MBNEP at work: Western Shore Watershed Management Plan Completed, Released to Public

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program announced this week completion and publication of its Western Shore Watershed Management Plan (WMP). The Plan will serve as a roadmap for citizens, policy makers, stakeholder organizations, and other groups along Mobile Bay’s Western Shore to make informed decisions about potential actions having a direct effect on the health and productivity of their local waters. It includes extensive input from the public, business, and environmental communities, as well as from local and state governments.

The Western Shore Watershed Complex includes three watersheds stretching from the City of Mobile south to the Dauphin Island Causeway: the 4,239-acre Garrow’s Bend Watershed, draining the western shore from Virginia Street in Mobile south to Dog River; the 9,487-acre Deer River Watershed, stretching from Dog River to Fowl River and including the Theodore Industrial Canal; and the 2,807-acre Delchamps Bayou Watershed, draining Mon Louis Island from Fowl River south to Alabama Port.

The Western Shore Watershed Complex forms the interface between the waters of Mobile Bay and upland portions of southern Mobile County. The vision of the Western Shore WMP is to identify specific and achievable measures to restore, protect, conserve, and preserve features of these watersheds which contribute to our coastal quality of life. As with other MBNEP WMPs, the Western Shore WMP describes current conditions of these watersheds and identifies areas of concern and potential actions to improve conditions and prevent possible future degradation. It even recommends potential funding sources to pay for those actions.

The three constituent Western Shore watersheds drain approximately 25.8 square miles. With so much of this relatively flat area located on the Mobile Bay waterfront, coastal erosion; flooding, sea level rise, and climate vulnerability; loss of habitats; impacted water quality; and historic preservation are among the issues identified in this WMP as major concerns.

The Plan, funded through the RESTORE Act, is the culmination of work by the MBNEP and a Goodwin, Mills, and Cawood team that also included South Coast Engineers and ECOS Environmental Consulting.

The mission of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is to promote the wise stewardship of Alabama’s estuaries and coast by using the best available science to measure status and trends, restore benefits of healthy ecosystems, build local capacity for environmental management and community resilience, and grow the number of citizen stewards across our region.

To download a copy of the Plan, please visit our Western Shore page.