Hurricane Sandy Recovery
Recovery, restoration & building coastal resilience
Owl at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge - Dave Sagan/USFWS
Recovery hammer

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Location: Basking Ridge, NJ

Project: Provide Backup Power - Generator, Solar and Electrical Improvements

Project type: Recovery

Project status: In progress

Funding awarded: $686,594

Project Summary

This project will provide backup and solar photovoltaic power to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

Conservation / Restoration Goals

  • Supply reliable ancillary power sources to FWS buildings
  • Utilize renewable (solar) electrical systems where possible

Project Benefits

  • Ensures reliable backup power to facilities during emergency outages
  • Reduces annual utility bills for FWS facilities, saving taxpayer dollars
  • Reduces FWS facilities' carbon footprints

Additional Details

This project is one of many regionally planned electrical upgrades to facilities at National Wildlife Refuges and other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stations. Hurricane Sandy and previous storms have knocked out power to headquarters, visitor centers, maintenance buildings, staff housing and supporting structures including garages and visitor restrooms. Outages have damaged sensitive electronic equipment, disabled heating and cooling and resulted in burst frozen water pipes. Equipping buildings with backup generators will enable them to weather outages more effectively and serve as resources for their communities for communications and emergency coordination efforts. In addition, stations equipped with photovoltaic solar panels will see their dependency on off-site power grids reduced or eliminated. Solar power systems will also reduce facilities' carbon footprints and save taxpayer dollars through reduced utility bills.

Recovery hammer

Project: Repair Buildings and Trails

Project type: Recovery

Project status: Complete

Funding awarded: $569,997

Project Summary

This project will repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to buildings and trails at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

Conservation / Restoration Goals

  • Restore visitor access
  • Repair staff housing
  • Responsibly maintain designated wilderness area

Project Benefits

  • Restores staff and visitor access, facilities and opportunities to observe wildlife
  • Mitigates public safety concerns
  • Repairs and upgrades refuge infrastructure
  • Engages area youth in educational outdoor conservation activities

Additional Details

Hurricane Sandy damaged a boardwalk, a foot bridge and trails at the refuge's Wildlife Observation Center and blew down trees, blocking wilderness trails and refuge roads. Refuge buildings, including the headquarters, staff housing, cement plant, maintenance shop, pole barn, Visitor center and visitor contact station were damaged, along with the automatic gate. Refuge staff and contractors will repair or replace damaged roofs, siding and chimneys on refuge buildings; purchase a wood chipper and forestry cutter attachment for skid steer to open trails outside the wilderness area and replace wood chips on trails with more stable material to help prevent washout during future storms. Additionally, the refuge will purchase tools and sponsor a U.S. Forest Service workshop during which students will clear blocked trails in the wilderness area with "traditional tools." The Great Swamp Wilderness Act of 1968 established a portion of the refuge as the first wilderness area designated within the Department of the Interior.

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Last updated: November 6, 2016