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Wildlife at Brookhaven

Wildlife Protection

The Laboratory has precautions in place to protect on-site habitats and natural resources. Activities to eliminate or minimize negative effects on sensitive or critical species are either incorporated into BNL procedures or into specific program or project plans. Environmental restoration efforts remove pollutant sources that could contaminate habitats.

Human access to critical habitats is limited. In some cases, habitats are enhanced to improve survival or increase populations. Even routine activities such as road maintenance are not undertaken until they have been evaluated and determined to be unlikely to affect habitat.

Under BNL’s Natural Resource Management Program, the Laboratory focuses on protecting New York State threatened and endangered species on site, and continuing it’s leadership role within the greater Long Island Central Pine Barrens ecosystem.

A wide variety of vegetation, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals inhabit the BNL site. The only New York State endangered species confirmed at the Laboratory is the eastern tiger salamander, although the Persius duskywing butterfly and the crested fringed orchid have been identified on site in the past. Several New York State threatened species identified at the Laboratory include the banded sunfish, swampdarter (a fish), stiff goldenrod plant, and northern harrier. The Pine Barrens bluet was confirmed at one of the many coastal plain ponds located on site in 2005. The frosted elfin butterfly has been identified as possibly being at the Laboratory, based on historic documentation and the presence of its preferred habitat and host plant (wild lupine). In addition, stargrass has historically been found and is likely to persist. Several other species that are listed by New York State as rare, species of special concern, or exploitably vulnerable are known to inhabit the site, visit during migration, or have historically been identified.