This unique Pine Barrens ecosystem provides a home to more than 220 species of plants and 162 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Under an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, then Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson dedicated the Upton Ecological and Research Reserve as protected habitat.
"Just as Brookhaven served our country with its research into peaceful uses of the atom, today it will assume a new role," said Secretary Richardson. "With the help of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Long Island communities, we are making a public commitment to preserve this land and make it available for educational activities and ecological research. This is the ninth site the Department has reclaimed to ensure natural resources across the country are saved for present and future generations."
The Upton Ecological and Research Reserve is one example of the Department's commitment to protect the environmental assets of its sites. Over 200,000 acres of unique wild lands have been preserved by the Department because of their natural significance. The Pine Barrens land in the Upton Reserve creates a unique ecosystem of forests and wetlands. It provides habitat for approximately 27 endangered, threatened or species of special concern — including the endangered eastern tiger salamander and state-threatened banded sunfish. Other wildlife species of interest that inhabit this area include the wild turkey, red fox, eastern box turtle and the red-tailed hawk.
BNLís Environmental Protection Division in cooperation with the Foundation for Ecological Research in the Northeast (FERN) is currently managing the Upton Ecological and Research Reserve.