All About the Black Warrior River Basin

The Black Warrior River Basin is the largest watershed wholly within Alabama’s state boundaries. The river’s principal forks, the Sipsey, Mulberry, and Locust, begin in North Alabama and converge to form the Black Warrior to the west of Birmingham at the Jefferson County, Walker County line. 

A beautiful view of Blackwater Creek near Walston Bridge in Jasper, AL. Photo Credit: Cathy East
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AWW Office COVID-19 Update

AWW Office Operations

If you need to come by our office, please call or email to make an appointment.

Current Monitors

Please note that monitors in need of recertification have been given an extension of their certifications until further notice. They will be permitted to enter data. Please check this post regularly for early 2021 updates.

Current monitors can continue to monitor water as long as they abide by all safety guidelines and requirements. Each monitor has a unique situation related to where they monitor, and with whom they monitor. Please use the following resources to make the best decision for your situation, and don’t hesitate to contact AWW if in doubt.

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All about the Alabama River Basin!

The Alabama River is considered the heart river of the state. The Alabama is the state’s longest river, flowing for 315 miles and draining 11% of the state in 18 counties. The Alabama River is formed by the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers just north of Montgomery. The mighty river begins at the Fall Line, an imaginary line demarcating the area of Alabama’s ancient coastline. The Alabama River serves as the unifier of Alabama’s Eastern Rivers, the Coosa and Tallapoosa and her western rivers, the Cahaba, Black Warrior and Tombigbee.

Free-flowing, or un-impounded, sections of the river show many high bluffs formed as the chalky soils of the Black Belt were carved away. Pictured above is Hatcher Bluff (estimated to be 350 feet high in 1925) along the Blackwell Bend of the main stem of the Alabama River near Sardis, AL.



Autauga Creek runs through Prattville, Alabama, home to the Daniel Pratt Gin Factory founded by the famous Alabamian Daniel Pratt in the 1830’s. After the Civil War, Pratt became the first millionaire in the South.


Catoma Creek, near the city of Montgomery, is known for its fossils including a famous Mastodon tooth found in 2005.


Development of the Alabama River for improved navigation began in 1963. The navigation system now consists of three locks and dams at Claiborne, Millers Ferry, and Robert F. Henry and provides for a nine foot deep channel from Mobile to near Wetumpka. Millers Ferry and Robert F. Henry allow for the production of hydroelectric power.

Claiborne Lock and Dam created Claiborne Lake, the state’s smallest reservoir at 5,930 acres with 216 miles of shoreline.


Up to 144 species of fish have been documented from the Alabama River subbasin. Species of concern include the Blue Sucker, Alabama Shad, Southern Walleye, Paddlefish, Gulf Sturgeon, and Alabama Sturgeon. The Alabama Sturgeon and a number of important mussel species rely on the stretch of river below Claiborne Lock and Dam which is the last, largely unregulated, big river habitat in Alabama.

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AWW Staff Bacteria Blitzes

Water monitoring has been a great way for our monitors and staff to get outdoors while maintaining social distancing. In April, May, and June (planning another for July!), the AWW Program Staff set out to conduct multi-site bacteriological monitoring blitzes near their homes in the Auburn area. Each staffer took on multiple sites on several waterbodies in Auburn. Take a look at what we found!

Rachel (RM in orange) took on several sites in north Auburn, Sergio and Carolina ( RC in blue) took on west and south Auburn, while Mona (MD in red) and Sydney (SS in black) sampled central Auburn.
Rachel (RM in orange) took on several sites in north Auburn, Sergio and Carolina ( RC in blue) took on west and south Auburn, while Mona (MD in red) and Sydney (SS in black) sampled central Auburn.
June 2020’s E. coli results were trending down from the previous two months across everyone’s monitoring sites.
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PAWWesome Co-workers

As the AWW Program Staff settles into the “new normal,” they are also adjusting to working with their new (four-legged) co-workers at home. Since they’ve worked with them about 5 weeks now, we thought we’d ask about their work habits:

It seems they have a slight tendency to sleep on the job…

Sydney’s co-worker, Lila Grace
Carolina’s co-worker, Momo
Carolina’s co-worker, Tiger
Sydney’s co-worker, Jack Baloo
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