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Category: Publications: Construction Engineering and Research Laboratory (CERL)
  • You can go your own way: No evidence for social behavior based on kinship or familiarity in captive juvenile box turtles

    Abstract: Behavioral interactions between conspecific animals can be influenced by relatedness and familiarity. To test how kinship and familiarity influenced social behavior in juvenile Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina), 16 captive-born individuals were reared under semi-natural conditions in four equally sized groups, where each group comprised pairs of siblings and non-siblings. Using separation distance between pairs of turtles in rearing enclosures as a measure of gregariousness, we found no evidence suggesting siblings more frequently interacted with one another compared to non-relatives over the first five months of life. Average pair separation distance decreased during this time but may have been due to turtles aggregating around resources like heat and moist retreat areas as colder temperatures approached. At eight months old, we again measured repeated separation distances between unique pair combinations and similarly found no support for associations being influenced by kinship. Agonistic interactions between individuals were never observed. Based on our results, group housing and rearing of juvenile box turtles did not appear to negatively impact their welfare. Unlike findings for other taxa, our results suggest strategically housing groups of juvenile T. carolina to maintain social stability may not be an important husbandry consideration when planning releases of captive-reared individuals for conservation purposes.
  • Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Facility Data Exchange Pilot Expansion to BUILDER SMS

    Abstract: The Army has many enterprise Operation and Maintenance (O&M) systems that require manual input of the same facility data collected through-out the facility life cycle. This manual input of data costs Army installations valuable time and labor. A standardized approach to deliver the O&M information in a consistent, accurate, timely, and digital method for expedited input into the numerous systems is needed. A United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)-led team consisting of O&M subject matter experts within USACE and industry developed a standardized process for collecting and exchanging facility data for downstream applications. The process is defined in the Engineering and Construction Bulletin (ECB) 2018-6 and includes utilization of Unified Facilities Guide Specification (UFGS) 01 78 24.00 10. An initial pilot study verified that asset data collected during facility construction could effectively be imported into the Army General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS). This second pilot study focused on facilitating the import of facility asset and equipment data collected during construction into the BUILDER Sustainment Management System (SMS) web-based software application. The project scope included investigation of current Army installations’ processes as they relate to BUILDER SMS as well as initial testing of information transfer approaches.
  • Southern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomys volans) as Major Predators of Avian Nest Boxes

    Abstract: Bird population dynamics are strongly affected by the ability to successfully reproduce, and nest predation is the primary cause of reproductive failure for most birds. Efforts to understand nest predation and manage its effects on species of conservation concern require knowledge of the ecology of associated predator assemblages. Recently, studies using cameras to record events at nests have illuminated this previously under-studied avian life stage, but such studies have been largely limited to open-cup nests. Cavity nests may be depredated by a different suite of predators and incubating or brooding females occupying such nests may be more vulnerable to predation relative to open-cup nests. Here, we used motion-activated, infrared trail cameras to record predators of artificial nest boxes in a Pinus palustris Mill. (Longleaf Pine) forest in southern Alabama. Although Glaucomys Volans L. (Southern Flying Squirrel) have only rarely been captured on film preying on nests, we found them to be responsible for the vast majority (84%) of bird-nest depredations at nest boxes, and these depredations contributed to a surprisingly low overall rate of nest success (~20%). These results may have implications for the conservation of birds that nest in artificial cavities in Longleaf Pine forests and highlight the importance of further studies on predator assemblages and their effects on nesting birds.
  • Soil and Vegetation Responses to Amendment with Pulverized Classified Paper Waste

    Abstract: The United States Army produces a significant amount of classified paper waste that is pulverized to a fine consistency unsuitable for recycling. However, cheap, high quality organic materials such as classified paper waste are useful as soil amendments. The objective of this research was to evaluate the utilization of pulverized classified paper waste as a soil amendment to improve soil health and increase establishment of desirable native grasses on degraded Army training lands. Paper was applied at rates of 9 to 72 Mg ha-1 to two soil types at Fort Polk, LA: an alfisol (very fine sandy loam - Fine, smectitic, thermic Chromic Vertic Hapludalfs) and an ultisol (loamy fine sandy - Loamy, siliceous, semiactive, thermic Arenic Paleudults). These are common soil orders found on military training lands nationwide and represent fertile (alfisol) and unfertile (ulitsol) soils. Vegetation and soils were monitored over 2 growing seasons. No increase in heavy metals were observed in soils. Extensive analysis showed very low levels of regulated contaminants in the paper, but most were below detection limits. The ultisol site showed improved soil physical and chemical properties, while desirable vegetation benefitted from nutrient immobilization at the alfisol site. Based on the results of this study, applying pulverized paper waste to soil at a rate of 35.9 Mg ha-1 is recommended. Application of paper waste to soils had no adverse environmental effects, improved soil physiochemical properties, and facilitated establishment of desirable native vegetation.
  • Evaluation of the Wharton & Northern Railroad

    Abstract: The Wharton & Northern Railroad was founded in 1905 and combined a series of existing railroads that carried iron ore from the mines located to the south of Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. The section of the line north of Picatinny Arsenal was abandoned by Conrail in 1976. The same year, the section of the line south of the Arsenal reverted to Army control and ceased to be utilized. It is the recommendation of the authors of this report that the Wharton & Northern Railroad right-of-way (ROW) is not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) due to the prior demolition of bridges, trestles, yards, and stations throughout. There are certain archaeological sites associated with the railroad that need to be investigated further for Criterion D, such as the Arsenal, Fac-tory, Navy Depot, and Lake Denmark stations. These archeological sites may be eligible for the NRHP due to their association with the Wharton & Northern, but those determinations were beyond the purview of this report.
  • Deconstruction Feasibility Assessment of Warehouse District Facilities at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

    Abstract: The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL) and Fort Leonard Wood, MO, are in the sixth year of efforts to plan and implement a program in support of installation sustainability. As part of this effort, ERDC-CERL personnel supported the Fort Leonard Wood Directorate of Public Works (DPW) by conducting a deconstruction assessment of multiple buildings in the warehouse district. The project delivery team visited Fort Leonard Wood in April 2017 to conduct quantity take-offs of the buildings. An abbreviated interim report that focused exclusively on Bldgs. 2338 and 2339 was pro-vided to the Chief, Master Planning Branch, at that time. These two buildings were representative of the majority of the buildings in the assessment and thus became the model that we describe in detail in the sections below. Differences between the other warehouses and the model are discussed. Several buildings that had configurations different from that of the model were evaluated independently.