Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex



Project Title: Construct Energy-Efficient Headquarters Visitor Building (FFS #R5BA)

State: New York

Project Description: :The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received $9.775 million in Recovery Act funding to construct a new administrative and visitor center at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley, N.Y. The new facility will serve as the headquarters for the nine national wildlife refuges located on Long Island, which protect some of the last remaining natural areas in the greater New York City metropolitan area.

In March 2009, the Service awarded a $7.8 million contract for the construction phase of the project to T.G. Nickel & Associates, a Long Island company located just up the road from the refuge in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

The 12,000-square-foot building, opening on November 10, 2011, includes a visitor center and office space for the refuge complex and agency partners. The visitor center will include interpretive displays and interactive exhibits, and an environmental education classroom and other services. The new facility meets Service building design standards as well as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification criteria for sustainability and energy-efficiency (www.usgbc.org).

C&S Companies of Syracuse, N.Y., completed the architectural and engineering design for the facility, and Lyons/Zaremba Inc. (www.lyonszaremba.com) of Boston, Mass., designed and produced the interpretive displays for its exhibit hall.

In the fall of 2006, the Service completed a 15-year comprehensive conservation plan for the refuge complex. Local governments, conservation organizations, and other interested members of the public were involved in the process, which identified the need for the new administrative and visitor facility, among other management goals.

The Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex’s prior office at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge was in a former hunting lodge built in 1905. The tiny building provided insufficient space for staff and inadequate facilities to host refuge visitors, and was plagued with safety and health hazards. To accommodate refuge staff, two houses on the refuge had been converted into office space; both of these buildings will now be reverted back to refuge housing.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new complex was held on May 17, 2010. Congressman Timothy Bishop (D-N.Y.) participated in the event, along with area students, Boy Scout Troop 47, various officials, and representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Claire Goad, President of Friends of Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, was among the speakers.

“This is a day the Friends of Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge have been waiting for,” she said. “The Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex has so much to offer, and education is a major component. I thank all of the people who have worked so hard over the years to make this a reality.”
“We are thrilled to see our hard work and planning become a reality,” said Refuge Manager Michelle Williams. “The new headquarters building and visitor facility will enable us to share our story and foster greater appreciation of the natural world.”
Fourth grade students from the local Nathaniel Williams Elementary School wrote haikus about the Long Island Pine Barrens, one of the complex’s vast habitats, marking this community celebration. Check out a few of the student haikus!

This Recovery Act project was responsible for creating 120 jobs on-site and benefitting a local steel manufacturer.

“On any given day, we’ll have between 15 to 25 people working,” John Mazzeo, Building Superentendent at T.G. Nickel & Associates, said during construction in February 2011. Jeff Cooper, the company’s Project Executive Partner, continued by saying, “They’re all from Long Island. The steel manufacturer is from within a couple of miles from here, so they are all local contractors. The economy is real tight right now and it definitely helped us because there are very few projects out there right now.”

The national wildlife refuges on Long Island are located within an hour drive of more than 7.5 million people. They provide important habitat for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, and other wildlife. From rare grasslands to maritime tidal areas, the habitats are rich and diverse.
In addition to the headquarters at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, other units include Amagansett, Conscience Point, Morton, Oyster Bay, Sayville, Seatuck and Target Rock national wildlife refuges and Lido Beach, which is designated as a national wildlife management area.


Feature Story: Groundbreaking Stimulus Project Promotes Job Growth and Conservation at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge

Press Release: Design Contract Awarded for New Administrative and Visitor Facility at Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Originally posted 07/27/2009
Updated 08/10/2009
Updated 03/31/2010
Updated 06/23/2010
Updated 08/12/2010
Updated 10/14/2010
Page Completed 11/10/2011

DOI Recovery Investments by Bureau

Last Updated: February 02, 2012
Content contact: recovery@ios.doi.gov