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Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama Opens Limited Beach Access


October 27, 2005

Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-7291

For the first time since Hurricane Katrina in August, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shores has opened the Mobile Street access to the refuge beach. All other units of the refuge remain closed until further notice.

“Our contractor was making great progress this summer on refuge clean-up and repair from Hurricane Ivan last September. We re-opened the Mobile Street access to the beach this summer, only to close it again in August when Hurricane Katrina struck,” said Robert Cail, refuge manager of Bon Secour. “Once again, we’re now ready to re-open the Mobile Street access and give the public limited access to the beach.”

Visitors are asked to remain within 100 feet of the active surf to reduce impacts to dune vegetation that has already been disturbed by the two hurricanes. They also should be alert for debris on the beaches.

After Hurricane Ivan on September 16, 2004, major primary dunes at Bon Secour were almost completely destroyed and tons of debris washed up on the refuge, turning this once pristine area into a landfill.

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was established by Congress in 1980 to preserve fragile barrier features along the rapidly developing Alabama Gulf Coast. The Refuge is comprised of four separate units on the Fort Morgan Peninsula and Little Dauphin Island in coastal Alabama. Habitats include a diverse assemblage of beach, coastal dunes and associated uplands, salt marsh, and wetlands at the mouth of Mobile Bay and within the Gulf of Mexico. These habitats support a variety of threatened and endangered species, such as the Alabama beach mouse, piping plover, and green, loggerhead, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. More than 370 species of migratory birds inhabit the refuge during migrations.

For more information, please contact Robert Cail, Refuge Manager, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, 12295 State Highway 180, Gulf Shores, Alabama 36542, telephone 251/540-7720.

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 545 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.

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