High Plains Public Radio

At Pantex Plant, Wildlife Research Thrives

Dec 4, 2015

Credit Texas Department of State Heath Services

The Pantex nuclear warhead storage and disassembly facility outside Amarillo covers 28 square miles. In recent years, many students from West Texas A&M University and Texas Tech have conducted wildlife research on this highly unusual property, reports The Wildlife Professional and the National Nuclear Security Administration blog.

The effort has evolved into a well-regarded wildlife conservation and management program. While Pantex land covers a vast area, most of the nuclear operation is concentrated on less than four square miles. That turns the rest of the land into a de facto nature reserve.

The Pantex plant has provided wildlife biologists with multi-year research contracts. / Projects have included an investigation into the relationship of prairie dog colonies to wildlife diversity and inventories of Texas horned lizards and bobcats. Students have also studied the ecology of a protected rattlesnake population.