Habitat Restoration

U.S. Department of Energy, Restoring a Riparian Zone and Improving Habitat along the Hanford Reach, Washington Closure Hanford 

As Hanford Site buildings and other structures are demolished or removed, as part of the cleanup effort, EAS biologists are called upon to revegetate, restore and mitigate riparian and upland habitats.  Generally, excavated waste sites are backfilled to grade to restore the existing topography.  EAS saw an opportunity existed to improve the quality of habitat by recontouring the excavation to vary the topography.

As the field team’s experience showed, some plants and animals prefer to use natural or man-made areas with hills and valleys. Micro-habitats created by variations in topography benefit a variety of plants and animals. These may include temperature moderation, relief from climatic extremes (high wind and temperature), shade relief, shelter from predation, and burrowing opportunities. The EAS approach to restoring the site not only increased the diversity of habitat along the river corridor, but it also costs the client less than standard backfilling.