A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Secretary Salazar Announces $280 Million Investment at Wildlife Refuges and Hatcheries to Create Jobs, Improve Facilities, and Promote Conservation
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Undertake More than 770 Projects Under President's Economic Recovery Plan
HELENA, MT -- In an announcement that will both create jobs and promote the conservation of our nation's fish and wildlife, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will invest $280 million in more than 770 projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to build visitors centers, improve infrastructure, and bolster conservation at national wildlife refuges and hatcheries across the country.
“Just as the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s were the backdrop for our some of our nation's greatest conservation efforts under President Franklin Roosevelt, so the current economic and environmental crisis provide an opportunity for us to enhance wildlife conservation while putting Americans back to work under the President's recovery plan,” Salazar said.
The list of projects includes $115 million for construction, repair and energy efficiency retrofit projects at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facilities, and $165 million for habitat restoration, deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects.
In Montana, the Department will fund nearly $3 million in Recovery Act projects, including:
$630,000 to the National Bison Range to replace the Failed Mission Creek West Bridge.
$550,000 to the Hailstone National Wildlife Refuge to remediate the Hailstone Reservoir from salinity contamination.
$249,000 for the Ennis Fish Hatchery to install a photo voltaic system expected to generate up to 75 percent of the station's energy use.
$540,000 to the Creston Fish Hatchery to rehabilitate the Hatchery building and property, replacing asbestos siding, installing new energy efficient windows, replacing the roof among other long overdue maintenance.
$200,000 to Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge to replace the Sparrow Pond Trail Bridge and repair or replace the Elk Lake Road kiosk and the Refuge shop building
All the projects represent long-standing priority needs identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through its capital planning process. The agency worked through a rigorous merit-based process to identify and prioritize investments meeting the criteria put forth in the Recovery Act: namely, that a project addresses the Department's highest priority mission needs; generates the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time; and creates lasting value for the American public.
Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department of the Interior's economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on the recovery web site and at www.interior.gov/recovery. The website includes an interactive map that enables the public also to follow where and how the department's recovery dollars are being spent.
Secretary Salazar also has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force. Henderson and the Task Force will work closely with the Department of the Interior's Inspector General to ensure that the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency that President Obama has set.