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The rehabilitation of the historic Monomoy Lighthouse and keeper’s house poses its own unique set of challenges. It could prove to be one on the most exciting US Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Act projects carried out in the North East Region.
The structures are located on Monomoy Island, part of the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham, MA. Commute to the project site is where the contractor will face their first obstacle, an approximate 8 mile boat ride across the choppy Nantucket Sound.
Once on the island there is another mile trek between federally designated wilderness areas to reach the buildings. This designation prohibits any heavy construction vehicles from being operated on the island and creates area restrictions. All necessary material will be brought to the island on small barges then transported to the work site along a narrow path.
Probably the number one challenge is getting people, equipment and the construction material on the island, getting the work done and then getting the debris and those folks safely back off the island. And then there would be area closures for the colonial nesting and beach nesting birds.
The Campbell Construction Group from nearby Peabody, Massachusetts is ready to meet these challenges. The Service awarded the small company a nearly $1.24 million contract to carry out the lighthouse and keeper’s house renovations.
We’re delighted, it fits right in with the work that we do. We’ve done quite a few jobs that have been on islands and offshore, and it’s a challenge for the transportation and the remoteness. We do a lot of jobs that are historic restoration, so it fits well. There’ll be a pretty good size crew out there when we’re in full operation, we’ll probably have 25 people. 25 to 30 people there at one time with all the subcontractors.
Yet another challenge is carefully balancing any possible disturbance the construction might cause to the island and to the refuge’s mission.
The refuge’s mission, first and foremost, is providing habitat for the beach and colonial nesting birds that Monomoy is noted for. And then also marine mammals, the seal haul-outs that are popular and common and the source of commercial tours for observing the seals and that sort of thing. The primary birds of primary interest here at Monomoy are the breeding species, piping plover is among our top. And then we have a very large common tern colony, but probably more importantly are the roseate terns that nest within that common tern colony historically. There are least terns, a state listed species that nest on the island. And then there are some long-legged wadding birds, black-crowned night heron and some egrets that also nest on the island.
We’re not going to start until August 1st, after the nesting season for the birds. And we’ve got a pretty rigorous schedule. We’re going to try to do the project in probably four months in the fall. We’re mobilizing with a barge and a landing craft. We have a staging area and containers, 30-yard roll-off containers, that we’re going to store on our staging area and they’re going to be filled with our equipment and tools and everything we need. And the landing craft will go out to the island and then on the way back, we will load these containers with rubbish and trash and any debris that we have on the island and they’ll go right back on the landing craft and back to the mainland. We anticipate, we’ll probably make 40 or 50 trips during the project with the barge.
Five companies, including Campbell Construction, toured the site as part of the Service’s multi-step evaluation process. They were able to experience some of the unique challenges the project would pose, see the inside and outside of the keepers house and go up the stairs into the lighthouse, where they were treated with a breathtaking view of the island. They were also able to ask a few last minute questions before putting together their final bids.
You know, this, in this economy I think this is an economic stimulus job funded by the federal government. And a lot of the subs we’ve contracted with down on the Cape were slow and delighted to have the work and it means a lot. It’s a high profile project, it’s a great project for us and we’re excited to work with the Fish and Wildlife.
This restoration project is something the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge has been hoping to do for quite some time but never had funds available until the Recovery Act. Once restored, the buildings should resemble their former selves and provide quarters for seasonal employees. They will also give small groups looking to have a wilderness experience a place to stay over night.
The rehabilitation itself will help stabilize against weather and the elements a national registered historic structure. And also restore it to its perceived or believe to be appearance using historical photographs. Then we can actually look at reutilizing the building for our own personnel for over night use. And then we would hope to go back to where we were, where small groups limited in size can go for short duration oven night visits on an uninhabited barrier island in a historic light keeper’s home. Be a pretty unique experience on the New England coast. And it’s something people have enjoyed doing in the past. There's still a good deal of interest that we get all the time in that use as well.
Title: Lighthouse Rehabilitation at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
Nearly $1.5 million in Recovery Act funding will be used to repair a lighthouse and an outbuilding on Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Video includes interviews with the refuge manager and construction contractor, as well as footage from the project site.
Related to project: R5BB -- Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge -- Rehabilitate Monomoy Lighthouse
Location: Chatham, MA, USA
Date Taken: 4/22/2010
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Narrated by: Narrated by Keith Shannon, USFWS
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