Bird Surveys at DARHT Before and During Operations: Comparison of Species Abundance and Composition and Trace Element Uptake

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The Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) Facility Mitigation Action Plan specifies the comparison of baseline conditions in biotic and abiotic media with those collected after operations have started. Operations at DARHT at Los Alamos National Laboratory started in 2000. In this study, the abundance and composition of birds collected near the DARHT facility from 2003 through 2006 were determined and compared to a preoperational period (1999). In addition, the levels of radionuclides and other inorganic chemicals in birds were compared to regional statistical reference levels (RSRLs). The number and diversity of bird species generally increased over preoperational levels with the ... continued below

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P. R. Fresquez, D. C. Keller, C. D. Hathcock November 30, 2007.

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Description

The Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) Facility Mitigation Action Plan specifies the comparison of baseline conditions in biotic and abiotic media with those collected after operations have started. Operations at DARHT at Los Alamos National Laboratory started in 2000. In this study, the abundance and composition of birds collected near the DARHT facility from 2003 through 2006 were determined and compared to a preoperational period (1999). In addition, the levels of radionuclides and other inorganic chemicals in birds were compared to regional statistical reference levels (RSRLs). The number and diversity of bird species generally increased over preoperational levels with the greatest number of birds (412) and species (46) occurring in 2005. The most common bird species collected regardless of time periods were the chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina), the Virginia's warbler (Vermivora virginiae), the western bluebird (Sialia mexicana), the broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus), the sage sparrow (Amphispiza belli), and the western tanager (Piranga ludoviciana). Most radionuclides, with the exception of uranium-234 and uranium-238, in (whole body) birds collected after operations began were either not detected or below RSRLs. Uranium-234 and uranium-238 concentrations in a few samples were far below screening levels and do not pose a potential unacceptable dose to the birds. In contrast, many inorganic chemicals, particularly arsenic and silver, in birds collected before and after operations began were in higher concentrations than RSRLs. Because birds (skin plus feathers) collected in the years before operations began contained higher levels of arsenic and silver than RSRLs and because there was no evidence of these metals in soil and sediment directly around the DARHT facility, the elevated levels of these metals in birds during early operations are probably not related to DARHT operations. Arsenic and silver in birds, however, have decreased over time to near background levels in 2007.

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  • Report No.: LA-14355
  • Grant Number: DE-AC52-06NA25396
  • DOI: 10.2172/920370 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 920370
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc894871

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  • November 30, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 9:29 p.m.

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P. R. Fresquez, D. C. Keller, C. D. Hathcock. Bird Surveys at DARHT Before and During Operations: Comparison of Species Abundance and Composition and Trace Element Uptake, report, November 30, 2007; Los Alamos, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc894871/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.