The system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.

Ecosystem Management

The careful and skillful use of ecological, economic, social, and managerial principles in managing ecosystems to produce, restore, or sustain ecosystem integrity and desired uses, products, and services over the long term.


Environmental Protection Agency


The wearing away of land surface by water or wind which occurs naturally from weather or runoff, but is often intensified by human activities.




Habitats, particularly soils and water, that are rich in nutrients and plant growth. Eutrophic waters generally have high sedimentation at their bottoms. The lower levels of eutrophic waters have very low levels of dissolved oxygen.


The aging process by which lakes, estuaries, or water bodies are fertilized with nutrients. Natural eutrophication changes the character of a lake or water body, very gradually. Cultural eutrophication is the accelerated aging of a lake or water body resulting from human activities. The process by which nutrients increase in the water body, increasing algal growth. Then as algal blooms die off and fall to the bottom, their decay depletes the water body of dissolved oxygen, which in turn reduces the ability of the water body to support fish and other aquatic life.


The total loss of water to the atmosphere by evaporation from land and water surface and by transpiration from plants.

Exotic (or invasive) Species

An organism that is out of its naturally occurring range and environment, and occupying the habitat of native species.