The former Feed Materials Production Center in Fernald, Ohio, just 20 miles from Cincinnati, processed uranium as part of our country's nuclear weapons program from 1951 to 1989. When production at the site ceased, cleanup and environmental remediation began. Today, the once-contaminated site is home to the Fernald Preserve, more than 1,000 acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat, covered in seven miles of trails for birders, hikers and photographers.
Joining us to explore the history of the Fernald site are Jane Powell, former site manager with the Department of Energy; Department of Energy support contractor and Ecological Manager, John Homer; Thomas Schneider,EPA Division of Air Pollution Control supervisor and Fernald/Paddys Run Conservation Project Manager; and Lisa Crawford, a nearby resident who was a leader in an effort to close and clean up the plant.
There was a time not long ago when wetland areas were thought of as useless, or worse, breeding grounds for disease. But wetlands provide values no other ecosystem can, including natural water quality improvement, flood protection, and shoreline erosion control, along with the opportunities they give us to examine and enjoy nature. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Director Thane Maynard speaks with Brian Jorg, the Zoo's Manager of Horticulture, about the vital role wetland areas play in our ecosystem, and ongoing efforts to preserve and restore them.
The Cincinnati Zoo is so much more than animals. Not only is it a leading botanical garden, but there are offsite programs to help protect and reclaim the environment. TheirEcOhio sustainability program works around the Zoo in Avondale, but also at the Bowyer Farm in Warren County, where a recently completed wetland reclamation project has returned 24 acres to its natural habitat. Brian Jorg led this initiative and he’s Thane Maynard’s guest on today’s Field Notes.