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Hatcher Bluff Alabama River REM

Alabama Water Watch works to protect Alabama’s precious water resources by training citizens to collect credible water quality data from rivers, lakes, and other local waterbodies. Educating people about Alabama’s waters and helping them to find a meaningful connection to their watershed is an important part of what we do.

Luckily for us, Alabama has so much to offer when it comes to water resources, so it is easy to foster these connections. With 132,000 miles of streams and rivers, Alabama can call itself “the River State.” Moreover, each river has a unique set of flora, fauna, geology, culture, and history that can provide a lifetime of learning.

Alabama Rivers black warrior waterdog

How much do you know about your own river basin? If you live in the Black Warrior River Basin, have you heard of the Black Warrior waterdog? It is a large, aquatic, nocturnal salamander that retains larval characteristics such as frilly, external gills for its entire life. They are listed as endangered and only found in streams within the Black Warrior River Basin.

The waterdog needs specific habitat substrate, ideally bedrock with little sand that contains rock crevices for shelter and egg laying, to flourish. Therefore, it’s no surprise increased sedimentation is the main threat to the waterdog.

Did you know that the Alabama River is the state’s longest river, flowing for 315 miles and draining 11 percent of the state in 18 counties? Free-flowing, or un-impounded, sections of the Alabama River contain many high bluffs that formed as the chalky soils of the Black Belt were carved away. Hatcher Bluff (estimated to be 350 feet high in 1925) along the Blackwell Bend of the main stem of the Alabama River near Sardis, Alabama.

Hatcher Bluff on the Alabama River near Sardis, AL. Photo Credit: Rachel McGuire

Learn more about each of Alabama’s major river basins through the AWWareness blog series, 12 Months of Alabama Rivers. At the end of each blog article, you will have option to submit photos you have taken of your favorite Alabama waterway to Alabama Water Watch.