FWS to spend roughly $4 million to clean, repair, upgrade Oregon wildlife refuge
FWS to spend roughly $4 million to clean, repair, upgrade Oregon wildlife refuge

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is planning to spend nearly $4 million to clean, repair and upgrade the Oregon wildlife refuge. Earlier this year, the refuge was the place of a 41-day armed occupation by ranchers.

The Oregonian reported that Dan Ashe, Fish and Wildlife Director, said that his motive is to make the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns a symbol for the rest of the nation, indicating that it is collaboration that endures, and not confrontation.

Earlier this week, similar statements were made by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell when she paid a visit to the refuge.

Federal officials shared pictures of the refuge showing that the ranchers left a mess within the building.

A huge spring cleaning process is on inside the compound, using industrial vacuums and cargo trailers packed with cleaning supplies. The process of repairing damage and debris removal will probably come to an end until early summer.

Ashe said that overall, the standoff is going to cost Fish and Wildlife roughly $6 million, out of which nearly $2 million will be spent on takeover, which includes the costs of taking the 17 employees of the refuge outside town for safety, making them stay at government expense in hotels for weeks.

Fish biologist Linda Beck is happy to be back at work, however said that the major standoff cost was missed work. Beck and a group of biologists have been looking forward to remove invasive carp with the help of commercial fishing because the fish eat habitat required by birds.

In the starting of the year, Malheur Lake spanned over nearly 3,000 acres, and since then it has grown to nearly 20,000 acres. Beck added, “We lost the opportunity to fish for these fish in a really condensed setting”.

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