Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region


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

 June 8, 2010                              



Michael Mascari, USFWS spokesman (303) 236-4336,

Cris Dippel, Refuge Manager, (970) 365-3613, ext 101

Steve Cross, Sunspot Solar (303) 526-0100

Richard Hayes, Patrick Albin Carlson,


Nearly $1 Million in Stimulus at Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge provides boosts to Colorado businesses


Maybell, Colo. – Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge will see nearly $1 million of Recovery Act money to work on two major projects. Work begins this week and will continue through the summer, providing the local area with an economic boost. Two Colorado based companies won competitive bids to complete the projects.


The refuge will replace three irrigation pumps and add an additional one. Patrick Albin Carlson Joint Venture LLC of Loveland, Colorado, will work on the $800,000 project to replace three irrigation pumps and to add a fourth. Golden-based Sun Spot Solar will add renewable energy features to the refuge’s facilities.


“We are very fortunate to receive stimulus money at Browns Park,” said refuge manager Cris Dippel. “Projects of this scope cost a pretty good chunk of change and getting funding otherwise would be quite difficult. The funds will allow us to address present and future needs, and saves us time, money and resources that we can use elsewhere on the refuge.”


The pumps help create better habitat by allowing the refuge to control water and maintain wetlands. The refuge will use the pumps for cottonwood grove regeneration as well. The older pumps required daily physical maintenance, requiring the staff to make a three-hour round trip to the furthest pump site daily. The self-lubricating system design will save the refuge $40 per day on oil, plus vehicle fuel and maintenance costs.


The refuge will also see an investment into the future by using renewable energy sources from the panels and turbine. Golden-based Sun Spot Solar will install solar panels and a wind turbine on several of the structures at the refuge. Workers will put solar panels on an irrigation pump, and place panels on the bunkhouse, and the shop building. A wind turbine at the office building will generate power for the building.


The $150,000 project will save the government money in heating and energy costs. Browns Park presently spends $10-12,000 dollars per year, or $31 per day to operate each irrigation pump. The refuge manager Cris Dippel expects the panels to generate enough power to fulfill 90 percent of the refuge’s use. Excess energy will return to the power grid and earn the Service credits on its bills. 



The Service dedicated $2.5 million in its eight-state Mountain-Prairie Region for energy projects, as part of a plan to achieve federal mandates for renewable energy under the Energy Policy Act 2005.


The economy may be showing signs of recovery, but many businesses are still struggling. These Recovery Act projects should not only benefit the refuge, but should benefit the two Colorado companies.


“It will help us by giving us some solid work, and it should also help the American economy,” said Sun Spot Solar owner Steve Cross. “All of our equipment is U.S.-made and purchasing materials helps other U.S. businesses. Schott Solar of Albuquerque makes the solar panels, and the turbine is made in Norman, Oklahoma.  We will also subcontract the excavation locally.


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..


Recovery Act projects address long-standing priority needs identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through its capital planning process.


For a full list of funded projects nationwide, go to the Department’s Recovery Web Site at For a list of Service projects, click on the Service’s logo at the bottom of the page.  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 is spending recovery dollars.  In addition, the public can submit questions, comments or concerns at


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