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Use of Multicriteria Decision Analysis to Support Weight of Evidence Evaluation


Address correspondence to Igor Linkov, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 696 Virginia Rd., Concord, MA 01742, USA; tel: 6172339869; fax: 6016342263;


Weight of evidence (WOE) methods are key components of ecological and human health risk assessments. Most WOE applications rely on the qualitative integration of diverse lines of evidence (LOE) representing impact on ecological receptors and humans. Recent calls for transparency in assessments and justifiability of management decisions are pushing the community to consider quantitative methods for integrated risk assessment and management. This article compares and contrasts the type of information required for application of individual WOE techniques and the outcomes that they provide in ecological risk assessment and proposes a multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) framework for integrating individual LOE in support of management decisions. The use of quantitative WOE techniques is illustrated for a hypothetical but realistic case study of selecting remedial alternatives at a contaminated aquatic site. Use of formal MCDA does not necessarily eliminate biases and judgment calls necessary for selecting remedial alternatives, but allows for transparent evaluation and fusion of individual LOE. It also provides justifiable methods for selecting remedial alternatives consistent with stakeholder and decision-maker values.