FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2011
Ken Block, 402-957-8953, Kenneth_Block@fws.gov
Tina Shaw, 612-713-5331, Tina_Shaw@fws.gov
Community Pulls Together to Secure Historic Bertrand Collection
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge is working in partnership with private landowners, volunteers and partners to protect areas of the Missouri River flood plain threatened by rising Missouri River levels. Due to projected river conditions, all areas of the DeSoto Refuge including the visitor center are closed to the public.
Preparation efforts would not have been possible without the recent construction of a temporary emergency levee both on the refuge and on adjacent private lands. Levee construction began three weeks ago and involved many local partners, including neighboring landowners. The temporary levee is providing private landowners and refuge staff much needed time to prepare for projected Missouri River water level rises and evacuation efforts. Water levels and levee conditions change daily. Refuge staff will continue to monitor conditions in consultation with local law enforcement and emergency response personnel.
“We had equipment operators from around the region working long days constructing and fortifying the two-mile temporary emergency levee,” notes Chief of Refuges for the Midwest Region Rick Schultz. “With fire crews, administrative technicians and maintenance staff packing priceless artifacts one moment and laying sandbags the next, this really has been an all hands on deck effort for the Refuge and local community,” said Schultz.
The evacuation of the Steamboat Bertrand collection from the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is now complete. Artifacts have been packed and transported to a secure off-site storage facility. More than 130 volunteers assisted in the effort logging more than 900 volunteer hours. The evacuation would not have been possible without the hard work of these dedicated community volunteers.
“I would personally like to thank everyone for their time and energy, whether it be with the temporary levee construction or the care of the Bertrand collection, the dedication was phenomenal,” said DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Manager Tom Cox.
Organizations that provided volunteers include Blair Community Schools, Washington County Historical Association, Friends of Boyer Chute and DeSoto National Wildlife Refuges, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Country Bible Church in Blair, Nebraska Master Naturalists, Danish Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, Midwest Archeological Center in Lincoln, NE and many other community volunteers. Check out DeSoto Refuge preparedness images at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest/sets/72157626881073511/.
The safety of all refuge staff, personnel and volunteers is the refuge’s top priority. Refuge headquarters will be temporarily relocated following evacuation.
For additional information and the latest updates on refuge operations please check DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Web site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/desoto/ or the Refuge’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/DeSoto-and-Boyer-Chute-National-Wildlife-Refuges/219834194699933.
For more information on the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visit http://midwest.fws.gov.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwmidwest, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwsmidwest, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
Connect with our Facebook page at facebook.com/usfwsmidwest, follow our tweets at twitter.com/usfwsmidwest, watch our YouTube Channel at youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest.