Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and its new solar photovoltaic array. Photo by USFWS.

The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and its new solar photovoltaic array. Photo by USFWS.

Two Rivers and Big Stone National Wildlife Refuges
Earn Environmental Leadership Awards

The headquarters and visitor center at Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, and John Mabery and the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge tire recycling program were both selected as winners of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Leadership Awards in 2015.

Service Director Dan Ashe recently announced the winners of the awards, for activities during fiscal year 2014, and given to Service employees, organizations and contractors for leadership in environmental protection and management.

Regional Director Tom Melius said, “These awards are but a reminder of the outstanding and innovative professionals we have working in the Midwest Region. Congratulations to each for their continual hard work in developing great alternatives and problem solving options toward environmental protection.”

Big Stone Headquarters and Visitor Center

In 2012 a facility assessment was performed on the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge headquarters building. The heating system was failing. The floor plan consisted of three garage bays on the west end of the building and office space on the east end. The office space was too small for efficient operations by staff and it did not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, yet the refuge needed the garage bays, also, to carry out the refuge operations. For a solution, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contracted to provide an engineering design to convert the three garage bays to office space and construct a new maintenance building to replace the garage space.

The project was completed in August of 2013: a completely renovated, 6,100-square foot, high performance headquarters/visitor center that is a model of sustainable design excellence. And along with it, a separate 3,711-square foot maintenance building to replace the old garage area.

Both buildings include super insulated walls and roofs, insulated metal doors, passive solar architecture, daylighting; low-e glazed windows, high efficiency lighting, electronic ballasts, occupancy sensors and photocell light savings devices. Eight roof mounted solatube tubular daylighting devices harness natural sunlight and provide additional savings in lighting.

Renewable energy features include a 34 ton geothermal ground source heat pump system. Water conservation features include low-flush toilets in the restrooms and flow restrictors on all faucets. Parking lot and roof runoff drain naturally to rain gardens with native vegetation that provides butterfly habitat and enhances wildlife interpretation.

Total building energy savings for the headquarters building alone shows a 56.86 percent reduction in energy consumption and 74 percent reduction in energy costs as compared to an equivalent baseline code compliant building. It is projected that over the course of 20 years, the geothermal system will produce a return on investment of approximately $50,000. At the same time, the geothermal system reduces the building’s carbon footprint by 52 tons or 47 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The solar photovoltaic arrays will provide renewable power which will offset 25 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Two Rivers Tire Recycling

In July of 2014 Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge completed a tire recycling effort with help from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. John Mabery, project leader at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, spearheaded this effort by contacting David Jensen of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Mabery contacted other public land entities with which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commonly partners to dispose of discarded tires collected on their lands. Discarded tires were received from Illinois Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Great River Land Trust, along with tires from various refuges: Two Rivers, Middle Mississippi River and Great River.

The project initially started at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge following the flood of 2013. Among the flood debris deposited on the refuge and throughout the floodplain after high water events were old discarded tires. They included car tires, tractor tires, all terrain vehicle tires, etc. Refuge staff and volunteers collected about 150 tires found on the refuge.

A total of 14.92 tons of tires were stockpiled at the maintenance yard of the refuge. At project’s end, the tires were headed to Marion, Kentucky, transported by Earth Services, where they were shredded and re-purposed. Metal rims were also recycled.

By Larry Dean
Regional Office - External Affairs

Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge’s new maintenance building which is heated by the ground source geothermal system housed in the headquarters building. Photo by USFWS.

Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge’s new maintenance building which is heated by the ground source geothermal system housed in the headquarters building. Photo by USFWS.

The rain gardens near the headquarters building. Photo by USFWS.

The rain gardens near the headquarters building. Photo by USFWS.

The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and maintenance building. Photo by USFWS.

The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and maintenance building. Photo by USFWS.

 

Last updated: January 6, 2016