Modernizing America’s Biological Research Centers
Gabrielson Laboratory received upgrades at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
Many U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) biological research centers have outdated or obsolete equipment and facilities and require construction updates to support fish health and aquaculture research and to improve energy and cost efficiencies.
Recovery Act Funding
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the USGS will receive a total of $17.8 million for construction activities to biological research centers. This includes funding for the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, the Columbia Environmental Research Center in Missouri, and the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in Wisconsin. The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is housed on the Patuxent Research Refuge operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), who is also receiving funds for improvements.
The Patuxent Facilities Modernization Program provides a good example of the benefits of modernizing research centers. This program will consolidate and co-locate FWS and USGS staff into certified energy-efficient buildings and build new animal research facilities that meet modern standards, resulting in improved research capability and substantially reduced operating costs. Plans include a new administrative facility for the FWS Division of Migratory Bird Management, a new state-of-the-art laboratory and administrative building for both the research center and refuge, and adaptive reuse of some historic structures. Current facilities have been in use since the 1930s. Funds will also be used for archaeological, historical, and cultural assessments and mitigation of impacts of construction on this historic wildlife refuge.
USGS scientists who work at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center conduct innovative research on contaminants and wildlife, endangered species, wind power and wildlife, adaptive management, wildlife disease, native bee populations, and migratory birds. This refuge and research center is America’s first wildlife experiment station, hosts the largest USGS research facility in the country, and has changed the nation’s view of wildlife and the environment. At this center, scientists have pioneered techniques for raising and later releasing federally endangered whooping cranes in the wild. Patuxent was the research home to Rachel Carson who paved the way for the important ecological studies continuing there today.