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News and Updates: General SETAC News

Sheila Reddy Receives the IEAM Best Paper Award

Tuesday, December 5, 2017  
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The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and Integrated Environmental Assessment (IEAM) recognized Sheila Reddy, The Nature Conservancy, with the IEAM Best Paper Award on 13 November at the SETAC North America 38th Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the article “Evaluating the Role of Coastal Habitats and Sea-Level Rise in Hurricane Risk Mitigation: An Ecological Economic Assessment Method and Application to a Business Decision.”

As Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have shown this year, natural hazards, and hurricanes in particular, can result in personal and financial devastation. Reddy and her co-authors developed a method to quantify and value coastal protection systems, such as marshes and levees, and showed that natural systems provide significant services to the public. Moreover, they developed a cost–benefit method that businesses can use to analyze the various options for mitigating the impacts from hurricanes. The work was applied to a Dow Chemical Company plant in Texas and shows that sea-level rise and habitat loss will increase flood heights and levee costs in the future. However, marshes in front of the levees may help maintain the coastline in the face of sea-level rise and help protect inland facilities against larger storms. Reddy and her colleagues were able to affix value to coastal protection, recreational use, the support to fisheries and wildlife species, and the public benefit of maintaining natural defenses, which are often harder to evaluate against the cost to build man-made defenses, such as levees. The study provides a replicable approach that businesses can use to incorporate these ecosystem service values into risk management.

Papers considered for this award are judged on their creativity or innovation and are expected to engage in the application of the work to decisions about risk, management or policy. The methods and measurements must be transparent, verifiable, reproducible, rigorous, reliable and relevant.

For more information about the SETAC North America 38th Annual Meeting visit To learn more about SETAC, visit

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SETAC is a not-for-profit, worldwide professional organization comprised of nearly 6,000 individuals and institutions in 100 countries dedicated to the study, analysis and solution of environmental problems, the management and regulation of natural resources, research and development and environmental education. SETAC’s mission is to support the development of principles and practices for protection, enhancement and management of sustainable environmental quality and ecosystem integrity.