In an effort to guide restoration efforts, partners in coastal Alabama have undertaken a process of watershed management planning based on a framework developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The purpose of the plans are to guide watershed resource managers, policy makers, community organizations and citizens to protect the chemical, biological and cultural integrity of coastal watersheds. The plans aim to specifically protect waters and habitats that support healthy populations of fish, shellfish and wildlife and to provide recreational access to the natural areas of coastal Alabama.
This planning process has involved the establishment of watershed working groups, which are a coalition of federal, state and local agencies; county and local governments; property owners; developers; and commercial interests. These entities work together to complete watershed plans and guide initial implementation strategies.
Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood (GMC) was contracted by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, through their Project Implementation Committee, to develop a watershed management plan for Fowl River. Collaborative funding provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund made the process possible. This plan was finalized in March of this year, and work is now underway to begin implementing the recommended measures.
Further funding has led to the current development of seven additional watershed plans across Mobile and Baldwin counties. Within the next couple of years, another 19 plans will be developed, effectively producing watershed plans for all the tidally influenced watersheds in the state of Alabama.
For up-to-date information on the status of current watershed planning activities in coastal Alabama please visit the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program website.