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SMARTER AMERICA

Sweet Home Alabama: State Gets $3M to Develop Bird Habitats

MONTGOMERY, Ala.  --The state of Alabama will receive $3 million to participate in a program aimed at creating inland habitats for millions of migrating birds that will be flying south for the winter.

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks said Tuesday the purpose of the USDA program is to provide an alternate habitat for birds that normally migrate to the marshlands along the Gulf of Mexico. Sparks said many of those marshlands are already contaminated with oil because of the BP oil spill and could receive more oil before birds begin migrating in the fall.

State conservation and agriculture officials will work with landowners, farmers and ranchers to develop habitat on their properties.

The states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas are participating in the program.