U.S. Department of Energy Press Release,  June 23, 1999

  DOE - State of Tennessee Partnership Creates Three Bend Scenic
  and Wildlife Management Refuge Area
  3,000 Acres of Oak Ridge Reservation to be Set Aside

 OAK RIDGE, TN-- Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson today joined Tennessee state officials to set aside 3,000 acres of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation as a conservation and wildlife management area.

The ceremony was held at the historic Freels Cabin to announce the signing of an agreement between the Energy Department and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). The proclamation, signed by Secretary Richardson and George Akans, Jr., of the Tennessee Wildlife Commission, calls for the land to be cooperatively managed for preservation purposes under a use permit.

The Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Management Refuge Area consists of 3,000 acres located in the Oak Ridge Reservation's buffer zone, on Freels, Gallaher, and Solway Bends on the north shore of Melton Hill Lake in Anderson County.

"The proclamation signed today will help balance recent land use initiatives to foster economic development in the Oak Ridge area with better protection for unique habitat and wildlife," said Secretary Richardson.

The area provides an important habitat and home for numerous threatened, endangered, and rare animal species, including bald eagles, ospreys, and migrant songbirds. The parcel contains an 80-acre recreational area known as Clark Center Park and the historic Freels Cabin, built in the 1820s and one of the earliest settlements in the area.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, in consultation with DOE and the Oak Ridge community, will prepare a cooperative agreement to serve as a natural resources management plan for the Three Bend Area. The plan will establish guidelines for managing the area to preserve and enhance its natural attributes.

The Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Management Refuge Area contains a combination of open fields, hedgerows, woodlots, wetlands, and water -- a combination that is becoming increasingly rare in the region. State listed rare plants include the Canada Lily and Tall Larkspur. The area also includes recognized special habitats such as Chestnut Oak-Tuliptree-White Oak Hickory Forests; White Oak-Northern Red Oak-Hickory Forests; Limestone Sinkholes; Limestone Barrens and Oak-Hickory-Ash Limestone Woodlands.

The agreement signed today also expands an already active partnership between the Energy Department and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. In recent years, the Resources Agency has been responsible for managing deer and turkey harvests on the 35,000 acre Oak Ridge Reservation and habitat development programs.

This agreement continues the department's efforts to protect ecologically valuable parcels at its sites. Similar preservation activities have been implemented at Hanford, Washington; Rocky Flats, CO; and Oak Ridge, TN.

As part of his presentation today, Secretary Richardson also announced the final approval of the the record of decision for the Spallation Neutron Source Project (SNS). This action, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, calls for the siting and operation of the advance scientific facility at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. When completed in 2005, the SNS will become the world's center for neutron research and will attract up to 2,000 visiting scientists each year.

                                               -DOE-

                        NEWS MEDIA CONTACTS:
                        Steven Wyatt, (423) 576-0885
                        Anne Elliot, (202) 586-1607

 DOE Oak Ridge Operations Office
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