Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

August 24, 2009   

Contact:   Bill West 406-276-3536 -  bill_west@fws.gov 
                Sharon Rose 303-236-4580 - sharon_r_rose@fws.gov

             

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Announces Recovery Act Funding for Montana Contractor to Replace Condemned Bridge at the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge


LIMA, MT - A new bridge for visitors and vehicles paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will provide an important access link at the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced today.

 

“Recovery Act investments are putting people to work in this project and throughout the country building trails, restoring habitat, upgrading visitors centers, and protecting national treasures, while leaving a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren,” said Stephen Guertin, Regional Director of the eight-state FWS Mountain-Prairie Region.

 

Recovery Act funding totaling $116,000 will pay for the new bridge across Odell Creek in the Centennial Valley near Lima, Montana.  Several years ago, the old bridge was condemned for vehicle traffic.  The new bridge will provide a safe walking trail access to Sparrow Pond for the public and access for refuge staff and vehicles to maintain water control structures at Sparrow Pond and Sparrow Slough. 

 

The new bridge provides access to the center of the refuge, which is mainly wetlands and will be designed and built by MCS Environmental of Missoula, Montana. Design is already proceeding.  Construction is expected to wrap up this fall.

 

“This bridge will improve our ability to take care of other important property investments on the refuge, and it will provide a safe crossing of the river for refuge visitors.  We have been waiting a long time for funds to complete this project.” said Refuge Manager Bill West.

 

Funding for these projects and hundreds more across the nation comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Of the $3 billion appropriated to the Department of the Interior, the Act provides $280 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – which includes $115 million for construction, repair and energy efficiency retrofit projects at Service facilities, and $165 million for habitat restoration, deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects. The Service will benefit from an additional $10 million, which is administered by the Department of Transportation and is not included in the Service’s $280 million appropriation that will be used to rebuild and improve roads on several national wildlife refuges. Projects will immediately create local jobs in the communities where they are located, while stimulating long-term employment and economic opportunities for the American public.

 

Recovery Act projects address long-standing priority needs identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through its capital planning process. The Service worked through a rigorous merit-based process to identify and prioritize investments meeting the criteria put forth in the Recovery Act: namely, that a project addresses the Department’s highest priority mission needs; generates the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time; and creates lasting value for the American public.

 

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Department of the Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping middle class families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, employing youth and promoting community service.

 

For a full list of funded projects nationwide, go to the Department’s Recovery Web Site at http://recovery.doi.gov/. For a list of Service projects, click on the Service’s logo at the bottom of the page.  Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department of the Interior’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on the recovery web site, which will include an interactive map that enables the public to track where and how the Department’s recovery dollars are being spent.  In addition, the public can submit questions, comments or concerns at recoveryact@fws.gov.

 

Secretary Salazar of the Department of the Interior also appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force.  Henderson and the Task Force will work closely with the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General to ensure the Recovery Program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility and transparency that President Obama has set.

 

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.

###