U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Big Lake Refuge received an Outstanding Maintenance Award (OMA) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday for the maintenance on the water control structures in 2001 for exceeding the Corps' maintenance program requirements for levees, channels, and other flood control structures.
Major Todd A. Gile, deputy commander of the Corps' Memphis District, presented the award to Glen Miller, Manager of Big Lake/Wapanocca Refuges.
Miller commented that the award was in recognition of the hard work that Vic Elam, hydraulic technician, did during his stay at Big Lake. Elam has transferred to Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Colorado. Brian Braudis is refuge manager at Big Lake and was out of town during the award presentation.
"The multi-million dollar structures were put in years ago by the Corps of Engineers and they have to be maintained. The structures have to be painted for rust, greased, the weeds have to be killed around the structures, and the levees have to be mowed. Vic did a good job," Miller said.
The Big Lake area project consists of five structures and a series of connecting channels and levees. The structures are North End Control Structure, Diversion Channel control Structure, Mid Lake Culvert, South End Control Structure and Ditch 81 Control Structure.
These structures and others, such as channels and pumping stations, are designed to provide drainage and reduce flooding, and are vital links in an extensive network within the Lower Mississippi Valley.
The Corps conducts annual inspections to ensure that there are no weak links in the system.
"The Corps and Fish and Wildlife work together on this project. We have a lot of corporation from the Corps," Miller said.