Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
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Cypress Grove / Stave Island / Georgia Power


The Cypress Grove Set-Aside Area was one of the original ten reserve areas on the SRS and was set aside as a representative of the swamp-forest community type. This Set-Aside was a narrow strip of flooded swamp located downstream of the industrial facilities of T Area and upstream of the intake for pump station No. 3 of the Site river water distribution system. This area was dominated by bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica). Cypress Grove was documented to be contaminated with organic solvents and contaminants resulting from TNX and CMX operations. Additionally, the vegetation in this tract no longer was representative of a mature swamp forest due to impoundment of water by Site facilities. Because of this impoundment of water, there appears to have been a significant loss of mature trees in this area in the last several decades. Because of the impacts of Site operations to this Area, the original Cypress Grove Set-Aside was deleted from the Set-Aside Program in 1997 and replaced with two other areas, both located in the Savannah River swamp.

Both of the replacement tracts are representative of the swamp-forest (floodplain) community, but each differs in its particular attributes. Vegetation of the Stave Island Site (replacement Area #9A) is primarily cypress/tupelo, probably less than 100 years old; this vegetation has been dated to 1907 by the SRFS. Vegetation of the Georgia Power Site (replacement Area #9B) also is primarily cypress/tupelo, ranging from 10-200 years old; the age distribution is bimodal, with peaks occurring at 40-50 years and 120-130 years. In addition, there is a mixture of pines and bottomland hardwoods that occur along a slightly raised ridge within the site and on the natural levy that parallels the Savannah River.

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