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Large brick building.
Information icon Mammoth Spring Aquatic Conservation Center. Photo by Sara Seagraves, USFWS.

Southeast Region snags Environmental Leadership awards

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region swept both of the Interior’s 2017 Environmental Leadership awards for energy conservation accomplishments in 2016. Congratulations to Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge and Mammoth Springs National Fish Hatchery, both located in Arkansas, for facility upgrades that won them Refuge of the Year and Fish Hatchery of the Year, respectively. Both facilities achieved LEED Silver status from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2016.

Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge

Dale Bumpers White River’s 10,000-square-foot visitor center received several needed upgrades. The center’s improvements included removing the old fiberglass insulation from the interior roof deck and replacing it with closed cell spray foam insulation and designing and implementing a state-of-the-art heating-ventilation-cooling system with maximum efficiency and fully programmable climate control abilities. Other features included upgrading interior lighting from incandescent and fluorescent to LED, installing occupancy sensors,and designing and using a standalone solar photovoltaic system tied into the grid by a reversible meter.

Visitors center with a green metal roof.
Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Photo by USFWS.

The largest driver of the refuge’s energy reduction was the ground-mounted, solar PV array installation coupled with a reversible meter and utility provider agreement. This system generates constant power and feeds energy back into the meter, reversing overall energy consumption. When the PV array generates more power than consuming, the energy reverses the meter and energy credits are issued to the refuge.

Visitors center with a green metal roof.
Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Photo by Bo Sloan, USFWS.

The refuge has about 275,000 visitors annually. The PV system’s four rows of solar panels are situated on the lawn near the entrance of the center, reminding people that the Service is leading by example to reduce overall carbon emissions.

Mammoth Spring Aquatic Conservation Center

Although the community of Mammoth Spring only has 979 residents, the Mammoth Spring Aquatic Conservation Center is part of a fish hatchery that generates more than $1.5 million dollars annually. The money comes from taxes, jobs created, and retail sales (gas, food, lodging, rods and reels, and bait and tackle), all of which are created because of the recreational fish stocked out of Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery

The hatchery’s $4-million-dollar, 7,785 square foot, energy-efficient Aquatic Conservation Center includes interactive and fun exhibits that educate and promote aquatic conservation, environmental awareness, and sustainable building practices. About 100,000 visitors and 42 school groups have visited the new center annually since it opened in April 2014.

Families take a close look into wildlife exhibits.
Aquatic exhibits in the Mammoth Spring Aquatic Conservation Center. Photo by USFWS.

Some of the center’s energy-saving features include: a geoexchange heating, cooling, and ventilation system that uses 58-degree water from Mammoth Spring; an energy recovery ventilation system to pre-heat or pre-cool incoming outdoor fresh air; and a reflective metal roof to reduce cooling season loads. Others include low flow toilets that repurpose water used previously for heating and cooling the building; natural interior daylighting through the strategic placement of windows; fluorescent and LED interior lighting; occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lights in unoccupied rooms; use of native plants; low-VOC content interior materials to provide enhanced indoor air quality; the use of material from a deconstructed hatchery barn previously located on the current building site, and the use of recycled-content furniture. In addition, half of all materials used for the building’s construction were recycled.

Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge and Mammoth Spring Aquatic Conservation Center will each receive a commemorative wooden plaque and a trophy which rotates annually to DOI Hatchery or Refuge of the Year winners.


Elsie Davis, Public Affairs Specialist, (404) 679-7107

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