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Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park

Research Park Notes
Issue 11, April 17, 2001

Welcome to 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.

PARK RESEARCH AND USERS

Does Your Ecosystem Need a Personal Trainer? - Mark Bevelhimer, Environmental Sciences Division, ORNL

“Although I am leery to stretch the human health/ecosystem health analogy too far, it struck me recently that, while we recognize that the health of both humans and ecosystems rely on a balanced diet (e.g., nutrient cycling, trophic dynamics, etc.) and a reduction of external stressors, we rarely consider the importance of regular exercise when it comes to ecosystems. I think we could define characteristics that describe a "fit" ecosystem (e.g., biodiversity), but from a management perspective, do we consider whether there are "exercises" that would make a system more fit and therefore more resistant to stress? For example, due to flow control, the tailwaters below many dams have experienced reduced variation (either daily or seasonally) in flow and temperature. In particular, dams reduce the frequency of extreme events such as floods and droughts. These extreme events, though, may be the "exercises" that keep the system fit and make it less susceptible and more resilient to stressors. The ultimate question might be this: As resource managers, in addition to trying to minimize the occurrence and effects of unnatural stressors, can we develop "exercise" programs that make ecosystems more fit and less susceptible to harm in the first place?”

NATURAL RESOURCES AND MANAGEMENT

TurkeyTurkey Hunt - Jim Evans (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Area Manager), and Warren Webb (Oak Ridge Reservation Wildlife Coordinator)

Twenty-nine turkeys (22 adults and 7 juveniles) were taken during the April 7-8, 2001, turkey hunt on the Oak Ridge Reservation. The largest tom was 24.6 pounds, longest beard was 11.9 inches (weight of tom was 22.9 pounds), and the largest spur was 1.3 inches. Of the 29 turkeys taken, one was retained due to internal radiological contamination. The next hunt (and last for the season) will be April 28-29.

Invasive Species - Sara Drake, HERE Student at ORNL

Field checks of the four Chinese privet areas along Jones Island Road treated with foliar application of herbicide indicate the treatments were mostly successful. There are a few small spots left to watch; follow-up treatment may need to be done on these areas.

PARKNET UPDATES

The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park is one of seven Department of Energy National Environmental Research Parks. The Parks represent seven different ecoregions across the U.S. More information is available on the DOE Research Park network (ParkNet) at http://nerp.esd.ornl.gov/.

Nevada Test Site (NTS) Environmental Research Park Vegetation Classification - Bob Furlow, NTS Research Park Manager

Nevada Test Site has a fact sheet entitled “Monitoring of Ecosystem Dynamics in the Mojave Desert - the Beatley Permanent Plots” available. It shows some comparisons of vegetation plots on the NTS some 30 years ago and now. Bob says the difference in plant density is quite remarkable. The Beatley permanent plots on the NTS represent long-term monitoring that is beneficial to researchers and land managers. They provide critical ecological information that can be collected in no other way. This fact sheet illustrates opportunities to generate and test hypotheses about environmental change far outside the normal time-frame of 3-5 year funding cycles. From these plots, information is being generated about disturbance-recovery regimes, climatic change, non-native invasions, and plant/animal interactions through synthesis of data collected over a half century. Contact is R. H. Webb, USGS, 1675 W. Anklam Road, Tucson, AZ 85745, email rhwebb@usgs.gov, to get a hard copy (or to try to get it electronically--my system would not open it, but yours might).

AWARDS AND HONORS

Parr was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Southeastern Chapter of the Ecological Society of America at the annual meeting April 6, 2001. ESA Southeastern Chapter meets annually with the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITIES

Community Adventure Rambles, a series of nature walks, are underway on the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Reservation. This program offers the general public chances to study and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature on the reservation. The nature adventures are sponsored by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE), and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). The Copper Ridge Ramble with Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Jane Awl is sponsored by ORNL, AMSE, and TVA. The Creek-side Ramble: Aquatic Life in Lower Bear Creek, is sponsored by ORNL, AMSE, and the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET).

The events are free, but participation is limited on some of the walks. Advance registration is required by calling 865/576-3218 at least 48 hours before the scheduled walk. Cancellation due to bad weather or other circumstances will be placed on the X-10 information line (865-574-9836 or 865-574-XTEN) at least an hour before the scheduled walk.

Remaining walks are:

Saturday, April 21, 7-10 a.m. - Bird Walk at Freels Bend of the Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Refuge managed by TWRA. Leader:  Jim Evans, TWRA. Meet at 7 a.m. at parking lot on the south side of ORAU's Scarboro Operations Site on the east (left) side of Scarboro/Pumphouse Road, and just south of the Scarboro Road/Bethel Valley Road intersection. 25-participant limit. 3 hrs.

