Big Lake receives Outstanding Maintenance Award

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge received the Outstanding Maintenance Award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the second consecutive years.

Colonel Jack V. Scherer, District Engineer, of the Memphis District made the presentation to Brian Braudis, refuge manager, on Wednesday afternoon.

Colonel Scherer presented the plaque in recognition and appreciation for the outstanding maintenance of the flood control facilities.

Colonel Scherer said the Corps of Engineers and Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge have a good partnership.

"It is a well-deserved award," Scherer said.

The award has been presented by the Corps for the past 50 years in recognition of organizations and agencies that maintain Corps drainage structures.

Braudis explained there are five water control structures on the Big Lake Refuge area worth over $8 million each.

The National Fish and Wildlife Department has singed an agreement with the Corps to maintain those structures.

"They are Corps structures, but they are on our property and we signed an agreement that we would maintain their structures," Braudis said. "We work hard to keep them working well and looking good."

Braudis said in spite of the rains, they have not had any major problems out of the ordinary.

"The structures are high. There has been some problem with log jams but it has not been a major problem so far," Braudis said.

Braudis said he appreciates the good working relationship between the refuge and the Corps.

Melvin Browning, member of Friends of Big Lake, was on hand for the presentation. Browning praised the work that Braudis does to maintain the refuge and the public relations work to bring the refuge and the communities together.

"In the two years that he has been here, he has brought public attention to the refuge, was instrumental in organizing a Friends of Big Lake and done an outstanding job for the citizens of the area," Browning said.

"This is the people's refuge. I am a public servant," Braudis said.

Braudis said receiving the award for the second year was a pleasant surprise.

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