Aquatic Natural Areas Analysis and Evaluation: Oak Ridge Reservation

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This report presents an assessment of the natural area value of eight Aquatic Natural Areas (ANAs) and seven Aquatic Reference Areas (ARAs) on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) in Anderson and Roane Counties in east Tennessee. It follows a previous study in 2009 that analyzed and evaluated terrestrial natural areas on the Reservation. The purpose of both studies was to evaluate and rank those specially designated areas on the Reservation that contain sensitive species, special habitats, and natural area value. Natural areas receive special protections through established statutes, regulations, and policies. The ORR contains 33,542 acres (13,574 ha) administered by ... continued below

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Baranski, Michael J. April 1, 2011.

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This report presents an assessment of the natural area value of eight Aquatic Natural Areas (ANAs) and seven Aquatic Reference Areas (ARAs) on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) in Anderson and Roane Counties in east Tennessee. It follows a previous study in 2009 that analyzed and evaluated terrestrial natural areas on the Reservation. The purpose of both studies was to evaluate and rank those specially designated areas on the Reservation that contain sensitive species, special habitats, and natural area value. Natural areas receive special protections through established statutes, regulations, and policies. The ORR contains 33,542 acres (13,574 ha) administered by the Department of Energy. The surface waters of the Reservation range from 1st-order to 5th-order streams, but the majority of the streams recognized as ANAs and ARAs are 1st- and 2nd-order streams. East Fork Poplar Creek is a 4th-order stream and the largest watershed that drains Reservation lands. All the waters of the Reservation eventually reach the Clinch River on the southern and western boundaries of the ORR. All available information was collected, synthesized, and evaluated. Field observations were made to support and supplement the available information. Geographic information system mapping techniques were used to develop several quantitative attributes about the study areas. Narrative descriptions of each ANA and ARA and tables of numerical data were prepared. Criteria for assessment and evaluation were developed, and eight categories of factors were devised to produce a ranking system. The evaluation factors used in the ranking system were: (A) size of area, (B) percentage of watershed protected, (C) taxa present with protected status, (D) overall biotic diversity, (E) stream features, (F) water quality and use support ratings, (G) disturbance regime, and (H) other factors. Each factor was evaluated on a 5-point ranking scale (0-4), and each area received a composite score, where 32 was the maximum score possible. A highly ranked ANA or ARA is one that is large in size compared to other areas, includes a greater proportion of the watershed within Reservation boundaries, contains a number of status taxa at high densities, exhibits a high overall biodiversity, has very good or excellent habitat and water quality, is well protected and isolated from disturbances, and shows several other characteristics that contribute to natural area value. In this report, the term 'natural area' is loosely defined as a terrestrial or aquatic system that exhibits, or is thought to exhibit, high natural integrity and other significant natural values. The purpose of the present study is to evaluate and rank the currently recognized Aquatic Natural Areas (ANAs) and Aquatic Reference Areas (ARAs) on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) for their natural area value. A previous study (Baranski 2009) analyzed, evaluated, and ranked terrestrial areas (Natural Areas [NAs], Reference Areas [RAs], and Cooperative Management Areas [CMAs]) on the ORR for natural area value, and a precise methodology for natural area evaluation was developed. The present study is intended to be a complement and companion to the terrestrial area study and attempts to employ a similar methodology for aquatic areas so that aquatic and terrestrial areas can be compared on a similar scale. This study specifically develops criteria for assessing the ecological, biodiversity, and natural area importance and significance of aquatic systems on the Reservation in a relevant and consistent manner. The information can be integrated into the Tennessee Natural Heritage Program (http://tn.gov/environment/na/nhp.shtml) system and applied to potential new aquatic areas. Further, the information will be useful in planning, management, and protection efforts on the ORR.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2011/13
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/1023838 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1023838
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc841358

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  • April 1, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • July 26, 2016, 5:42 p.m.

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Baranski, Michael J. Aquatic Natural Areas Analysis and Evaluation: Oak Ridge Reservation, report, April 1, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc841358/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.