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Mobile Baykeeper is a nonprofit environmental organization with over 4,000 members -- all with a common interest in preserving and protecting the beauty, health and heritage of the Mobile Bay Watershed. Our priorities are clean water, clean air and healthy communities and our motto is Naturally, We’re for Progress. Become a member today for the best possible tomorrow.

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Mobile Bay Watershed

The Mobile Bay Watershed encompasses 65% of the land area for the state of Alabama, along with portions of Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee.  Mobile Bay is the terminus for the Mobile River, the Tombigbee-Black Warrior River, and the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoossa River.   The watershed is a vast network of over 250 separate waterways, including rivers, bays, creeks, bayous, lakes, cutoffs, branches, and sloughs.

Map Photo: Mobile Bay National Estuary Program

The outflow of the Mobile River into Mobile Bay creates a delta and extensive marshlands. The delta opens into the northern end of Mobile Bay through Mobile, Tensaw, Apalachee, Spanish and Blakley rivers. The Bay is approximately 32 miles long and 23 miles across at its widest point. The average depth in Mobile Bay is only about 10 feet, which makes it one of the most shallow for a bay of this size.  

Mobile Bay is Alabama’s central estuary serving as a transitional zone where the river’s fresh water can mingle with tidally influenced marine waters. An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water formed where freshwater from rivers and streams flows into the ocean, mixing with the salty sea water. Estuaries are considered environmentally and economically important because of their exceptional biological diversity and productivity.

Area of Watershed: 44,582 square miles.

Tributaries: Dog River, Fish River, Halls Mill Creek, Magnolia River, Mobile Bay, Polecat Creek, & Waterhole Branch

Major Habitat Types:  Submerged aquatic vegetation (seagrass), reefs (artificial), barrier islands/sand bars, lagoon/shallow open water shell fish growing areas, beach/due (bare & vegetated), sand/mud/salt flats, salt/brackish marsh, freshwater marsh (tidal & non-tidal), forested wetland, seasonal wetland, freshwater lakes/ponds, grass/open field, non-wetland forest, riparian/riverine (forested, tidal, & flood plain) abandoned, & agricultural

Species Diversity:
 More than 800 species of non-vertebrates
, 337 species of fish (36 at risk*), 126 amphibians & reptiles (30 at risk)
, 355 Birds (38 at risk), 
49 mammals (7 at risk)

*Note: “at risk” not only includes Federal & State protection levels, but also non-regulatory listings by either researchers studying the species or by The Nature Conservancy’s Natural Heritage Program, which catalogues rare plant & animal species. (From Mobile Bay NEP)

Federally Endangered or Threatened Species:

    • Mammals: Alabama Beach Mouse, West Indian Manatee
    • Birds: Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Piping Plover, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, Wood Stork
    • Reptiles: Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle, Eastern Indian Snake, Gopher Tortoise, Loggerhead Sea Turtle
    • Fish: Gulf Sturgeon
    • Insects: American Burying Beetle
    • Plants: Alabama Canebrake Pitcher Plant, American Chaffseed, Louisiana Quillwort, Barbara's Buttons