Malheur Refuge Restoration to Cost $6 Million

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The state of Oregon, neighboring cities and counties, and federal law enforcement agencies have already spent millions of dollars on the response to the Bundy militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will also spend millions of dollars to restore the refuge.

Dan Ashe, the director of the Fish & Wildlife Service, spoke at the refuge this week where he detailed plans to repair and revitalize it.

From The Oregonian:

Federal officials shared photos of what they found at the compound after the FBI had scoured it for explosives and evidence. The photos captured scenes of messy living – clothes strewn around one room, an office ransacked with chairs knocked askew and equipment on the floor, a Jim Beam whiskey bottle tucked among couch cushions.


Removing the debris and repairing the damage is likely to take until early summer. Until then, the headquarters remains closed but the public is free to roam the rest of the 187,700-acre bird sanctuary.

Ashe said the occupation will cost his agency roughly $6 million. About $2 million of that came during the takeover and included paying to move the refuge's 17 employees out of town for safety to live at government expense in hotels for weeks.

The good news is the amount of property the government will seize from various Bundy estates should make up for at least some of the cost.

In addition to the cost of repairing the refuge, wildlife officials reportedly also lost three year's worth of progress on removing invasive Carp from the Malheur Lake.

Fish and Wildlife Director Ashe also expressed concerns that another occupation could occur in other parts of the country. I think we all see that coming, especially if Democrats retain control of the White House.

  • muselet

    Gary Marshall, a longtime local rancher and chairman of the High Desert Partnership, said years of work by diverse groups arrived at a plan for the refuge that accounts for all needs, from environmental to economic.

    With the water-logged refuge landscape stretching out behind him, Marshall noted that none of the occupiers talked to him or others to learn what had gone on. [Ammon] Bundy repeatedly said at news conferences that the refuge and other federal lands had been mismanaged in ways that oppressed local ranchers.

    “They were misinformed or they didn’t care,” Marshall said.

    I’ll take Door Number Two.

    [Refuge employees] were heading for a barbecue set up to welcome them back to duty – and back to the community. Their hosts were the 20 or so ranchers who graze cattle in partnership with the refuge.

    Yeah, those local ranchers sure are being oppressed. No wonder the Freeloader Militia felt obliged to storm in and threaten violence.



  • Ceoltoir

    The armed invaders made a point of saying that they were much better stewards of open range lands throughout the Western States than the Federal Government. Yet in this one little corner they managed to totally trash the place in the short time they controlled it. I doubt you could come up with a more fitting symbol to what the Bundys and their supporters in the Republican party are truly all about.