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.
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.
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!