Welcome to the first issue of Research Park Notes! Look for tidbits of information on National Environmental Research Park activities, observations, and users every couple of weeks. To provide newsletter input, request additional information, make comments, or add/delete mailing list names, contact the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Area Manager, Pat Parr.
Carbon-Isotope Cycling Research - Paul Hanson, Environmental Sciences Division
Researchers are collecting unique isotopically-enriched leaves. Hundreds of tarps covering approximately 1.1 ha (2.8 acres) have been laid out at key locations on the reservation to collect leaves from the 2000 canopy as part of a study to take advantage of enriched levels of 14C noted across the Oak Ridge Reservation in 1999. The leaf collection is part of a proposed long-term study led by Paul Hanson, Phillip Jardine, Mac Post, Chuck Garten, Pat Mulholland, and Mac Callaham of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Environmental Sciences Division with cooperation from investigators at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of California--Irvine. When funded, the proposed Enriched Background Isotope Study will exploit the unique whole-ecosystem 14C enrichment to study the soil carbon cycling processes important to understanding the ability of soils to act as a sink for atmospheric greenhouse gases.
Wildlife - Warren Webb, Oak Ridge Reservation Wildlife Manager
Deer hunts were initiated on the Oak Ridge Reservation in 1984 due to safety concerns related to the high number of deer/vehicle collisions (they had reached almost 300 a year). A total of 138 deer were harvested during the first hunt of the year for the Oak Ridge Reservation held on October 14-15. The total numbers for the weekend were: bucks 77 (55.8%) and does 61 (44.2%), for a total of 138 deer harvested. For current deer hunt information, check the website at: http://www.ornl.gov/rmal/huntinfo.htm.
Forest Management - Dennis Bradburn, Oak Ridge Reservation Forester
Gypsy Moths - The "2000 County Summary of Male Gypsy Moth Catches" has been released by the state. None were found in traps on the Oak Ridge Reservation.
Wildland Fire Safety - DOE Headquarters had a team in Oak Ridge the week of November 6 to review wildland fire safety planning for the Oak Ridge Reservation. Recent fires at DOE facilities out west, as well as dry conditions in this area, have highlighted the need for a careful review of preparedness. Nice to see the rain....
Native Grasses - Meredith Clebsch (Native Gardens, Greenback) collected native grass seed on the Oak Ridge Reservation during the mid- to end of October. Interest has been “growing” with respect to increasing use of native grasses (particularly a local genotype) in restoration and landscaping efforts on the reservation.
Barrens - Dr. Hal DeSelm (professor emeritus, University of Tennessee) met with Dr. Jake Weltzin (University of Tennessee), Larry Pounds (ORNL botanical consultant), Meredith Clebsch, and Pat Parr for a site visit at the end of October at the Raccoon Creek Barren on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Species present and management options were discussed for this excellent example of cedar barrens.
Exotic Pest Plants - Pat Parr attended a board meeting of the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council at Arnold Engineering Development Center. The Council is finalizing an invasive plant list for Tennessee and focusing on ways to get out useful information in the state on non-native invasives. University of Tennessee student, Sara Drake, is working on finalizing a report using a USGS model to rank exotic, invasive plant species on the Oak Ridge Reservation. This will be used in developing management priorities.
Community Observations - Dev Joslin, avid birdwatcher and member of Tennessee Ornithological Society, sent a note that he has discovered a new colony of brown-headed nuthatches on the Oak Ridge Reservation at a swamp area along Bear Creek Road.
The draft Oak Ridge National Laboratory Land and Facility Plan is now out for review. It includes current and planned future uses of the reservation land area (research is a large component), as well as the strategic facilities revitalization planning for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Stakeholder comments are welcomed.
DOE has released a draft environmental assessment on a floodplain strip of DOE land (about 5 miles) adjoining the Boeing property. In February, DOE released a draft environmental assessment on the proposed leasing of Parcel ED3 for development. The comment period has been extended through November 30, 2000. Contact the DOE Public Reading Room (8652414780) for copies or directions to the room.
Pat Parr, Linda Mann (ORNL, Environmental Sciences Division), and Brian Bowen (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Natural Areas Administrator) collaborated on an article in the September/October issue of The Tennessee Conservationist entitled “Uncommon Ground: The Oak Ridge Reservation.”
The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated by the Department of Energy in 1980 and is one of a network of seven National Environmental Research Parks. It is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory User Facility. The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated an international biosphere reserve in 1989. It is also a unit member of the Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve and part of the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB) Cooperative. More information on the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park can be found on the website at: http://www.esd.ornl.gov/facilities/nerp/.