Rocky Mountain Arsenal
National Wildlife Refuge
|6550 Gateway Road
Commerce City, CO 80022
Phone Number: 303-289-0930
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|The reintroduction of American bison at the Refuge marks the return of an animal that was once a key component of prairie ecosystems.|
Continued . . . Through twists and turns of history, land that was once inhabited by Plains Indians tribes and then farmed by settlers was transformed into a chemical weapons manufacturing facility. This facility was known as the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.
When chemical weapons production wound down at the end of World War II, part of the facility was leased to Shell Chemical Company for the production of herbicides and pesticides. Military and civilian production ceased in 1982, and in 1987, an environmental cleanup of the Arsenal began in earnest. These clean-up efforts may continue to 2011, funded by the U.S. Army and the Shell Oil Company.
In 1986, a communal roost of bald eagles was discovered at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, prompting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to become deeply involved. Public interest triggered an intense and successful grassroots effort to have the Arsenal declared a national wildlife refuge. The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Act set aside the 27 square-mile cleanup site as a future urban wildlife refuge after cleanup is completed around 2011.
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