An interview with Long Island, NY National Wildlife Refuge Complex Manager Michelle

Uploaded by USFWS on 07.11.2012

My name is Michelle Potter. I'm the refuge manager for the Long Island National Wildlife
Refuge complex. We're out at the Brookhaven Airport in Brookhaven, New York. We just finished
an aerial survey of all the national wildlife refuges on Long Island. We had a good aerial
view of the damage. We did notice a lot more debris washed up in storm wreck than we thought
we did. We've got numerous kayaks, boats, a refrigerator, a lot of garbage, a lot of
trees blown down. We lost an observation deck at Target Rock. Thankfully our beach nesting
habitat for plovers and least terns is intact. We actually added a little more beach at Morton
which is a good thing. The community surrounding our headquarters at Mastic Beach -- the lower
end- has been decimated. Lots of people have lost their homes. As we traveled west on the
island you could see total devastation with the ocean beaches and over-wash at Fire Island
National Seashore. Our headquarters building, post Sandy, 3-4-5 days post Sandy, we are
still operating on an emergency generator at work. Not open to the public on any national
wildlife refuges on Long Island as of yet. I have three employees on emergency power
at their personal homes, and I also have three families at Target Rock that are with the
office of law enforcement at Valley Stream, they are also without power.
So with power resources and gas resources dwindling, it's been a little bit of a dire
week for us. We have a crew of 17 people here from Massachusetts and Maine and we are thrilled
to have them here. They've been working like crazy cutting trees, repairing roofs,
and doing general refuge clean-up right now so we're thrilled to have them as long as
we do. But we're continuing to forge ahead and clean up the refuges and supply everybody
with what they need and we're thankful for all the help that everybody's offered to