Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

Official Web page of the U S Fish and Wildlife ServiceRecoverylogo_hi-res.jpg                                              U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                                                                     Mountain-Prairie  Region        

 

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release:                                                                                                                                                    FFS# R6BE/HW        

April 29, 2010

 

Contact: Michael Mascari, (303) 236-4336,

michael_mascari@fws.gov

Forrest Senterfeit (800) 735-7095,

f.senterfeit@mcs-environmental.com

Bill West, Refuge Manager (406) 276-3536 ex. 302

bill_west@fws.gov                    

                           

Recovery Act Construction Projects Build a Better Future for Montana Refuges

 

Lima, MT—The U.S. Fish and Wildlife awarded MCS Environmental approximately $888,000 in stimulus funds for building construction at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and the demolition of an aging structure at Lee Metcalf NWR.

 

MCS will use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 (ARRA) funds to build a residential duplex and garage for Service employees. The refuge will also use the funds to remodel the refuge shop with energy-saving fixtures, new windows and doors and insulation. 

 

“I think this project is very important for long term refuge management,” refuge manager Bill West said. “We have a small staff but we need to house them. This project has been on our needs list for quite some time. I don’t believe we could have gotten this project started anytime soon without ARRA funds.”

 

The refuge currently has four residential buildings, but five full time employees. The new structure allows the staff to live and work on the refuge that otherwise might have to commute more than an hour each way on a gravel road and provide housing for future staff. The commute is treacherous during the winter, and heavy snow often makes the route impassible.

 

Red Rock Lakes is a registered National Natural Landmark. The refuge’s high plains and montane forest provide secluded habitat for trumpeter swans. The trumpeter swan nearly disappeared but thrives today, thanks to the refuge. Long-billed curlews, sandhill cranes, white-faced ibis, Shiras moose and the last native population of Arctic grayling in the continental U.S. reside on the refuge. The refuge has few established trails, and physical facilities are limited to enhance the natural experience of the refuge.

 

The environmentally friendly projects should benefit the economy. MCS project manager Forrest Senterfeit expects his 20-person firm to hire local subcontractors for the project. MCS is a small business specializing in small construction projects in remote areas. The company has experience with energy-efficient Recovery Act projects. This type of work should help position MCS for a better future once the ARRA funding ends.

 

“The Recovery Act has definitely helped a lot. There are more projects out there. Wind, solar and ground source projects were considered luxuries in the past—real high dollar projects that only larger companies were able to do. The stimulus funds allow us to be able to keep people busy while diversifying our company. Hopefully these projects will put in a better position in the future when the economy recovers to do more to grow as a company”.

 

Workers will also demolish an aging residential structure no longer in use at Lee Metcalf NWR in western Montana. The structure contains asbestos, lead paint and mold.  This project is the latest refuge enhancement made possible by ARRA funds. The Service also used stimulus funds to replace a condemned access bridge at Red Rock Lakes last year.

 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received $280 million.

The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President’s plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. 

 

“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery.

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect to 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 questions, comments or concerns email us at recoveryact@fws.gov.  For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.