Service dedicates visitor center to Senator Tom Carper
The U.S. Senator and longtime supporter of national wildlife refuges will retire in 2024

At Delaware’s Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, the new visitor center has a new name. 

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the dedication of the Senator Thomas R. Carper Visitor Center, named for the U.S. senator and longtime supporter of Delaware’s national wildlife refuges. After nearly 50 years of public service, Senator Carper is set to retire in 2024.

Senator Carper joined Service Deputy Director Siva Sundaresan, Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber, staff and community members at the refuge to celebrate the announcement and unveil the visitor center’s new sign.

For 23 years, Senator Carper has served on the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As the Committee Chair, Carper played a critical role in supporting and passing several important conservation laws including the Great American Outdoors Act Great American Outdoors Act
This landmark conservation law, enacted in 2020, authorizes the use of up to $1.9 billion a year in energy development revenues for five years for needed maintenance to facilities and infrastructure in our wildlife refuges, national parks, forests, recreation areas and American Indian schools.

Learn more about Great American Outdoors Act
, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation’s infrastructure and economic competitiveness. We were directly appropriated $455 million over five years in BIL funds for programs related to the President’s America the Beautiful initiative.

Learn more about Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
and the Inflation Reduction Act.

“Wildlife and public lands couldn’t ask for a better champion than Senator Tom Carper,” Deputy Director Sundaresan said. “Senator Carper is a longtime friend of nature and the National Wildlife Refuge System. Naming this visitor center after the senator is a fitting tribute to his commitment to making sure Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge can welcome visitors for generations to come.

Senator Carper has been pivotal to the success of some of the Service’s most ambitious conservation efforts in Delaware. Under Carper’s strong support in congress over the years, the Service has successfully carried out the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program – a non-regulatory, landscape-scale program that empowers communities within the Delaware watershed to pursue projects to reduce flooding and runoff, restore fish and wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and enhance safe recreational access for millions of Americans.

Senator Carper was also a key player in initiating the Prime Hook marsh restoration project, one of the largest restoration projects the Eastern U.S. has ever seen. After Hurricane Sandy dealt a devastating and blow to Delaware’s coastline that decimated Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, The senator helped lead an all-hands-on-deck effort to secure funding to not only help communities recover from Sandy's impacts, but to rebuild smarter to help protect the coast against future storms.

With $38 million in federal Sandy recovery and resilience funding, the Service and partners restored Prime Hook's highly damaged tidal marsh and barrier beach ecosystem covering about 4,000 acres.

“I am honored to be recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today at one of our two beautiful Delaware refuges,” saidSenator Carper at the event. “Bombay Hook is a jewel along our coastline, a habitat to many vital species, and a tourism driver for our state’s economy. It has been a personal joy to work alongside leaders like Director Williams and Wendi Weber to preserve public lands across the nation and in our state so that all Delawareans – and all Americans – can enjoy these wonders for generations to come.”

This year, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge will welcome an estimated more than 110,000 visitors from across America to be inspired by the wonders of nature. Now, those visitors will see the name of a man who has worked tirelessly to ensure that connection to nature can be experienced by all. 

Story Tags

Climate change
Connecting people with nature
Nature-based solutions
Salt marshes
Visitor services
Wildlife refuges