From clear mountain streams to the ocean, Alabama harbors abundant and diverse water resources. This diversity includes springs, swamps, streams, rivers, reservoirs, small impoundments, natural ponds, estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 77,000 miles of rivers and streams, 50,000 small impoundments, and 42 large reservoirs are found within the state boundaries, and the Mobile basin yields more water per unit drainage area than any other river in the United States. Underlying these abundant water resources is a diverse physiography that has resulted in the evolution of the most diverse aquatic fauna of any state in North America.
Alabama citizens use these rich water resources for drinking and other household uses, hydroelectric power, irrigation, agriculture, industry and recreation. Aquaculture produces abundant food in both freshwater and marine systems, and seafood is harvested from freshwater and coastal resources. In addition, Alabama provides a spectacular recreational fishery in both freshwater and marine systems.
Sustainable use of aquatic resources is a global and state issue. Balancing the needs of expanding human population with the need for preservation of water quality and aquatic fauna requires a fundamental understanding of these resources gained through research.
A mission of the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures is to conduct research on all aspects of water resource management, including aquaculture, aquatic animal health, genomics, aquatic ecology, conservation, and fisheries management. We are providing Alabama with sound information that is used to educate Alabama policy makers, and citizens, as well as the scientific community to better manage and conserve aquatic resources. By serving Alabama, and providing a research foundation for the wise use of our aquatic resources, we are also providing a model for the global community.