- Replace deteriorated Big Lake NWR Headquarters Building (FFS #R4GG)
- Repair Retaining Wall (FFS #R4GH)
- Replace old damaged Big Lake NWR shop/equipment storage/pole shed (FFS #R4KT)
Initial Project Description: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS, the Service) will use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) funds to replace the headquarters building, repair a retaining wall, and replace a shop building at Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).
The Service contracted with K-Con, Inc., a small business, to replace the headquarters building and shop at Big Lake NWR. K-Con will demolish the outdated headquarters building, and replace it with a new building to include a visitor contact station. According to Central Arkansas NWR Complex Refuge Manager, Jonathan Windley, the visitor contact station will “offer a special room for school groups where we provide education on the environmental work being done at the refuge, as well as an information desk for volunteers to greet the public and help explain the refuge’s assets and activities. [It] will also have interpretive wildlife displays and office space for staff.”
In addition, K-con, Inc. will design and build a new maintenance building at Big Lake NWR that the refuge will use to store and repair equipment.
FWS will also use ARRA funds to repair a retaining wall at Big Lake NWR to improve the refuge’s viewing area and make the area safer.
“This area is a raised earthen mound, similar in appearance to a Native American mound, and it provides an elevated view where the public can observe the wildlife, such as wintering waterfowl on Big Lake, as well as a nearby eagle’s nest,” said Big Lake NWR Refuge Manager, Jeremy Bennett. “There’s also a small covered viewing platform with a fixed-focus spotting scope,” he added.
The retaining wall is part of the foundation of an old building that was once located on the site, and it helps to hold the raised area in place. However, the wall is separating and needs to be removed and re-built. In order to re-construct the wall, the Service purchased 1,500 tons of riprap rock (rock used to anchor shorelines) from a local contractor, Roberts Construction of Jonesboro, Arkansas. FWS workers will provide the labor to install the riprap.
“When it’s done, the public is going to have a wonderful area from which to view the wildlife on Big Lake, and one that will be around for a long time,” said Bennett. “About 40,000 people a year visit Big Lake, and the vast majority of them stop at the viewing area.”
December 2011 Project Update: Refuge staff completed the repair of the retaining wall during summer 2010. The new wall enabled the refuge to re-open an area of Timms Point to the public for wildlife viewing.
The projects to replace the headquarters building and maintenance building are ongoing as of November 2011.
Originally posted 10/28/2009