- Greening New Buildings at Panther Swamp and Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters (FFS #R4CB)
- Rehabilitate 15 Miles of Levees (FFS #R4MJ)
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 complete green energy initiatives at two new office buildings, rehabilitate 15 miles of levees, drill agricultural wells, purchase well heads, and build water control structures at the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) complex in western Mississippi.
The Service awarded a $200,000 contract to construction services company Barlovento, LLC of Dotham, Alabama to install solar panels and rainwater collection systems on two new office buildings at the Panther Swamp NWR and Yazoo NWR headquarters. When the projects are completed, the buildings will be eligible for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
According to Project Leader, Donny Browning, “These [projects] are important parts of our ongoing efforts to get our buildings as green as possible. The new solar panels on the roof will achieve a 30 percent savings in our electric bill. The rainwater catchment system will provide all of our water needs except for drinking water, which will be provided by the municipal water system.”
In addition, the Service awarded a $448,147 contract to Ducks Unlimited to design and contract for habitat improvements at Panther Swamp NWR, Hillside NWR, and Yazoo NWR in the Theodore Roosevelt NWR Complex.
Ducks Unlimited is still finalizing design work, however, the current plan calls for two new irrigation wells at Panther Swamp NWR, and two new wells at Yazoo NWR. In addition, the Service will install seven new water control structures at Hillside NWR, four at Yazoo NWR, and four at Panther Swamp NWR. The Service will also rehabilitate levees at all three refuges, including increasing height and removing trees and vegetation from levee slopes. Chandler said work on the projects should begin in June 2010 and continue through September 2010.
According to Panther Swamp NWR Refuge Manager, Sabrina Chandler, “This stimulus fund contract will enable us to make major improvements in how we provide for and manage our impoundment system, which in turn benefits more than 100,000 ducks and other waterfowl. We hope that when the work is finished this fall, and duck hunters return, they will benefit from these improvements as well.”
According to Dr. Scott C. Yaich, the Director of Conservation Operations for Ducks Unlimited, “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. First, these ARRA funds are being used to address the backlog of management 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.”
The Theodore Roosevelt NWR complex consists of the following seven refuges:
- Hillside NWR
- Holt Collier NWR
- Matthews Brake NWR
- Morgan Brake NWR
- Panther Swamp NWR
- Theodore Roosevelt NWR
- Yazoo NWR
FWS established the 38,697-acre Panther Swamp NWR in 1978. Panther Swamp NWR includes one of the largest blocks (21,000 acres) of bottomland forest in the lower Mississippi River alluvial floodplain. FWS established Hillside NWR, an oasis of wildlife habitat surrounded by agriculture, in 1975. Hillside NWR provides important stop-over and nesting habitat for over 200 species of neotropical migratory birds, as well as for wintering waterfowl. Yazoo NWR is the oldest national wildlife refuge in Mississippi, dating back to 1936. It is widely regarded as one of the premier hunting refuges in the Southeast.
August 2011 Project Update: Barlovento, LLC and its subcontractors completed the green energy initiatives at the new Panther Swamp NWR and Yazoo NWR headquarters in March 2011. Chandler stated, “The project allows [the refuge] to reduce water and energy use through the use of solar panels and rainwater collection. The project could be applied to any residential home to help reduce energy and water use.”
In addition, Ducks Unlimited and its subcontractors completed the rehabilitation of 70 linear feet of interlocking bulkhead, the installation of four 16-inch irrigation wells, the replacement of 13 water control structures, and the rehabilitation of 1,225 feet of existing levee. The project supports enhanced water management on 2,400 acres of habitat. According to Chandler, “The enhanced management opportunity provides significant habitat improvements.” In addition, many of the enhanced acres are now open to public waterfowl hunting.
For more information: Visit the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex website.
Originally posted 11/03/2009
Page Completed 08/25/2011