Sunday, April 22, 1-4 p.m. - Wildlife and Wildflower Ramble on Walker Branch. Leader:  Jerry Klein, ORNL. Meet at 1 p.m. at the lobby of the American Museum of Science and Energy. 20-participant limit. 2.5-3 hrs.

Saturday, April 28, 3-5 p.m. - Creek-side Ramble: Aquatic Life in Lower Bear Creek or Upper White Oak Creek. Leaders:  John Smith and Mike Ryon, ORNL. Long pants, tick/insect repellent, and water bottle recommended. Meet at 3 p.m. at the lobby of the American Museum of Science and Energy. 20-participant limit. 2-2.5 hrs. Sponsored by ORNL, AMSE, and the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET).

Sunday, April 29, 2:15 p.m. - Copper Ridge Ramble sponsored by ORNL, TVA, and AMSE. Leader:  Jane Awl, TVA. Scenic forest ramble in the seldom seen Park City Road area of Copper Ridge. A pleasant afternoon walk along winding jeep trails to four picturesque old home-site ruins. Lovely views of the Clinch River and the striking rock outcrops that are a hallmark of Copper Ridge. Trees, birds, ferns, and lichens along moss-lined banks. Moderate to mild slopes will be encountered. Hiking boots or sturdy shoes, hat, long pants, tick/insect repellent, water bottle, and trail snack recommended. Meet at 2:15 p.m. at the lobby of the American Museum of Science and Energy. Participants will caravan in their own vehicles to the site. 18-participant limit. Each participant under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 4.5 hrs.

Saturday, May 5, 7-10 a.m. - Bird Walk at Freels Bend of the Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Refuge managed by TWRA. Leader:  Jim Evans, TWRA. Meet at 7 a.m. at parking lot on the south side of ORAU's Scarboro Operations Site on the east (left) side of Scarboro/Pumphouse Road, and just south of the Scarboro Road/Bethel Valley Road intersection. 25-participant limit. 3 hrs.

Sunday May 6, 1:30 p.m. - RAIN-OUT Make-up Day for the April 29 Copper Ridge Ramble.

Saturday, May 12, 7-10 a.m. - Bird Walk at Freels Bend of the Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Refuge managed by TWRA. Leader:  Jim Evans, TWRA. Meet at 7 a.m. at parking lot on the south side of ORAU's Scarboro Operations Site on the east (left) side of Scarboro/Pumphouse Road, and just south of the Scarboro Road/Bethel Valley Road intersection. 25-participant limit. 3 hrs.

Sunday, May 13, 2:30-4:30 p.m. - Mother's Day Wildflower Walk at Walker Branch. Leader:  Mac Post, ORNL. Flower field book or guide, sturdy shoes, hat, water bottle recommended. Meet at 2:30 p.m. at the lobby of the American Museum of Science and Energy. Participants will caravan in their own vehicles to the site. 20-participant limit.

Saturday, May 19, 7-10 a.m. - Bird Walk at Freels Bend of the Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Refuge managed by TWRA. Leader:  Jim Evans, TWRA. Meet at 7 a.m. at parking lot on the south side of ORAU's Scarboro Operations Site on the east (left) side of Scarboro/Pumphouse Road, and just south of the Scarboro Road/Bethel Valley Road intersection. 25-participant limit. 3 hrs.

Sunday, May 20, 2-4:30 p.m. - Wildflower Ramble at Walker Branch. Leader:  Mark Peterson, ORNL. Flower field book or guide, sturdy shoes, hat, water bottle recommended. Meet at 2 p.m. at the lobby of the American Museum of Science and Energy. Participants will caravan in their own vehicles to the site. 20-participant limit.

TBA (June-August time frame). Wetland Adventure on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Leader:  Jane Awl, TVA.

PRESENTATIONS

Watershed Meeting -- Oak Ridge National Laboratory helped sponsor the recent meeting of the Southeastern Watershed Forum and the Southeastern Branch of the North American Lake Management Society on Sustainable Watersheds Meeting Multiple Needs which was held in Knoxville, March 21-23. Topics presented at the meeting included the role of volunteer groups in watershed monitoring, planning of urban development to minimize impacts, use of land use models to evaluate impacts in watersheds, and the patterns of recovery following stream relocations. Michael Ryon and Mark Peterson contributed a presentation, “Relocation of a small stream in East Tennessee, success or failure?” The presentation provided a summary of the recovery of a stream on the Oak Ridge Reservation after it was re-routed into an artificial channel and included more than 10 years of data on habitat, riparian vegetation, and fish communities. Other sponsors of the meeting included the Tennessee Valley Authority, University of Tennessee, and Ijams Nature Park.

