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What is surprising is that Cahaba River was not designated as a refuge until 2002 making it one of the newest members of the national refuge system. Perhaps even more interesting is the great variety of fish that are found in the waters of the Cahaba River. There are more species here than, believe it or not, any other river on the planet, a total of 131. This said, one can understand why there was great interest in preserving some portion of the river, in all a seven mile stretch, as the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge. For human beings the Cahaba River Refuge offers wonderful opportunities to see incredible blooming wild plants in season and enjoy the opportunity to observe wildlife in a peaceful setting. Recreation opportunities include hiking, fishing and canoeing along quiet stretches of this beautiful southern river. Cahba River National Wildlife Refuge is also a great place to bring children to introduce them to the importance of protecting our wildlife, plantlife and the ecosystems they share. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, Decatur, AL Established much earlier than Cahaba was the Wheller Nationla Wildlife Refuge in Decatur, Alabama. Designated as a refuge in 1938 is a large tract of some 34,000 acres that provides protection for a vast variety of fish, birds and other wildlife in a diversity of habitats. Wheeler Refuge is part of the Mississippi flyway and offers shelter to migrating birds each year. In an area of the state that is experiencing ongoing development at a rapid clip, Wheeler provides secure and undisturbed environment for mammals, reptiles, fish and birds by the thousands.

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S. Fish and Wildlife Service at http://www. fws. gov there are 10 national refuges within the state. Each of those areas that have been set aside to provide nesting, habitat and survival areas for plants and wildlife has its own unique history. Some sites have long been a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, begun by President Theodore Roosevelt, but others are relative newcomers to the system. These three refuges provide a good sample of what you can see and enjoy when visiting National Wildlife Refuges in Alabama. Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge, Anniston, AL The Cahaba River flows for some 200 miles and is the longest stream in the state of Alabama. According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife service the river supports 64 "rare and imperiled" species of both plants and wildlife.