Return to Newsletter

Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park

Research Park Notes
Issue 2, December 5, 2000

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.


Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Field Research Center - David Watson, Environmental Sciences Division, ORNL

ORNL scientists studying the ability of bacteria to clean up contaminated groundwater and soil will be able to do basic research at the Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation (NABIR) Field Research Center. DOE has selected its Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to operate the field research center, which includes a 243-acre contaminated area next to the Y-12 Plant and a 404-acre uncontaminated background area in the National Environmental Research Park. Scientists will use the center to conduct long-term field studies to better understand the biological, geologic, and chemical processes that affect the way microorganisms may be able to clean up groundwater and subsurface sediments contaminated with radionuclides and metals. The research will help DOE address a unique set of challenges associated with cleaning up huge amounts of groundwater and soil at its former weapons production sites around the country. These sites contain complex mixtures of pollutants, including radioactive wastes. ORNL's David Watson will manage the research center for the lab. Teams of researchers from universities and DOE laboratories, including ORNL, will conduct the field studies. Presently two teams are funded by DOE to conduct research at the field research center. The first team is lead by Craig Criddle of Stanford and Phil Jardine of ORNL. The second team is being lead by Jack Istok from Oregon State University.

Leaf Litter Spiders and Altered Precipitation - Dr. Ken Cramer, Monmouth College

Dr. Ken Cramer, of Monmouth College in western Illinois, is a resident faculty of the GLCA/ACM Oak Ridge Science Semester in which undergraduate students participate in research for a full semester at the lab. He taught a course in conservation biology and conducted research on spider communities on the Throughfall Displacement Experiment (altered precipitation) site at Walker Branch Watershed. In a recent seminar he reported spider density increased slightly on the dry plots but largely as a result of increased litter mass which positively correlated with spider density across all plots. Species richness was largely unchanged across the plots, but species composition varied significantly both across treatments and up and down the slope. Three of the ten dominant species showed a strong response to treatments, and two others showed suggestive trends. Half of the dominant species were significantly more abundant on either up or down slopes as well. Results from additional samples in November are currently being analyzed to see if they corroborate these trends. Information about ORNL educational opportunities is found at:

Education - Dr. Jake Weltzin, The University of Tennessee (UT)

Dr. Jake Weltzin brought 12 students from his upper undergraduate plant ecology class out to Raccoon Creek Barrens in mid-November. Dr. Larry Pounds and Dr. Hal DeSelm came out also to provide a broad perspective of this special cedar barren area. Jake said, “It rained the entire time, but that didn't dampen the curiosity of all as we looked at one of the few landscapes in East Tennessee that contain Agave, Yucca, and Cactus within meters of one another.” He also called the reservation an “extraordinary resource to UT in many ways” and may make it a regular field trip stop.


A group of Environmental Sciences Division staff recently participated in a session on "Long-term Biomonitoring to Assess Recovery of Aquatic Ecosystems" at the Society of Toxicology and Chemistry's (SETAC) 21st Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. Staff included Lynn Kszos, Mark Peterson, Mark Greeley, John Smith, Mike Ryon, Art Stewart, and Marshall Adams. Their presentations focused on work done since 1985 in the Biological Monitoring and Abatement Program (BMAP), with heavy emphasis on their studies conducted on the Oak Ridge Reservation.


Invasive Species - At the recent Southern Appalachian Man and Biosphere (SAMAB) Annual Meeting, Jack Ranney ( and Pat Parr ( agreed to co-chair the invasive species initiative. This initiative will investigate opportunities for interagency and private partnerships in following up on the recent SAMAB invasive species assessment ( and responding to the National Invasive Species Management Plan, "Meeting the Challenge" ( SAMAB member agencies agree this is an important initiative and most have mandates that will tie in and be strengthened by working together

Deer Hunts - Warren Webb (ORNL Wildlife Coordinator) and Jim Evans (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Manager)

A total of 147 deer were harvested during the hunt held November 11-12. The largest buck for the weekend weighed 160 pounds (8 points). The most points for the weekend was 10 (2 deer). The largest doe for the weekend was 106 pounds. The total numbers for the weekend were bucks 83 (56.5%) and does 64 (43.5%). Totals for the year so far (October and November hunts) are bucks 160 (56.1%) and does 125 (43.9%), for a total of 285 deer. The last hunt will be December 9-10. Updated web info:

Waterfowl Surveys - Kelly Roy, ORNL

Two waterfowl surveys were conducted in November with 207 observations of 15 species on November 7, 2000, and 703 observations of 21 species on November 21, 2000. The increase on the latter survey was due largely to the arrival of migrants, both ducks and geese. Ten species of ducks were recorded on this date, including over 300 gadwall, most of which were using White Oak Lake. Other duck species observed include mallard, American black duck, green-winged teal, American wigeon, northern shoveler, bufflehead, wood duck, ring-necked duck, and hooded merganser. Ten male ring-necked ducks were using the ORNL Swan Pond on November 21, with the earliest migrant arriving here around October 13. The females, which migrate later, had yet to arrive as of November 21. Kelly Roy and Mike Ryon of ORNL and Jim Evans of TWRA, did these surveys.

Community Notes - Keep your eyes open for a real East Tennessee rarity, Ross' goose. One was observed by Kelly Roy at the Pellissippi Campus during the week of October 30. He photographed the bird on November 3, 2000. It was in with a flock of 125 Canada geese, one of which was a neck-collared female that turned 11 years old this past spring.

Land Use Planning and Land Changes

The draft ORNL Land and Facilities Plan highlights the importance of the Oak Ridge Reservation for research. Most of the undeveloped land area is either currently used for research or has been proposed for future studies. The final is due out mid-December, and the draft can be viewed at


A great brochure, “Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park Driving Tour,” has been published. It discusses points of interest that are visible from the public roads through the Oak Ridge Reservation and also highlights areas of interest and activity (such as global change research) that are NOT visible from the roads. Stop by the American Museum of Science and Energy and get a copy (the driving tour starts from there) or contact Pat Parr for one.


Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park:

ORNL Environmental Sciences Research:

ORR Deer Hunt Information:

ORNL Education Opportunities:

Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere Reserve:

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:

Top of Page / Home / Send comments to Pat Parr
Last Updated: May 4, 2001
Warnings and Disclaimers