A new, national headquarters building for the National Wildlife Research Center is being dedicated April 16 on Colorado State University’s Foothills Campus.
The two-story, red-brick building, which cost $14 million and provides about 83,000 square feet of space divided between laboratories and offices and conference facilities, consolidates workers from three sites in Fort Collins. The new center, constructed on 43 acres leased from the university, opened earlier this year near a research facility finished in 1995. Eventually, much of the land will be taken up by further expansion.
"This is the only facility of its kind in the world devoted to studying and resolving human-wildlife conflicts," said Richard Curnow, director of the center. "Here, more than 75 employees, half of them professional scientists, can develop information and methods for wildlife managers and for the public that can resolve conflicts between wildlife, humans and agricultural activity."
"This is a state-of-the-art structure built on time, on budget and on a site that is ideally suited for the research facility. Research activities emphasize acceptable methods of reducing or stopping wildlife damages to homes, livestock, crops and other human activities effectively and economically, meanwhile minimizing risks for humans, wildlife and the environment."
"Because of the important, thoughtful work they do to address human-wildlife conflicts while recognizing that wildlife is part of our natural environment, we’re pleased to have the National Wildlife Research Center as a part of Colorado State’s facilities," said Judson Harper, Colorado State vice president for research. "We have much to offer scientists at the center, from our library to the expertise of our faculty and students, and the center provides vital opportunities for collaborative research, learning and student involvement."
The center serves as headquarters to eight regional sites in the United States and several overseas, employing more than 150 workers. As part of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Division, the National Wildlife Research Center receives a quarter of the Wildlife Service’s budget to develop effective, acceptable methods to reduce or stop damage caused by wildlife with minimal risks to humans, wildlife and the environment. Important, ongoing research efforts include:
- Improving and encouraging the use of livestock-guarding dogs to protect sheep and other herd animals.
- Developing programs to control wildlife, especially birds, at airports across the country. While the Eastern and Southeastern states are the most prone to aircraft-bird collisions, an estimated 100 people have died and 40 planes have been destroyed by wildlife, mostly birds, during this century.
- Helping property owners deal with non-migrating birds like Canada geese by not feeding them, modifying landscape, installing barriers, preventing nesting and using repellents.
- Helping the growing U.S. fish-farming industry frighten or exclude fish-eating birds that eat millions of dollars worth of fish annually.
- Monitoring and controlling the spread of the brown tree snake on the American territory of Guam and migration to areas where they currently don’t exist.