Assessing ecological resources for remediation and future land uses on contaminated lands

Joanna Burger, Mary Anne Carletta, Karen Lowrie, K. Tyler Miller, Michael Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Increasingly, the public and governmental agencies are concerned about remediating and reclaiming contaminated sites. Understanding the ecological resources on-site and valuing those resources in terms of future uses is important for determining suitable future land uses. In this article, we suggest the major categories of natural resource information required by managers, policy makers, and the general public for making initial future land-use determinations. We then use a dataset of 25 Department of Energy (DOE) sites slated for remediation to explore whether such data are readily available and whether the data can be used to assess natural resource value. Although information is available for almost all sites on federally endangered and threatened species, this information is less available for state-listed species. Biodiversity information is available only for some sites for birds (N = 17), mammals (N = 15), reptiles (N = 14), amphibians (N = 13), and plants (N = 11) and is almost nonexistent for invertebrates (N = 2). Some information is available for invasive species (N = 9). The number of available habitats is directly related to total acres and nonindustrial acres. Biodiversity of birds, mammals, and reptiles (but not amphibians) is directly related to both total acres and total nonindustrial acres of sites. These data suggest that even over a wide geographical area (from eastern to western United States), biodiversity relates to habitat size and number of habitats available. This information will be useful not only to DOE managers but also to natural resource trustees, ecologists, state and federal regulators, and the general public in the discourse over future uses of these lands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology


  • Biodiversity-contamination-natural resources
  • Department of energy


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