Field Sites

Field Sites

bracken ferns and pine trees

Since 1951, the Savannah River Site has served as an invaluable outdoor laboratory for SREL researchers and others. The facility’s large size (302 square miles), habitat diversity, and mix of natural and industrial areas provide many opportunities to study both natural ecological processes and human impacts. In recognition of its unique value, in 1972 the Savannah River Site was designated as the nation’s first National Environmental Research Park (NERP).

Approximately 10 percent of the SRS has been developed for DOE industrial activities; the remaining 90 percent encompasses a variety of Upper Coastal Plain ecosystems from floodplain forests to Fall Line sandhills, blackwater streams, upland hardwoods, pine forests, old fields, and over 300 geographically isolated wetlands. The majority of SRS is managed for forestry and wildlife by the USDA Forest Service. Other areas are managed exclusively for research as part of the DOE Research Set-Aside Program, a network of 30 research areas within the SRS. Information on soils, vegetation, sensitive species, site history/influences, and research history are readily available for each of the 30 Set-Aside Areas.

Within SRS, researchers have access to a variety of GIS resources to support field research, and since the 1990s SREL has maintained an in-house data archive of research studies, many of them conducted at SRS.

For additional information about field research opportunities at the SRS, contact Margaret Wead at 803.725.2472 or email wead@srel.uga.edu.

Habitat diversity on the SRS: Greens = loblolly (Pinus taeda) and slash (P. elliottii) pine forests; light blues = longleaf pine (P. palustris) forests; oranges/reds = upland hardwoods; pink/violet = forested wetlands; dark blue = water.

Habitat diversity on the SRS: Greens = loblolly (Pinus taeda) and slash (P. elliottii) pine forests; light blues = longleaf pine (P. palustris) forests; oranges/reds = upland hardwoods; pink/violet = forested wetlands; dark blue = water.