The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) celebrated “Weapons to Wetlands: A Decade of Difference” at the Fernald Preserve on October 29, 2016. This date marked 10 years since the transition from environmental cleanup to ongoing site maintenance, ecological restoration, and monitoring under the DOE Office of Legacy Management (LM). The event attracted former site workers, neighbors, regulators, activist groups, contractors, and others who gathered to recognize the 10-year anniversary of the successful cleanup mission and subsequent transition to LM. Close to 400 people enjoyed the tours, displays, speeches, and comradery at the “Weapons to Wetlands: A Decade of Difference” event.
|Feed Materials Production Center, circa 1987.||Fernald Preserve, circa 2010.|
|The Fernald Preserve Decade of Difference was held October 29.|
Speakers and guests noted a spirit of pride and cooperation that helped make the site’s cleanup and following ecological restoration successful. Reaching the stakeholders’ collaborative goal to transition the land to a community asset was reason to celebrate. Over two decades of building demolitions, soil remediation, site restoration, and other work transformed the 1,050-acre former uranium production plant into today’s Fernald Preserve with its natural wetland, prairie, and forest habitats. The site now serves as a community asset and LM continues groundwater cleanup, onsite disposal facility maintenance, ecological restoration, environmental monitoring, and facilitating public access. The Fernald Preserve is an example of how an industrial site can be restored with native trees, prairie grasses, and wetlands that support and encourage wildlife habitat. As a community asset, site amenities support the education of current and future generations—a task accomplished through the shared vision of DOE, regulators, and the community.
Guest speakers for the special event included representatives from DOE, current and former stakeholder groups, site contractors, regulators involved in the cleanup, and the Cold War Patriots (CWP). CWP presented a special recognition of the National Day of Remembrance for nuclear weapons program workers, which takes place on October 30 every year.
|Visitors view the Fernald Preserve from the production area overlook, one of the tour|
van stops for the Decade of Difference event.
“The Fernald Preserve is an amazing place. I see how this site has grown, changed, and healed itself and we did it all together,” said Lisa Crawford, a former Fernald Citizens Advisory Board member with Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health and current Fernald Community Alliance member. According to Crawford, the Fernald Preserve has “become a huge community asset that carries on the legacy of Fernald.”