5/07/2013 — 

WASHINGTON, DC – During a hearing today before the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior & Environment, chaired by U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the Department is releasing $475.25 million in emergency Superstorm Sandy disaster relief appropriations to 234 projects that will repair and rebuild parks, wildlife refuges, and other Interior assets damaged by the storm.  Chairman Reed noted that Rhode Island is slated to receive over $4.488 million for restoration, repairs, and preservation activities related to the storm damage, including:

The National Park Service (NPS) will allocate $3 million in federal funds for the State of Rhode Island to fund historic preservation and restoration activities.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which oversees the National Wildlife Refuge system, will allocate $1.488 million in federal funds to repair roads and infrastructure to Rhode Island’s National Wildlife Refuge Complex, including:

  • $100,000 to repair roads and access to the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Charlestown.
  • $723,000 to fund backup power and electrical improvements at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Charlestown.
  • $190,000 for roof repairs and debris removal at the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Charlestown.
  • $475,000 to help fund road repairs for Sachuest Point Road at the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown.  Reed also worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration to secure additional funding for this project.

“These funds will help Rhode Island repair and rebuild areas impacted by Sandy.  Our wildlife refuges provide public access to the shore and free recreational opportunities for families. These funds will help ensure popular parks and destinations like Sachuest Point are recovered and ready for big crowds this spring and summer,” said Reed, who led the effort to secure this funding as part of the Sandy relief Appropriations bill.

Rhode Island is home to five National Wildlife Refuges (Ninigret, Trustom Pond, John H. Chafee at Petaquamscutt Cove, Block Island, and Sachuest Point), which preserve approximately 2,400 acres of woods and waterways along the coast and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

In December, Reed brought top officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Rhode Island to tour storm damage at Sachuest Point, which was battered by Superstorm Sandy, and other wildlife refuge sites that were impacted by the storm.  Hurricane Sandy caused substantial damage to the 1,500 foot access road to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge.  The refuge, which had been closed since October 30, finally was reopened on May 1 after repairs were completed.

Reed helped include a total of $829 million for the U.S. Department of the Interior in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, and the remaining funding will be allocated in the coming months for additional mitigation and reconstruction projects.  Final amounts will also be adjusted to account for sequestration.