H. S. Swingle honored with stream naming

A previously unnamed stream in LeeCounty just north of Auburn, Alabama now bares the name of Homer S. Swingle, founder of the Auburn University Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures. Dr. Swingle was a professor at Auburn University from the 1930’s through the 1960’s, and is often considered the father of pond management.

He viewed ponds as being important to help feed people in Alabama during the Depression and the World War II era. His goal was simple – the establishment of a self-sustaining fish population that could provide inexpensive protein for pond owners and their families. Dr. Swinlge’s leadership led to the expansion of the Auburn University Fisheries Department into one of the largest fishery research, teaching and extension institutions in the world. He counseled presidents and prime ministers, lectured to scientists and scholars, but never lost the quality of humbleness. The stream that now bares his name drains the ponds at the Upper Station of the Auburn University Fisheries Department, ponds that Dr. Swingle built in the 1940’s and 50’s.

Dr. Swingle, in his office in the Fisheries Department at AU (above, left). New sign officially designating the local stream just north of Loachapoka on Lee County Road 188 as ‘Swingle Creek’ (above, right; pictured from left to right are Eric Reutebuch, SWaMP coordinator, Dr. William Deutsch, Director of the Alabama Water Watch Program, Dr. David Rouse, Head of the Fisheries Department, Melissa Middlebrooks, Senior Environmental Scientist at ADEM overseeing the SWaMP Watershed Project, and Dr. Swingle’s grandson Roger Pierce (far left) and his two children, Jamie and Aleyia Pierce.
Dr. Swingle, in his office in the Fisheries Department at AU (above, left). New sign officially designating the local stream just north of Loachapoka on Lee County Road 188 as ‘Swingle Creek’ (above, right; pictured from left to right are Eric Reutebuch, SWaMP coordinator, Dr. William Deutsch, Director of the Alabama Water Watch Program, Dr. David Rouse, Head of the Fisheries Department, Melissa Middlebrooks, Senior Environmental Scientist at ADEM overseeing the SWaMP Watershed Project, and Dr. Swingle’s grandson Roger Pierce (far left) and his two children, Jamie and Aleyia Pierce.

Naming the stream was conceived as part of the signage effort of streams throughout the Saugahatchee Watershed as part of the Saugahatchee Watershed Management Plan (SWaMP) Phase 1 Implementation, a 319-funded project awarded to the Alabama Water Watch Program, and coordinated by Eric Reutebuch and Wendy Seesock, in close coordination with Missy Middlebrooks of ADEM’s Nonpoint Source Management Program. Rouse and Reutebuch contacted the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, part of the U.S.G.S., and filled out a request for naming the stream in 2009. The request was granted in early 2010, and the stream officially became Swingle Creek.

Swingle Creek, (highlighted above) drains AU’s Upper Fisheries Station ponds, then flows west to join Loblockee Creek, Saugahatchee Creek, and eventually the Tallapoosa River at Yates Lake.
Swingle Creek, (highlighted above) drains AU’s Upper Fisheries Station ponds, then flows west to join Loblockee Creek, Saugahatchee Creek, and eventually the Tallapoosa River at Yates Lake.

So the next time you’re driving around Auburn, stop by Swingle Creek, soak your toes in the cool water, and remember Dr. Swingle and all the good that he did for Alabama and beyond!