SUBMITTED — U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt toured the Claude Peteet Mariculture Center in Gulf Shores yesterday and conducted a site inspection at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
At the Claude Peteet Mariculture Center, the Secretary met with Chris Blankenship, the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Robert Craft, the mayor of Gulf Shores, and other Alabama DCNR staff where he received a briefing on their fish hatchery and the construction of artificial reef systems.
During the tour, Bernhardt viewed the broodstock holding room, zooplankton room, recirculating aquaculture system, and ponds. He then traveled to the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge to conduct a site inspection and thank the refuge staff for their hard work to keep the refuge accessible to the public throughout the pandemic. The secretary was joined by U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne for a tour of the refuge by boat, and they took part in a coastal restoration project planting black needlerush.
Under the leadership of the Trump administration, The Department of Interior has increased safety measures and inspections for offshore oil and gas development and completed numerous conservation projects to restore beaches and natural habitats in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a news release.
Specifically at Bon Secour NWR, the Department of the Interior has worked with the state, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Conservation Fund to protect pristine scenic property adjacent to the refuge and rehabilitated an aging trail within the refuge to help boost ecotourism and make it more accessible for those with mobility differences. Interior has also constructed two dune walkovers to provide the public with access to the beach, while protecting the Alabama beach mouse from foot traffic.
All of Bon Secour NWR‘s trails and outdoor spaces remain open and accessible for the American people to enjoy.
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