April 28, 2000

Richardson Announces 160 Acres of Protected Habitat At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Energy, Interior Departments' Partnership Creates "AmsinckiaGrandiflora Reserve"

Preservation of a unique ecosystem that will provide a home tomore than 300 species of plants and 95 species of mammals, birds,reptiles and amphibians has been achieved through an agreementannounced today by Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson. The agreementwith the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designates 160 acres withinthe Department of Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Livermore NationalLaboratory Site 300 Experimental Test Facility as the Amsinckiagrandiflora Reserve. The Amsinckia grandiflora is an endangeredfloral species commonly known as the large-flowered fiddleneck.

Just as Livermore National Laboratory helped write the nation'shistory in times of tension and conflict, it is today improving thehealth of our environment and leaving a positive legacy for thefuture," said Secretary Richardson. "This site is among many that theEnergy Department and the country are reclaiming from nationaldefense purposes."

This is the latest example of DOE's commitment to protect theenvironmental assets of its sites. Over 178,000 acres of unique wildlands have been preserved by the Energy Department because of theirnatural significance. (See attached fact sheet.)

The Reserve provides critical habitat for more than 300 species ofplants and 95 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.Plants in the Reserve that will be protected include a portion ofincreasingly important native grasses. Part of the Reserve alsoprovides potential habitat for the endangered valley elderberrylonghorn beetle. The Reserve supports the threatened Californiared-legged frog, and may contain potential habitat for the threatenedAlameda whipsnake.

As described in the memorandum of agreement, as the landowner, theEnergy Department will manage the environmental compliance, safety,health, fire protection, access, and cleanup activities, whilelimiting the future programmatic use of the area. The U.S. Fish andWildlife Service will manage the recovery efforts for the endangeredAmsinckia grandiflora resources within the area, and provideexpertise and technical advice to DOE for the Reserve‚secological management.

The proclamation and its associated memorandum of agreement,signed by Secretary Richardson and Wayne White of the U.S. Departmentof the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service, and Dr. Diana Jacobs ofthe State of California's Department of Fish and Game,institutionalize and raise to a higher level DOE's commitment tomaintain and protect the Reserve for present and future generations.Preservation efforts officially began in 1985 with a critical habitatdesignation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and continued in1997 with approval of the Amsinckia Recovery Plan.