Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office
Southeast Region
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Environmental Contaminants

DOE Natural Resources Trustee Council Completes First Restoration Project

Black Oak Ridge Conservation Easment

The Natural Resources Trustee Council for the Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) completed their first restoration project in 2010. The DOE, Department of Interior, as represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), Tennessee Valley Authority, and the state of Tennessee, as represented by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), are Trustees for Natural Resources under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The Trustees formed a Trustee Council in 1993 and later signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 1995 governing the ORR Trustee Councils' activities. In 1995, DOE, TDEC, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a Record of Decision (ROD)for the Lower Watts Bar Operable Unit (OU) in which a no action remedy was selected. Read more...

Exceptional Drought Conditions in the Duck River Watershed

The Duck River watershed in Middle Tennessee has been experiencing exceptional drought conditions during the summer and fall of 2007. Service Environmental Contaminant and Endangered Species personnel have been cooperatively working with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in assessing water quality and quantity issues in the mainstem of the river downstream of Normandy Dam. Permanent monitoring stations have been established at three sites. Channel cross-sections were surveyed, flow measurements were performed, and water quality samples are being collected to measure dissolved oxygen, ammonia, and nitrogen. These collaborative efforts will continue until the current drought conditions subside.  

Tims Ford Biological Opinion

The construction and operation of the Tims Ford Dam on the Elk River has resulted in the drastic decline of several endangered freshwater mussels and the endangered boulder darter.

Historical flow regimes have been altered by the dam.  Fluctuations in flow  due to hydropower peaking and releases to achieve winter reservoir pool levels have made substrate habitats and stream-banks unstable.  Lower water temperatures resulting from hydropower generation hinder freshwater mussel reproduction.

The Environmental Contaminant program is providing valuable assistance in  formulating the Service's biological opinion on the effects of discharges from the dam,  which is influencing the survival and recovery of listed species.

Black Oak Ridge
Historic releases of PCBs, mercury, and radionuclides resulted in contaminated sediments that require active management and the issuance of fish consumption advisories for Lower Watts Bar reservoir.  The Service is cooperatively working with the EPA on clean-up and ecological risk assessments for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR). 

As a member of the ORR Natural Resources Trustee Council , the Service helped secure the establishment of a conservation easement on a 3000-acre parcel, known  locally as Black Oak Ridge, on the ORR.  Black Oak Ridge supports a variety of habitats for game species and neo-tropical migratory birds, including the rare cerulean warbler.

Information or questions concerning the Environmental Contaminants Program in Tennessee can be obtained from Mr. Steve Alexander.
















Last updated: January 12, 2016
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