SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — Sand dunes rise above a windy, desolate stretch of beach, miles beyond where most tourists venture.
Occasional flocks of brown pelicans are visible, arcing through the sky above the water.
“I love watching them fly,” said Sonny Perez, manager of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, which includes some of the remote northern reaches of South Padre. “They’re like little bombardiers going across.”
In the coming years, the 97,000-acre refuge could add more land on the island to its holdings.
At least $100 million, and possibly much more, will be funneled to Texas as part of the cleanup financing from BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
So far, Texas officials have received more than 150 suggestions on how to spend the money, including expansion of parkland, restoration of oyster reefs and a campaign to reduce litter that ends up in the Gulf.
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