To study, manage, and develop our water resources in a scientific and comprehensive way to minimize their degradation, maximize their availability for all users, and restore and recover aquatic species.
In 2006, we began working together to search for opportunities for the restoration and recovery of imperiled aquatic species. The efforts of this group, what we now call the Alabama Rivers and Streams Network, have produced a map depicting what we term "Strategic Habitat Units"--SHUs and "Strategic River Reach Units"-- SRRUs, which are watersheds and river reaches that in the opinion of aquatic biologists practicing in Alabama support viable and health aquatic habitat, populations of imperiled species, and provide good opportunities for their restoration and recovery.
The general process for these SHU assessments is to: (1) compile existing water quality, biological, habitat, land cover-land use information and collect new data with regard to imperiled species distributions, habitat, habitat threats, and current assessments of biological condition (IBIs)--an integrated approach; (2) identify issues and problems in the watersheds affecting water quality and aquatic habitat; (3) initiate cooperative watershed projects, including 319 efforts, to fix problems; and (4) reintroduce populations of imperiled species back into restored habitats. Our ultimate goal is to some day soon begin removing species from state and federal lists of imperiled species.