July 2, 2009

$6.1 million appropriated for Audubon Refuge center

$6.1 million appropriated for Audubon Refuge center
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced on Tuesday that $6.1 million will be allotted for the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge near Coleharbor.
The funding supports the construction of an energy efficient administrative office and visitor facility with an emphasis on renewable energy.
The new facility will be designed and built by Keplin/Gracon JV from Rolette. Design is underway and construction will conclude in November 2010.
“We’re very, very excited about it,” said Jackie Jacobson, outdoor recreation planner for the refuge.
The newly constructed visitor center will house exhibits that focus on the importance of wetlands and grasslands for migratory birds and other wildlife. There will also be an educational classroom.
“A primary objective of the visitor center at Audubon will be focusing on these important
wetlands and grasslands and the tremendous benefits they offer to wildlife,” said Lloyd Jones, refuge manager at Audubon.
The administrative office will house 15 permanent employees and up to 25 seasonal employees. The additional space will also allow for expansion of youth employment.
The office and visitor center will be located just west of the current office. “It will be less than one mile off of Highway 83,” said Jacobson.
She noted that the new facility will allow for a greater focus on wetland and wildlife education. “It’s one more facility to help draw visitors to the area,” she said.

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