Monday, May 10, 2010

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards $3 Million to Colorado Company for Recovery Act project at Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR

Denver, Colo.—Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced a $5.9 million contract award going to Colorado Springs based B & M Phipps Joint Venture for a new visitor center and other construction projects at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.

Approximately $3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds will help pay for the new center, complete with an auditorium, exhibits about the Arsenal’s history and wildlife, and interpretive classroom. The building will incorporate several green components including geothermal heating, solar array, energy-efficient fixtures, renewable resource construction materials, and natural lighting.

“Construction of the visitor center will provide major attraction for the public and a great opportunity for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reach out to diverse groups of people to promote conservation while helping the local economy,” Secretary Salazar said. “Thanks to the Recovery Act this major project is now a reality.”

B & M, a woman/disabled veteran-owned small business, will hire three full time employees and several temporary trade workers from the area. At any given time, 20-30 workers could be employed onsite. B & M Managing Partner Barbara Myrick said she is glad to grow her business and very excited about this project.

“Every project we do I take seriously, but this project is very important to me,” Myrick said. “For the Arsenal to go from a Superfund site to a place where people can experience history and nature is amazing. It’s not what you have on earth, it’s what you do when you are here that’s important. We are taking this job because we will really be proud of the end benefit.”

The new state-of-the-art structure, located on a southwestern portion of the refuge designated as the Prairie Gateway Entrance, will replace the current visitor center. The old visitor’s center, formerly the Officers Club, will remain in use for environmental education programs and serve as a trailhead and visitor contact station for the fishing program. B & M Phipps will start work in late April and should take one year to complete
the project.

In 1942, the U.S. Army established the Rocky Mountain Arsenal to manufacture and assemble chemical and incendiary weapons. Shell Oil and other companies later leased the facility to manufacture pesticides. The government designated the Arsenal as a Superfund site in the ‘80s, and the Army has been conducting comprehensive environmental cleanup at the site. Wildlife flourished on the land when the base closed due to limited human activity. The Service recently reintroduced bison to the refuge, which joined bald eagles, deer, coyotes, badgers and a diversity of wildlife residing there.

“This refuge is truly unique, and the new facility will greatly enhance its mission,” said Steve Guertin, Director of the Service’s eight-state Mountain-Prairie Region. “It will afford people living in an urban setting the chance to experience nature in their own backyard and expose people to wildlife that they may not otherwise have had that opportunity to see or learn about the project.”

The Recovery Act gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. Of that amount, $280 million in funding goes to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nationally.

The stimulus funds represent an important component of the President's plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the act, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” said Secretary Salazar.

For a full list of funded projects nationwide, go to the Interior Department’s Recovery Web Site at .

For a list of Service projects visit:

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on the recovery web site which will include an interactive map that enables the public to track where and how the Department’s recovery dollars are being spent. In ddition, the public can submit questions, comments or concerns at

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

Congressional Delegation:

Sen Mark Udall-D
Sen Michael Bennet-D
Rep. Ed Perlmutter-D
Rep. Doug Lambo

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