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Aspen FACE Policy on Site Access

Aspen FACE is a restricted access Federal facility. Users should contact Mark Kubiske to arrange for access keys. One key will be issued to each research group. Keys are the property of the US Government and their return is expected at the close of research activities.

Guests are welcomed at the facility if accompanied at all times by a qualified user.

Aspen FACE Policy on Site Use

New researchers are welcome at Aspen FACE. We strongly encourage the exploration of new ideas at our site, as well as collaboration with those presently conducting research here. However, as with all large group research endeavors, careful coordination is a necessity. Please read carefully the Policy on Research Proposals below. Keys to the facility will be issued only if the investigator has been provided with a letter from the director and Forest Service representative.

The Aspen FACE site resides at the Harshaw research farm, which is the property of the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station. By entering the facility users and visitors agree to conduct themselves in a professional manner; maintain a safe and comfortable working environment for everyone according to Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) standards; protect the integrity of the experiment as a whole, and of the work of other researchers; and respect the property of local citizens and the peaceful surroundings.

Aspen FACE Policy on Research Proposals

The Aspen FACE Steering Committee policy is to welcome investigators who wish to use the facility as a platform for conducting elevated CO2 and O3 research. For new or unfunded investigations we request that a brief (one or two paragraph), descriptive proposal be submitted to Andrew J. Burton for review by the steering committee.

The steering committee guarantees strict confidentiality of all proposals submitted. We ask that the proposal contain sufficient information to allow the steering committee to assess suitability of the proposed work. The purposes of these proposals are to protect the integrity of the facility and of studies currently under way. Activities that might be of concern include destructive sampling of soils or plant materials, alteration of treatments or the original experimental design, or alteration of the physical and chemical environments. Proposals to introduce potted plants or new plant or insect species into the FACE rings will generally be discouraged. In addition, while it is often desirable to obtain multiple, independent measures of responses, it is also necessary to avoid excessive duplication of effort to the extent possible. Excessive duplication of effort might be considered as either inordinate multiples of different measurements or calculations designed to quantify the same phenomenon, or conducting measurements identical or nearly so to those already being conducted.

Formal proposals submitted to funding agencies for work at the Aspen FACE facility should first be reviewed by the steering committee for the purposes described above. All proposals should include a letter from the director and a US Forest Service representative agreeing to allow access to the facility. Keys to the facility will be issued only if the investigator has been provided with a letter from the director and Forest Service representative. Full proposals submitted to funding agencies will be kept on file at Michigan Tech. Funded proposals may be referred to by the steering committee in the preparation of annual reports to DOE, USFS, or other funding partners of the facility.

Aspen FACE Policy and Agreement on Safety

The Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment (NFEE) is funded by the US Forest Service. The Aspen FACE facility is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research and the U.S. Forest Service Northern Global Change Program and Northern Research Station. The facility resides at the Harshaw research farm, which is the property of the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station. It is the responsibility of the Department of Energy and the Forest Service to require strict adherence to Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations by all persons conducting work at the facility.

By entering the grounds of the Aspen FACE facility, all persons agree to follow safety regulations as described in the Aspen FACE Safety Manual, which meets or exceeds OSHA standards for safe work environments. In addition, personnel are required to sign the acknowledgement and agreement form located at the back of the Aspen FACE Safety Manual before site access will be issued.

We urge you to take these safety precautions seriously. Aside from the fact that they are the law, they will help to ensure that your research, as well as the research of many others, will continue efficiently and effectively. It is to everyone’s benefit to ensure that safety precautions are followed. One serious accident will impact everyone!

Further safety information is contained in the US Forest Service Job Hazard Analyses and the Aspen FACE Safety Manual.

Specific Safety Concerns

Exposure to elevated ozone

Six of the twelve rings at Aspen FACE regularly are fumigated with elevated concentrations of atmospheric ozone (O3). The target treatment concentration of O3 in those rings, designated as treatments x.3 and x.4, is usually less than 100 ppb at plot center. However, users should be aware that O3 concentrations near and around the vertical vent pipes may be extremely high. The OSHA standard for exposure to atmospheric O3 is a time-weighted average of 100 ppb over an 8 hour period (OSHA regulations 1910.134). Exposure beyond the standard requires the use of a suitable respirator.

By definition, the fiber dust masks we have used in the past are considered respirators. Suitable respirators are available from the US Forest Service Laboratory in Rhinelander (contact Mark Kubiske). In order to use a respirator, a Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire must be completed and evaluated by a health care professional. We recommend you contact the Occupational Medicine unit at your local hospital or clinic where staff are familiar with the OSHA forms and will know the correct diagnoses. It is recommended that users complete the medical clearance at their home locations – contact the occupational health staff at your local medical facilities. Following review of the questionnaire, the medical staff will either issue approval for using a respirator, or request a more thorough medical examination. Once medical approval is issued, a copy of the dated and signed approval letter (not the questionnaire that contains personal medical information) must be kept on file at the Forest Service lab in Rhinelander.

According to OSHA regulations, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide and pay for medical clearance.

Should medial approval for respirator use be denied, it is suggested that work in the ozone rings be planned to occur in the early morning or late evening hours when fumigation is minimal, or during rainy or overcast days. If work in the ozone rings must occur during midday on sunny days when ozone fumigation would normally occur, we can turn off the ozone fumigation in specific rings. However, doing so interrupts the experimental treatments, impacts the entire experiment, and is therefore normally discouraged.

Climbing and Working on the Canopy Access Scaffolds

Each ring in the aspen FACE experiment contains a system of three scaffolds adjoined by elevated work platforms or catwalks providing access to the forest canopy. According to OSHA regulations, a fall arrest system must be used at elevations above six feet. A safety harness and “climbing buddy” must be used when ascending and descending the scaffolds. A safety harness must also be worn and secured with a lanyard at all times when working on the movable, temporary platforms that affix within the scaffolds. A safety harness is not required for working on the fixed catwalks that adjoin the scaffolds (those with the rails and kick plates).

Anyone climbing or working on the canopy access scaffold must complete the climbing safety course with Forest Service personnel. The course is approximately 1 hour. Contact Mark Kubiske to schedule a time. Plan ahead. Training periods will be scheduled to efficiently accommodate several individuals. Do not expect that training can occur at any time.

A limited number of safety harnesses and climbing buddies are available for check out at the Forest Service Lab. Equipment will only be checked out to those who have completed the training. We strongly recommend that those making frequent or extensive use of the scaffold purchase their own equipment. Contact Mark Kubiske or Wendy Jones for ordering information.

Authors making use of data from Aspen FACE agree to include the following acknowledgement in publication:

Aspen FACE is principally supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Grant No. DE-FG02-95ER62125 to Michigan Technological University, and Contract No. DE-AC02-98CH10886 to Brookhaven National Laboratory, the U.S. Forest Service Northern Global Change Program and Northern Research Station, Michigan Technological University, and Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service.

The Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment (NFEE) is funded by the US Forest Service. The Aspen FACE Experiment is funded principally by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research. Additional support is from the USFS Global Change Program, Michigan Technological University, the Canadian Forest Service and the USFS Northern Research Station.
For more information on this project, contact Dr. Andrew J. Burton (Michigan Technological University) at (906) 487-2566 or mailto:ajburton@mtu.edu, or Dr. Mark E. Kubiske (North Central Research Station) at (715) 362-1108 or mailto:mkubiske@fs.fed.us.
For questions or suggestions regarding this website, please contact Wendy Jones at mailto:wsjones@mtu.edu.
Last updated: November, 2012