For Immediate Release: July 22, 2010
Contact: Phil Kloer, (404) 679-7125, firstname.lastname@example.org
FFS #R4BH, R4BJ, R4MM, R4MH, R4BG
Summerton, S.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded contracts for major wetlands restoration and road repairs at Santee National Wildlife Refuge totaling more than $1.8 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
One contract, for $1,105,742, is awarded to Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure Inc. of Alpharetta, Ga., for repairs to public roads in the refuge. The second contract, for $724,377, is awarded to Ducks Unlimited for improvements to the refuge’s impoundment system that will help it to better manage waterfowl.
“These stimulus-funded improvements will provide needed construction jobs in the area and help boost the region’s economy,” Salazar said. “In addition, the public, including duck hunters, will see the benefits of better roads and better wildlife management.”
Ducks Unlimited is working with refuge staff to design the extensive wetland habitat rehabilitation projects. “This joint venture with Ducks Unlimited brings a second element of wetland management expertise and engineering to the Santee National Wildlife Refuge,” said refuge manager Marc Epstein. “There is a whole community of wildlife that is enhanced when we restore these wetlands.”
When these projects are completed, the refuge will be able to provide improved habitat conditions for numerous species of waterfowl and migratory birds that utilize the refuge as a wintering area, a stop-over point, or as summer nesting grounds. In turn, visitors will have increased opportunities to view these migratory birds undisturbed in their native landscape.
“Ducks Unlimited is happy to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on ARRA projects like this one, because it is a win-win-win situation,” said Dr. Scott C. Yaich, Director of Conservation Operations for Ducks Unlimited. “First, these ARRA funds are being used to address priority needs on national wildlife refuges, and studies have also documented that refuges are significant economic generators for local communities across the country. Second, these projects contribute significantly to meeting the conservation needs of waterfowl and many other wildlife species. And finally, this project puts people to work and directly benefits the local economy, just as ARRA intended. As in all Ducks Unlimited projects, our organization is committed to using local workers and companies as much as possible.”
On the refuge’s Cuddo Unit, the 125-acre Timber Island Field waterfowl habitat improvements includes redesigning the interior dikes, constructing 7,419 feet of new dikes, and rehabilitating 6,469 feet of existing perimeter dike. New water control structures will also be installed to enhance water delivery and management to the restored wetland complex. This project will allow impoundments and adjacent reservoirs to be managed more effectively for migratory bird populations. Additionally, a pumping system and engine will be replaced to allow proper drainage of the impoundment complex.
The refuge’s Bluff Unit is the most heavily used waterfowl area on the refuge. This unit consists of three primary wetland impoundments. The ARRA project will create a fourth impoundment and purchase a mobile pump to help service this system. In concert with the DU/ARRA projects, the refuge staff will be improving water delivery and drainage to these systems including installation of a planned six new water control structures.
The road improvement projects awarded to Shaw will include repairs on the Cuddo and Pine Island units. The roads, which are badly eroded, will be resurfaced and drainage will be enhanced. These roads are used by hunters during hunting season, as well as by the general public, including bicycles and pedestrian hikers.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009 gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior.
The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President’s plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving America’s timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.
“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” Salazar said.
Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery.
Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior’s Inspector General to ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.
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. For questions, comments or concerns email us at email@example.com. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.