Office of the Secretary - U.S. Department of the Interior - - News Release
Date: November 18, 2008
Contact: Joan Moody

Interior Deputy Secretary Scarlett Presents Department's 2008 Environmental Achievement Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett today presented Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Awards to ten departmental individuals and employees at the department's Washington headquarters.

"These awards are the equivalent of our Environmental Emmy awards," said Scarlett. "The ingenuity and dedication of the winners are always inspiring. This year's winning projects include, just for example, a sustainably designed laboratory, an invention to remove paint from spray cans, a partnership with loggers to remove scrub brush for use in bio-energy production, and a project that puts mustangs to work hauling illegal debris from marijuana gardens on public land."

Interior's Environmental Achievement Awards recognize employees and partners who have made outstanding contributions through departmental projects in preventing pollution and waste, recycling, green purchasing, environmental management, sustainable designing and the greening of facilities, and using alternative fuel and fuel conservation in transportation.

The scope of Interior's Environmental Achievement Awards' and its categories reflect those of the White House Closing the Circle Award program. Only recent recipients and honorable mentions of the Environmental Achievement Award may be nominated for this White House award.

Participating in the ceremony along with Scarlett were Master of Ceremonies James E. Cason, Associate Deputy Secretary, and Willie R. Taylor, Director of the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance.

2008 Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Award Recipients
(More information on the recipients is online at

Gosnold Laboratory Addition and Renovation Team, U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The USGS Woods Hole Science Center recently completed a 4,400 square foot laboratory addition designed and constructed using sustainable design principles and technologies, such as a vegetated roof, native landscaping, a rain garden, use of low emitting and non-toxic materials, natural ventilation and lighting, and increased connections with the outdoor surroundings.

City of Poplar, Well Threat Plume Capture and Remediation Team, U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana. The City of Poplar, which is the headquarters for the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, has only one source of potable ground water. This aquifer was threatened by infiltration of brine seven times saltier than sea water. Open communication and data sharing enabled scientific and regulatory agencies and the oil company to improve water quality in the aquifer.

Dan Thorington, Comprehensive Recycling Program for Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska. Thorington started an outstanding recycling program for Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. He produced a creative and comprehensive recycling guide for visitors and employees. The program has diverted 80 percent of waste from the center, and forged recycling partnership with others in the community.

Nulhegan Basin Green Administration Building and Visitor Contact Center, Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont. The Nulhegan Basin Administration Building and Visitor Contact Center at the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is the first Energy Star Building for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It achieved a Silver designation under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating standard.

Hybrid Solar Photovoltaic and Wind Energy System, San Andres National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico. Using a tiered approach to install on-site renewable energy generation, the San Andres National Wildlife Refuge is able to supply 100 percent of its own power for several months out of the year and has decreased energy intensity by 80 percent from the Fiscal Year 2003 baseline.

Joel Kemm, Bio-Energy and Habitat Restoration on the St. Croix Wetland Management District, Stanton Prairie Waterfowl Production Area, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota. Kemm created a mutually beneficial partnership with loggers to remove scrub brush and trees for use in bio-energy production. Before the partnership, loggers viewed such timber stands as unmarketable and would have charged for tree removal. This program saved money, restored habitat at the Stanton Prairie Waterfowl Production Area in Wisconsin and contributed to alternative energy production.

Clark Fork River Response and Restoration Team, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site and Bureau of Land Management Public Lands, National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management, Montana. The Clark Fork River basin contains one of the most complex Superfund cleanup sites and includes Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site managed by NPS as well as BLM-managed lands. The departmental case team, representing NPS, BLM, the Natural Resource Damages Assessment and Restoration Fund, the Central Hazardous Materials Fund, and the Solicitor's Office, worked effectively to collaborate with the State of Montana, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Together, these government partners forged an alliance to secure more than $180 million to reimburse the state and the United States for all past and future costs needed to restore the site, including costs to fund a NPS project manager to oversee restoration activities and response action.

Paul Gammon, Paint Can Recovery, Re-Use and Recycling System, Coos Bay District, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon. Like other agencies, BLM uses spray paint to mark trees for trail signage. To divert the hazardous waste stream of the "spent" aerosol cans, Gammon designed and built a machine to recover the paint remaining in each can enabling reuse of paint and recycling of the metal cans.

California Marijuana Garden Clean-up Project Team, Ukiah Resource Area, Mendocino County, Bureau of Land Management, California. Marijuana growth on remote public lands continues to increase. In addition to posing problems for the law enforcement community, the growers damage ecosystems by contaminating soil and water and alternating water courses in arid regions. This successful BLM project used mustangs adopted through the Wild Horse and Burro Program to clean up two illegal marijuana gardens on BLM-managed land.

East Teshekpuk Legacy Well Remediation Team, Bureau of Land Management, Alaska. Teshekpuk Lake and its surrounding lakes and coastal wetlands are widely recognized as the most productive, diverse and sensitive wetlands ecosystem in the American Arctic. This BLM team successfully secured $16 million dollars to remediate the site and avert an environmental disaster. By working closely with the contractor, the team adjusted work schedules and project work plan tasks, working around the clock at times, to deal with weather-related problems. The team included Native communities and governments in meetings to provide updates. The project successfully finished on time and under budget with zero safety incidents or injuries.

Honorable Mentions, 2008 Environmental Achievement Awards

  • Farallon National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Management System Team, FWS, CA
  • Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks, NPS, CA, MT
  • Curry Village Employee Housing Project Design Team, Yosemite National Park, NPS, CA
  • Guest Services, Inc., Construction of the Food Concession Kiosk at The Lincoln Memorial, National Mall & Memorial Parks, NPS Concessioner, DC
  • Sustainable Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Center and Administrative Building Project Team, FWS, OR
  • National Wildlife Health Center Environmental Management Team, USGS, WI
  • Greg Owens, Wilna Lodge Modular Building, Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, FWS, VA
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Sustainable Destination Center, NPS, NC
  • Big Bend Resorts, LLC, Big Bend Resorts Recycling and Green Purchasing Programs, Big Bend National Park, NPS, TX
  • Going-to-the-Sun Road Transportation System Transit Implementation Team, Glacier National Park, NPS, MT
— DOI —