Association of Southeastern Biologists

Jake Weltzin, The University of Tennessee, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (with Rich Norby of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory), presented a talk on “Global changes and biological invasions: response of understory invasive plants to elevated carbon dioxide.”

Sara Drake, The University of Tennessee, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (with Jake Weltzin of The University of Tennessee and Pat Parr of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory), presented a poster “Assessment of non-native invasive plants on the National Environmental Research Park at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”

Patrice Cole, The University of Tennessee, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (with Jake Weltzin of The University of Tennessee and Michael Huston of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory), presented a talk on “Identifying the habitat characteristics of the non-native, invasive grass, Microstegium vimineum.”

Pat Parr, as outgoing Past President of the Association, presented the banquet address on “The Oak Ridge Reservation: Greater than the Sum of its Parts.”

WEB LINKS

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has a new history Web site. It includes links to information, reports, and historic photos. The site is located at http://www.ornl.gov/history/history.htm.

PUBLICATIONS

Mann, L. K., and V. R. Tolbert. 2000. Soil sustainability in renewable biomass plantings. Ambio 29:492-498.

Tolbert, V. R., J. D. Joslin, B. R. Bock, F. C. Thornton, D. E. Pettry, W. Bandaranayake, A. Houston, Don Tyler. 2000. Belowground carbon sequestration associated with conversion of agricultural lands to production of bioenergy crops. New Zealand J. Forestry 30(1/2):138-149.

Peterson, Wollheim, Mulholland, Webster, Meyer, Tank, Martí, Bowden, Valett, Hershey, McDowell, Dodds, Hamilton, Gregory, Morrall. 2001. Control of Nitrogen Export from Watersheds by Headwater Streams. Science (292):86 (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/292/5514/86).

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST

April 17, 2001 – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is holding a meeting on the assessment of water quality in the Lower Clinch River Watershed. The meeting is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. at the DOE Oversight Building in Oak Ridge, and the public is encouraged to attend to provide comments and/or present data. Additional information is available from David Duhl, (615)532-0438, or the local office (594-6035).

April 25-29, 2001 – The 16th Annual Symposium of the U.S. Regional Chapter of the International Association of Landscape Ecology (US-IALE), Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. More info: http://www.west.asu.edu/LEML/iale2001.

April 30 - May 2, 2001 – "Water Quality Monitoring and Modeling," American Water Resources Association, Annual Spring Specialty Conference, The Menger Hotel, San Antonio, Texas. More info: http://www.awra.org/meetings/Texas2001/.

May 2-3, 2001 – SAMAB Spring Planning Meeting, The North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville, North Carolina. More info: http://samab.org.

May 10, 2001 – Tennessee Chapter, The American Chestnut Foundation, Village Green Clubhouse, Knoxville, Tennessee, 6:30 p.m. More info: http://www.serversolutions.com/wolfe/chestnut/default.htm.

May 29 - June 2, 2001 – American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in Boston. Abstracts are due March 8. In addition to its strength in subsurface science and geochemistry, AGU is continuing to expand its focus on biogeoscience and watershed hydrology. More info: http://www.agu.org/.

May 31 - June 1, 2001 – The 3rd Annual Governors Summit on Mountain Air Quality, Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

June 27-29, 2001 – "Decision Support Systems for Water Resources Management," AWRA/UCOWR Summer Specialty Conference, Snowbird Resort, Snowbird, Utah. More info: Contact AWRA Headquarters [(540) 687-8390] or http://info@awra.org/meetings/Utah2001/.

August 5-8, 2001 – "Globalization and Water Management--The Changing Value of Water," AWRA/University of Dundee International Specialty Conference, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland. More info: Contact AWRA Headquarters [(540) 687-8390] or http://info@awra.org/meetings/Dundee2001/.

August 5-10, 2001 – The 86th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin. More info: http://esa.sdsc.edu/madison/.

October 3-6, 2001 – Natural Areas Association Annual Conference at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on “Searching for a Natural Balance.” More info: http://natareas.org/frame.htm.

November 12-15, 2001 – Annual Water Resources Conference, Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Albuquerque, New Mexico. More info: Contact AWRA Headquarters [(540) 687-8390] or http://info@awra.org/meetings/NewMexico2001/.

November 26-28, 2001 – Southern Forest Science Conference, Contributions of Forest Research to Sustainable Forestry, Atlanta, Georgia. More info: http://www.southernforestscience.net or call (828) 257-4302.

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/.


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