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December 13, 2023

Planning is underway for a new National Wildlife Health Center facility.

As previously reported, Congress appropriated $55,500,000 for the first phase of renovation at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (PL 116-260). This appropriation supports the work of NWHC and its important role in zoonotic research, detecting novel pathogens and emerging infectious diseases, developing rapid diagnostic tests, conducting disease surveillance, and designing management tools such as vaccines used to control diseases in wildlife.  

Why this matters: NWHC’s new building, which will include state-of-the-art facilities purpose-built for the study of wildlife diseases, will allow us to maintain, strengthen, and develop our unique capabilities in wildlife disease surveillance, ecology, and tool development in order to provide our management partners with the information and tools they need to improve wildlife health for decades to come.  

NWHC continues to work with the USGS Office of Management Services and Flad Architects on the site plan and design for NWHC’s new facility, which will be built at the current NWHC location in Madison, Wisconsin with a projected move-in date in late 2027. The new facility will include offices, diagnostic and research laboratories (BSL-2 and BSL-3 biocontainment), and a vivarium (ABSL-2, ABSL-3, and ABSL-3 Ag). Recent modernization activities have included monthly workshops to finalize the site plan and schematic design, which establishes the location of the building on the property as well as the structural layout, including room sizing and adjacencies. Next steps over the coming months will include a USGS cost review and a design development phase, in which the interior floorplans will be developed in more detail.

Rending of aerial view of new building, driveway, parking lots, and green space.
Preliminary conceptual illustration of the future USGS National Wildlife Health Center, courtesy of Flad Architects.

Concurrent with the design phase, USGS is conducting an environmental impact assessment for this project. On September 5, 2023 the Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare a Draft EIS (DEIS) was published in the Federal Register and was followed by a 45-day scoping period for public comment which ended October 20, 2023. Building on the valuable input received during the scoping period, USGS is moving forward with the Draft EIS phase. This comprehensive document will be made available for public review followed by a 45-day public comment period in which interested parties can provide additional comments for consideration. Notices of availability of the Draft EIS will be published in the Federal Register and local newspapers in advance of its release.

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