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Coastal Ecosystems Symposium Held at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores


August 28, 2001

William R. Gates, Refuge Manager, 251/540-7720

A coastal ecosystems symposium sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was held from Monday through Friday, August 20-24, 2001, at the Gulf State Park Convention Center in Gulf Shores. About 150 participants from universities, State and federal agencies, private non-profit groups and private companies from all over the United States gathered to learn more about the coast and ways to improve conservation of its natural resources.

Daytime sessions included presentations on physical processes and habitat distribution, reefs, coastal fisheries, submerged aquatic vegetation and manatees, invertebrates, birds, sea turtles and other resources on lands near the coast. Evening walks along Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge's Pine Beach Trail and watching sea turtle nests hatch at the refuge and Gulf State Park were attended by many participants. Thanks to refuge staff, park naturalists, volunteers and the symposium participants more than 100 sea turtle hatchlings from a nest on the refuge and another on the state park made it safely to the Gulf.

"These prominent scientists had a spectacular time thanks to the beauty of the Gulf beaches, the wonderful restaurants and the friendliness of local residents," said Bill Gates, refuge manager. "I'm sure many will want to return either on family vacations or for future natural resources seminars which will be planned in the vicinity."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System that encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.

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2001 News Releases

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