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Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park

Research Park Notes
Issue 14, May 29, 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.


Biological Monitoring and Abatement Program - Mike Ryon, Environmental Sciences Division, ORNL

The Biological Monitoring and Abatement Program (BMAP) was established in 1985 at Oak Ridge to assess compliance with environmental regulations and to help identify causes of adverse ecological impacts. Since 1985, similar BMAP monitoring programs have been established at other DOE sites. Tasks in specific BMAP projects vary and include a range of services such as toxicity testing of aquatic environments and sediments, assessment of biological indicators, monitoring of the biological accumulation of contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial species, surveys of aquatic communities, and special studies as needed. The BMAP program has enabled researchers to document positive responses to remedial actions on the Oak Ridge Reservation. For more information, check the Web site at Also, a two-page information flyer has just been published. See information below.


Rare Plant Study - Jess Peirson, Ohio University graduant student

Jess Peirson visited the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park on May 11 to check out the Park’s population of the rare mint, Collinsonia verticillata (click on photo). Jess is working with materials from all species in the genus, Collinsonia, to determine if the current classification into species is correct and will study both morphology and DNA.

Invasive Beetle Project - U.S. Forest Service and Oak Ridge National Laboratory

A recent report on Earth and Sky radio show discussed the development of a sound detector that can help determine the presence of the Asian Longhorn Beetle. It’s being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and U.S. Forest Service scientists. Here are parts of the report:

“The Asian Longhorn Beetle probably came to North America from China. They arrived as stowaways on cargo ships, hidden in wooden crates. From there, these beetles went on to infest local trees. Because there's no sure treatment for trees infested with the Asian Longhorn Beetle, more than 6,000 trees have been destroyed so far in New York and Chicago to keep the beetles from spreading. The beetle larvae are hard to find because they spend most of their time inside trees. But beetle hunters will soon have a powerful new tool to hunt down these pests. Scientists at the U.S. Forest Service and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are developing a sensitive sound detector, an eavesdropping device so sensitive that it can hear beetle larvae biting into wood deep inside a tree. This sound of an Asian Longhorn Beetle biting into wood has a distinctive pattern, one that can be expressed as a mathematical equation. Continuous streams of sound from a detector attached to a tree are fed into a computer where a program sifts through the data, looking for a pattern that fits a beetle's bite signature. If that signature is detected, an inspector can check the tree to see if it's infested by beetles.” Author: Shireen Gonzaga

Note: We do not have Asian Longhorn Beetles in this area or on the Research Park and sure hope to keep it that way.


Fermilab National Environmental Research Park - Rod Walton, Research Park Manager

In 1989, Fermilab was designated a National Environmental Research Park. Fermilab is considered unique among the research parks because the site contains most of the major types of ecosystems representative of the midwest. These include tall grass prairie, oak savanna, agricultural fields, woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. Studies can take advantage of the contrasting natural habitat at Fermilab and the nearby metropolitan area of Chicago. Environmental research is facilitated because Fermilab is an open site, free from controlled security access common at the other research parks. For more information on Fermilab National Environmental Research Park, check the web site at

New Manager for Idaho National Environmental Research Park - Dr. Roger Blew

I just received an email from Idaho with contact information for their new Research Park Manager, Dr. Roger Blew. Welcome to ParkNet, Roger! Here’s how to reach him:

S. M. Stoller Corporation
Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research Program
1780 First Street
Idaho Falls, ID 83401
Phone: 208-525-9358
Fax: 208-525-3364


An article by Morgan Simmons in the Knoxville News Sentinel on May 29 is of interest for this area since we were all hit hard by the southern pine beetle. He writes (excerpts):

“Changes in forest composition and temporary fluctuations in wildlife populations are some of the changes scientists expect to see after the Southern pine beetles are gone. Chuck Nicholson, an environmental scientist with the Tennessee Valley Authority and president of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, said the dead pines will likely produce a short-term hike in some woodpecker populations. Nicholson said species like the downy woodpecker, northern flicker, and red-bellied woodpecker will benefit from the additional insects and nesting cavities created by the dead trees."

"This will likely only last a few years," Nicholson said. "Once the limbs drop off, the quality of the habitat will decline, even though the tree trunks will stay."

"Nicholson said the loss of pine trees will have a detrimental impact on such pine-dependent songbird species as the pine warbler and yellow-throated warbler, both of which nest in the Southeast in the spring and summer."

And another article by Morgan Simmons, same date, has good news (excerpts):

“Tennessee forestry officials say the worst Southern pine beetle outbreak in 25 years appears to be declining in some parts of the state. Recent beetle trappings conducted over a 4-week period by the Tennessee Division of Forestry indicate that in Scott County the beetle population is decreasing and is significantly lower than last year. Bruce Kauffman, forest health specialist for the Tennessee Division of Forestry, said that in Rhea County, where forestry officials also collect trapping data, the population remains high but has leveled off."

"We feel like this may be the last year of major impact," Kauffman said. "The end should be in sight."

"The Southern pine beetle--a native insect that lays its eggs beneath the bark of pine trees--has infested 40 counties across the state, including 15 counties in East Tennessee. Outbreaks of Southern pine beetles occur about every 10 years as a result of the beetles' natural population cycle. Forestry officials say the current outbreak is far worse than usual due to recent dry weather and mild winters, which have stressed a large number of pine trees and enabled the beetles to spread uninhibited by cold weather. Beetle infestations currently cover portions of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”


Biological Monitoring and Abatement Program - Mike Ryon

A two-page information sheet on the Biological Monitoring and Abatement Program at the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park has been printed. For copies, contact Pat Parr at


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

June 24-27, 2001 - National Association of Environmental Professionals Annual Meeting in Arlington, Virginia. Contact National Association of Environmental Professionals, P.O. Box 2086, Bowie, MD 20718, (301) 860-1141,

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

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

August 5-10, 2001 – The 86th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin. More info:

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

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

November 26-28, 2001 – Southern Forest Science Conference, Contributions of Forest Research to Sustainable Forestry, Atlanta, Georgia. More info: 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:

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Last Modified: July 9, 2001
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