of submicrometer sizes as a result of photochemical reactions.

Procedures for determining visual quality, prediction of impacts on visual resources. Mitigation measures: 1) choosing the color of paint for outsides of structures to match landscape best; 2) choosing proper building materials; 3) using architectural peculiarities to blend with landscape; 4) reusing materials of destroyed object in new structures; 5) using underground service lines (electricity, water, gas, sewage, etc.) when building projects; 6) setting up appropriate visual shields or barriers in the landscape; 7) setting up "green" zones around the project; 8) project planning and designing with regard to appropriate landscape.

Theme 14. Social and economic environment

Social (impact on everyday life quality of population) and economic (impact on financial state of society) impacts. Criteria of social and economic conditions. Basic techniques of obtaining information: 1) inquires; 2) observation; 3) analysis of documents; 4) expert assessments; 5) experiments; 6) various sociometric techniques, etc. Techniques of economic evaluation of environmental impacts. Main groups of the techniques. Specific examples of their application: 1) economic assessment of the erosion control project in the Hwang Ho River Basin – a market assessment of physical effects; 2) personal assessment of park and reserve cost in Kenya; 3) economic assessment of water quality in the state of Iowa – a technique of hedonic pricing. Various techniques of mitigating social and economic impacts.

Chapter 5. Methods of EIA implementation

Theme 1. General characteristics of techniques for implementing EIA

Classifications of the techniques devised by Duke et al. (1994), N. Lee (1973), R. Nichols and E. Human (1982), M.L. Warner (1973); principles employed in the classification. Consideration of the "ad hoc procedures" group of techniques. Brief characteristics of a technique conforming the value of the substitute, an adaptive assessment of EIA, techniques developed by R.T. Eckenrode and R.A. Lamanna.

Theme 2. Combined analyses of maps

Applicability of this group of techniques for projects with geographically exactly determined and concentrated impacts. Description of a technique developed by T.M. Krauskopf and D.K. Bunde. Detailed consideration of an overlapping map technique devised by I.L. McHarg (history of developing the technique, his book "Design with Nature"), selection of cartographed criteria depending on a type of linear structure such as pipelines, power lines, automobile roads and railways and so on and specific conditions within the area of projects realization.

Theme 3. Checklists

Brief characteristics for each category of checklists including discussion of examples for the techniques (the procedure of A.D. Little – a simple checklist; the computer system of environmental impacts – a descriptive checklist; the technique worked out by V.G. Adkins and D.Burke – a scaled checklist; Batelle technique – a checklist of scaling – weighing). Characteristics of the Batelle technique. Advantages (the possibility of comparing the alternative projects within each parameter, each category and impacted area) and disadvantages (inadequate consideration of social and economic factors and inflexibility regarding the application to projects of different types). The illustration of criterion functions for different parameters. Examples of EIA implementation by the Batelle technique.

Theme 4. Matrices

Principles of plotting the matrices (characteristics of a project and parameters of environment). The comparison of simple and stepped matrices. The importance of impact selection of the first order, difference between magnitude and importance of impacts. Advantages (possibility of the matrix expansion and narrowing) and shortcomings (inadequate consideration of social and economic factors). Examples of implementation with the use of the Leopold matrix.

Theme 5. Networks

The expansion of a matrix concept by the use of the "cause – state – effects" networks. Network advantages (the possibility of identifying the cumulative and indirect impacts) and disadvantages (suitability only for comparatively simple projects). Characteristics of the Sorensen network diagram. An example of EIA implementation with the use of this technique.

Theme 6. EIA implementation (a seminar)

The description of the present state of the environment within the area of project realization and brief information of the technology employed within this kind of enterprise. The prediction of potential changes of natural components including the explanation of direct and indirect, adverse and favorable, reversible and irreversible, etc. environmental impacts made by students. The selection of the most suitable technique for EIA of the project carried out by students. EIA implementation (filling in a matrix, formulating the cause and effect relationships and so on). Discussion of the results obtained.

6. Readings

The literature is chiefly provided in Russian as literature in foreign languages is quite deficient at local libraries.

A. Mandatory

  1. Environmental Impact Assessment (Principles and Procedures). Moscow.: Progress, 1983. 192 p.
  2. Govorushko S.M. Economic Activity Impact on Environment. Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 1999. 171 p.
  3. Govorushko S.M. Natural Processes Impact on Human Activity. Vladivostok:: Far East Branch RAS, 1999. 185 p.
  4. Geographic Grounds of EIA. Zlonkova T.V., Semenova L.A., Doncheva A.V. et al. Moscow: MSU Publishing House, 1885. 208 p.
  5. Li N. Environment Impact Assessment. A Training Quide. Moscow: Ecologic Education, 1995. 183 p.
  6. Foundations of Environment Impact Assessment / Dyakonov K.N., Zvonkova T.V., Linnik V.G. et al. Moscow: MSU Publishing House, 1992. 236 p.

B. Recomended

  1. EIA of economic development of the territory / Antipov A.N., Blanutza V.I., Govorushko S.M. et al. Novosibirsk: Nauka, 1992. 224 p.
  2. Permyakov R.S. Environment Impact Assessment. Moscow: PADS, 1996. 73 p.
  3. Goudie, Andrew. The Human Impact on the Natural Environment. 1997, 454 p.
  4. Allaby, Michael. Basics of Environmental Science.1996, 297 p.
  5. Goudie, Andrew & Viles, Heather. The Earth Transformed. An Introduction to Human Impacts on the Environment. 1997, 276 p.
  6. Methods of Environmental Impact Assessment. 1995, 377 p.
  7. Harrop, D. Owen & Nixon J. Ashley. Environmental Assessment in Practice. 1999, 219 p.


   crc  .  syllabi collection  .  alumni syllabi  .  environmental sciences and policy  .