Environmental Management at a Remote Refuge
Gary Melvin, FWS
Maintenance worker Gary Melvin is the designated Waste Prevention and Recycling Coordinator at the Alaska Peninsula/Bercharof National Wildlife Refuge. After he attended “Greening of the Government” training in Albuquerque, NM, he had lots of new ideas about what he could do with the Refuge’s environmental program. On his return, he began investigating recycling and green procurement possibilities for the site. With this enthusiasm and commitment, he helped establish a community-recycling program for the remote area of King Salmon, Alaska. This was no small feat because all shipments, in or out, have to be flown in or brought in by barge. Mr. Melvin has arranged for these materials to be transported off the Refuge by outfitters on return trips at no cost.
Solar panels, purchased and installed by Mr. Melvin, now power electronic and radio equipment at remote field camps. He also was responsible for replacing gravity-feed diesel drip heaters were replaced by propane systems, a much cleaner alternative for remote field camps. Every product purchased by the Refuge is now screened by Mr. Melvin who ensures that the less hazardous, less toxic products are purchased, whenever possible. Road salt is no longer used at Refuge facilities to melt ice on concrete and roads; Mr. Melvin found an environmentally-preferable deicer that is doing the job just as well in this Arctic setting, while also protecting local surface waters from damaging run-off.
The Environmental Management System now in place at the Alaska Peninsula/Becharof NWR, as a result of Mr. Melvin’s diligence, includes procedures for grey water management, fuel efficient operations of vehicles in a cold climate, hot-draining oil cans to ensure clean disposal, and for other environmental performance objectives.
U.S. Department of the Interior
Greening of the Interior