Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, said today the grant will be used to increase access and management needs at the Decatur-headquartered refuge.
State Sen. Arthur Orr said he and Morgan County Chamber of Commerce President John Seymour discussed needs on the refuge with Shelby last summer.
"Improved access, trails, new restrooms, a wildlife observation tower that is handicapped-accessible and other improvements will add to the quality of life in Morgan County and north Alabama, thereby attracting residents and tourists to grow the local economy," Orr said.
This $5.443 million award is one of the largest funding awards in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement, Shelby said.
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, which was established July 7, 1938, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, provides for a wide spectrum of wildlife and attracts thousands of wintering waterfowl each year. The 35,000-acre refuge also manages and protects habitat for 12 federally listed endangered or threatened species.