The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has a new home, and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of the new facility for the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office Friday morning. The office moved from the former Federal Building on Water Street to 480 W. Fletcher Street early in February.
Aaron Woldt, supervisor of the fisheries and aquatic resources program, welcomed people to the open house and made the introductory remarks. He said the new facility is wonderful and that he's extremely pleased with it.
"Being here gives us so many opportunities. It keeps us on the water, which is a big thing, it's in close proximity to another federal partner like NOAA, who runs the underwater sanctuary," he said, adding for the first time the office has cold and heated storage on one site. "This allows us to have all of our equipment, our boats, our laboratory, everything in one facility."
News Photo by Crystal Nelson
John Pines, representing Congressman Bart Stupak, Jean Kowalski, principal of Wilson and Long Rapids elementary schools, Mayor Carol Shafto, Mike Weimer, assistant regional director of fisheries in the midwest, JoAnn Papenfuss, staff assistant to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Jim Peltier representing Alpena Marc, LLC prepare to cut the ribbon at a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service building located on 480 W. Fletcher Street Friday morning.
The new facility is energy efficient and has geothermal heating and cooling, strategically placed sky lights to bring in light from the outside, solatubes in the which magnifies sunlight and pumps it down a tube to get ambient light, timed motion sensored lights that automatically shut off when the room is not in use, low volume flush toilets as well as other energy efficient fittings.
Scott Koproski, acting project manager and fishery biologist of the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation office, said he was excited to showcase the building but more excited to engage the students from Long Rapids and Wilson elementary schools as well as the community. Approximately 250 students from the two schools were invited to the open house to see the new facility and participate in some hands-on learning.
"Children are our future and without engaging children and getting them interested in natural resources - you know, why are we doing our work - because they ultimately will preserve and conserve our resources in the future," he said.
Mayor Carol Shafto said there are many things the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have done that have been critical to the local economy, including its leadership in preserving the lake trout restoration project, monitoring lake sturgeon, their habitat preservation work and most recently, work on the threats that they face from invasive species.
Koproski said the mission of the Alpena conservation office is to conserve fish, wildlife and aquatic resources for the continued benefit of the American people, and the main objective is working with partners to cooperatively manage Great Lakes fish populations.
Congratulatory remarks also were made by several elected officials or individuals representing them including Reps. Andy Neumann and Joel Sheltrown, John Pines, speaking on behalf of Congressman Bart Stupak, Mike Weimer, assistant regional director of fisheries in the midwest region, and Doug Kowalski, representing Jeff Konczak of Alpena Marc, LLC.
Also present at the ceremony were JoAnn Papenfuss, staff assistant to U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Jean Kowalski, Principal of Wilson and Long Rapids Elementary schools and Jim Peltier on behalf of Alpena Marc, LLC.
The facility is open to the public. Hours of operation are from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Crystal Nelson can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5693.