BP oil spill settlement funds in the amount of $10.3 million were used to purchase and protect a combined 470 additional acres at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge west of Gulf Shores.

Spearheaded by the Conservation Fund, the project involved the purchase of a 251-acre tract in 2018 followed by a 219-acre property in March. Both tracts were conveyed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for long-term management and inclusion into the 7,200-acre refuge, according to local news reports.

This represents the first extension of the refuge area since the early 1990s. The refuge was created in 1980. The expansion will help provide permanent protection for coastal habitat including endangered species and more than 370 species of birds that have been identified on the refuge during migratory seasons.

View vacation rental properties in Fort Morgan, including dog-friendly houses, to be near all the wonders of the wildlife refuge, historic Fort Morgan and Fort Morgan area restaurants.