Decatur, Ala.’s Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge was awarded a $5.443 million grant as part of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Fiscal Year 2018 construction projects operating plan, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby announced Tuesday.
“Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge plays a key role in helping to protect, manage, and restore lands and waters throughout North Alabama,” said Shelby, chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “I am proud that this refuge will receive over $5 million for improvements, addressing public access and management needs. I look forward to continuing to work with Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and other facilities across the state to ensure that future generations can benefit from the unique environment Alabama has to offer.”
Established July 7, 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is home to 115 species of fish, 74 species of reptiles and amphibians, 47 species of mammals, 38 species of freshwater mussels, and 26 species of freshwater snails. The 35,000 acre refuge also manages and protects habitat for 12 federally listed endangered or threatened species.
The award, which is one of the largest funding awards in the FWS’ announcement, will increase access at the Wheeler Refuge. Additionally, the funding will provide the refuge in Decatur with the ability to improve the experience for people visiting from all over Alabama.