US Fish & Wildlife Service logo
Southeast Region US Fish & Wildlife Service header


New Refuge Manager at Alabama’s Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Begins Job With a Daunting Task -- Cleaning Up After Hurricane Ivan


November 2, 2004

Elsie Davis,
Robert Cail,


When Robert Cail became the new refuge manager of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge on September 24, he really faced a challenge. The refuge, located west of Gulf Shores, Alabama, was hard hit by Hurricane Ivan in mid-September and now, over a month later, is still closed to the public. Cail and his staff are still repairing structures, removing downed trees, and clearing hazardous materials that had washed ashore from other locations including propane tanks, boats, and construction debris.

The Service’s Incident Command Team hauled away 1,200 gallons of hazardous materials in the first few days after the hurricane – herbicides, pesticides, propane gas, etc. An additional 25 truckloads of hazardous materials have been removed since then, but there is still more to be done. In fact, the refuge’s two nature trails – the Pine Beach Trail and the Jeff Friend Trail may be closed for several months. Progress is being made, however, and two beach access points on the refuge are expected to open to the public soon.

“Robert and his staff are doing a thorough job, working to ensure that the refuge is completely safe before it re-opens to the public,” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “He is facing tough circumstances at the start of a new job, but Robert and his staff are meeting their challenges, and we know the refuge is in capable hands.”

A six-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cail was Refuge Manager at the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex in Georgia before coming to Bon Secour. He oversaw Harris Neck, Blackbeard, Wassaw, and Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuges. A few of Cail’s accomplishments included developing a volunteer program at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge and increasing local school participation in environmental education, as well as paving some roads and improving facilities, in the complex.

“I’m excited about being here at Bon Secour,” said Cail. “Although my plans for the refuge are skewed because of Hurricane Ivan’s aftermath, we will continue to play a pivotal role in Alabama beach mouse and sea turtle recovery efforts.”

“Another main focus will be trying to use land acquisition, leases, and other land management agreements as a means to foster habitat conservation within our approved refuge acquisition boundaries,” Cail continued.

Cail joined the Service in 1998 as Assistant Refuge Manager at the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. He also served as a Wildlife Biologist for the Bureau of Land Management in Medford, Oregon, where he conducted biological surveys.

Cail holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aquaculture, Fisheries, and Wildlife from Clemson University in South Carolina. He and his wife, Bonny, have two children. Cail’s hobbies include sports, reading, and listening to music.

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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and wildlife management offices and 81 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 Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.

Robert Cail
Robert Cail


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at or

NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at Our national home page is at:, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

Graphic for Clickable Items Click for Privacy Statement Click here for Freedom of Information Act Statement Click here for Disclaimer Statement Click here to Contact the Southeast Region Click here for Sitemap Click here for the Search Engine for US Fish and Wildlife Service Click here for the Regions in the US Fish and Wildlife Service