Service to remove Bri-Mar Stable at Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Fort River Division

Bri Mar Stable

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced plans to demolish and remove the Bri-Mar Stable, noting that the deteriorating structure is beyond repair and poses a major safety threat to refuge staff and visitors. See more images.


UPDATE 1/6/2020: Service demolishes Bri-Mar Stable at Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Fort River Division 


On Dec. 4, 2019 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans to demolish and remove Bri-Mar Stable at the Fort River Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Hadley, Mass., noting that the deteriorating structure is beyond repair and poses a major safety threat to refuge staff and visitors.

In its Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the stable removal, the Service’s selected alternative, also known as Alternative C, calls for demolishing the stable before the next nesting season to eliminate the threat of a possible structural failure of the building, potentially when the barn swallows are present. Approximately 40 pairs of barn swallows nested in the stable in 2019. Refuge staff also will restore the site.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act, a FONSI is issued when environmental analysis and review during the EA process find a project to have no significant impacts on the quality of the environment. Per Service policy, the FONSI was made available for a 30 day public review on December 4, 2019. No action will be taken to implement the selected action during the review period. 

In selecting Alternative C, the Service noted the condition of the stable had declined substantially since the release of the EA in March 2019, prompting heightened concerns that the building may collapse. Even a partial building collapse could threaten refuge staff and visitors, possible nesting barn swallows, an adjacent refuge building with stored equipment for the refuge complex, and the main electrical power transformer for the refuge located adjacent to the building.

Acknowledging local concerns about the fate of barn swallows that have inhabited the stable during nesting season, refuge staff will continue working to provide suitable habitat and nesting areas for the birds in other locations on refuge land and within the larger Connecticut River watershed area.

The EA was available for a 56-day public review and comment period during which 751 comments were submitted. In addition, the Service hosted an informational meeting during the public comment period, providing a forum to share information, discuss ideas and answer questions about the project.

News release 
Frequently asked questions (PDF)
Finding of No Significant Impact for the Removal of Bri-Mar Stable (December 2019) (PDF)
Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Removal of Bri-Mar Stable (March 2019) (PDF)
Barn Swallow Nesting Biology at Bri Mar Stable, Hadley, Massachusetts During 2019 (pdf)
Images