The INL occupies one
of the largest tract of relatively undisturbed sagebrush-steppe
rangeland in the United States. The land provides an important
habitat for resident and migrating wildlife. Over 40 species
of mammals and 230 species of birds have been found on the
INL. The INL also supports over 420 species of flowering
plants. Because of the inherent ecological benefits of such a
large tract of protected and relatively undisturbed habitat, the
scientific community recognizes this acreage as an exciting
opportunity for research.
2014 Research A total of 18 undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral students, faculty, and agency and contractor scientists participated in four research projects on the Idaho National Environmental Research Park in 2014. Several undergraduate students and technicians also gained valuable experience through participation in these research activities. The four projects include three graduate student research projects, with students and faculty from Idaho State University (ISU), Boise State University, and The College of Idaho. Other researchers represented the Environmental Surveillance, Education, and Research Program, and USGS Forest and Range Ecosystem Science Center.
One of the projects received funding from DOE-ID through the Environmental Surveillance, Education, and Research Program (ESER). In addition, all projects received in-kind support (logistics, badging, and training) from DOE-ID through ESER. Other funding sources included the National Science Foundation, ISU, USGS – Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center, USGS – Northwest Climate Science Center, and the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History at The College of Idaho.
Most of the DOE-ID-funded research and much of the research funded by other agencies addresses land management issues applicable to the INL Site. These issues include preparing for potential Endangered Species Act listings, understanding wildland fire effects, minimizing invasive species impacts, and understanding long-term trends in plant community composition, sagebrush health, and potential effects of climate change.