Species Diversity

Up to 144 species of fish have been documented from the Alabama River subbasin (excluding the Cahaba). However, fish diversity has declined since the Corps dams were constructed in the 1960s. Although the dams likely impede the movement of migratory and resident fishes, some species including striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and blue sucker (Cycleptus sp.cf.elongatus) are able to move past these structures. The basin continues to support a diverse community, including paddlefish (polyodon spathula), blue sucker, striped bass, southern walleye (Stizostedion sp.), Alabama shad (Alosa alabamae), mooneye (Hiodon turgisus), and Alabama sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus suttkusi). The Federally protected Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) may also occur in the lower reaches of the subbasin. (Corps? State of Rivers?)

There are 144 species of fish, both native and introduced species that have been documented from the Alabama River.

Species of concern include:

Blue sucker
Alabama shad
Southern Walleye
Gulf 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. The only known surviving population of Alabama sturgeon, an endangered species, is found in this section.

Fish status in Alabama Basin
Total species                       144

The Southern clubshell (Pleurobema decisum), an endangered species, historically was known from every major stream system in the Mobile Basin outside the Mobile Delta. During recent surveys (94-96) this species was found at two locations on Bogue Chitto Creek in Dallas County.(GSA)

The Orange-nacre mucket (Lampsilis perovalis), a threatened species, is known from the Alabama River near Claiborne and was also found in the Tombigbee, Black Warrior and Cahaba drainages. Recent surveys (94-96) found two specimens in Bogue Chitto Creek in Dallas County and one relic shell in Limestone Creek in Monroe County. (GSA)

The Alabama pearlshell (Margaritifera marrianae) was recently found in a new locality, Big Flat Creek, in the Alabama drainage. Its status within its historic range of Limestone Creek is unknown.(GSA)

Dry Cedar Creek in Lowndes County yields a high diversity and high number of live mussels compared to other tributaries to the Alabama, according to recent surveys. Pintalla Creek in Montgomery County demonstrated good mussel diversity (with 9 species present) but had very few live specimens. Big Swamp Creek in Lowndes County yielded 8 species present but only one type was found alive. Bogue Chitto Creek in Dallas County demonstrates extremely high mussel diversity with at least 15 species represented, however, the presence of Spyrogyra may indicate the presence of nutrient problems on this tributary.

Pine Barren Creek on the Dallas / Wilcox County line(GSA)

There are commercially harvested species such as ebony mussel (Fuscnaia ebena), washboard mussel (Megalonaias nervosa), and other species (Quadrula spp.. F. cerina, Obliquaria reflexa). Clairborne Lake and Dannelly Lake also contain two Federally endangered mussel species, the southern clubshell (Plerobema decisum) and the only known population of the heavy pigtoe (P. taitanum). (Corps ?)

The majority of the remaining gastropods in the basin belong to the genus Elimia.

Crayfish in tributaries of the Alabama include

Cambarus (Depressicambarus) striatus found in Big Swamp Creek

(Lacunicambarus) diogenes found in Autauga Creek

Oronectes (Hespericambarus) perfectus found in Pine Barrens and Big Swamp Creek

Oronectes (Tiscellascens) holti found in Hogan Creek, Bogue Chitto, Dry Cedar, Mulberry Creek and Catoma Creek. Considered threatened

Oronectes (Tiscellascens) sp. Ref. jonesi found in Limestone, Big Flat Creek, Robinson Creek, Bogue Chitto, Mulberry Creek, Big Swamp Creek, and Pintlala Creek. considered threatened.

Procambarus (Pennides) spiculifer found in Limestone Creek and Pine Barren Creek.

Procambarus (Pennides) versutus found in Limestone, Big Flat, Robinson, Pursley, Oakmulgee, Mulberry, Little Mulberry, Swift, and Autauga Creeks