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.