Cahaba Wildlife refuge set to double in size

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2006


President Bush&8217;s signature of the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge Expansion Act, sponsored by Congressman Spencer Bachus, authorizes the refuge to double in size.

This month&8217;s signing is the culmination of incremental victories. In July, the House passed H.R. 4947, the bill that would double the acreage of the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge from 3,500 acres to 7,100. In September, the bill received Congress&8217; final approval when it passed the Senate with the support of U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions.

The legislation clears the way for willing sellers to have their land considered for purchase by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency. The new boundaries double the miles of frontage along the Cahaba River and will protect additional whitewater shoals filled with globally imperiled Cahaba lilies and many other rare plants and animals.

&8220;The Nature Conservancy applauds the leadership of Congressman Bachus in both the original establishment of the refuge, and now in authorizing its expansion. We are pleased to have been able to assist in the effort by engaging the support of a wide array of partners, including business and civic leaders, landowners, conservation groups and local and state officials&8221; said Jeff Danter, director of the Nature Conservancy&8217;s Alabama program.

&8220;The beauty and diversity of the Cahaba River Wildlife Refuge make it one of our state&8217;s most valuable resources,&8221; Bachus said. &8220;Keeping the refuge pristine for future generations has been one of my top priorities. The creation and expansion of the refuge are important steps in what needs to be a comprehensive effort to preserve and restore the Cahaba River.&8221;

The Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 2000 by legislation authored by Congressman Bachus.