Tag: Mobile Delta

Watershed Beauty

Watershed Beauty

Dog River, Mobile, Alabama

Earlier this week I was part of a large group of individuals doing health assessments on the local manatee population. While the health of the animals is important and the work by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab biologists and volunteers as well as Sea World Rescue was outstanding, as I rode in one of the boats I couldn’t help but feel amazement at the beauty of our area.

Dog River–Cypress Trees

Dog River conjures images of mud from Will Kimbrough‘s awesome song, Mud Bottom. As I took time at our lunch break to cool off, I thought of the squishy mud Will sings about which always reminds me of Week’s Bay….where I grew up. And the mud is indeed squishy. But I digress….

Our watersheds of coastal Alabama are simply magnificent. The Mobile Delta is one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet. Yes, it’s muddy. Yes, the water is dark….but it’s dark like a good roux in gumbo is dark. The darker the roux, the richer and tastier the gumbo.

One of the many launch points on the Mobile Delta

If you are a resident of coastal Alabama I invite you to visit the Delta. Take an eco-cruise with Jimbo Meador or take your kayak out….but hire a guide if you go far. The Delta is a maze of marsh grass and channels leading into a labyrinth of alligators, lotus blossoms and nurseries for baby sea life.

The Mobile Delta

Visit the rivers…Dog, Tensaw, Blakley, Fish, Magnolia….but leave the powerboat at home.  Take a canoe or kayak or paddleboard to really experience the essence of these special places. The Gulf of Mexico is where they all end up but their routes are fabulous water trails into the vast diversity of our area.

Volunteer to help…through wildlife agencies, water keepers….be a part of the solution!

Part of our awesome group of manatee-lovers and scientists.


We’re All Connected

We’re All Connected

We’re All Connected….We’ve often heard the phrase but I wonder if there’s much pause to consider it. Really consider it.

Recently I was invited to embark on a morning’s exploration into the Mobile Delta. As I was riding in Jimbo Meador’s custom made eco-tour boat with my friend Brenda, I thought about the idea…the fact..that we are all connected as the enormity of the Delta unfolded.

The cool wind eased the early June humidity as we skimmed along the surface under the Bay Way, the nearly eight mile bridge that connects Baldwin and Mobile counties. To the south was Mobile Bay and in every other direction stretched the massive delta, second in size only to the Mississippi River Delta. I imagined the massive amounts of water coming through the rivers that make up the Delta…Tombigbee, Alabama, Mobile, Middle, Blakeley, Tensaw, Apalachee, Raft, Spanish. Reaching far into Alabama and neighboring states, everything that happens in watersheds north of the Delta, happens here…ends up in Mobile Bay…the Gulf of Mexico…the Atlantic Ocean…and will eventually circulate in ocean currents all over this water planet.

The 500 plant species, 300 bird species, 126 fish species, 46 mammal species, 69 reptile species, 30 amphibian species and any human that consumes these species is affected by what happens north of the Delta. Pollutants, toxins, fertilizers that create nutrient blooms, introduced invasive species, drought, floods….all of these things impact all life in the watersheds below it.

Brenda removing the balloon from the water.

Past Blakeley State Park we found a mylar, helium-filled (well…at one time it was helium-filled) ballon someone had released. Luckily this one didn’t end up in a leatherback sea turtle’s gut or the string wrapped around a great blue heron’s legs or around osprey’s wings. This was a simple example of how what one person does somewhere else affects life…or has the potential to negatively affect other life. (Please blow bubbles…don’t release balloons).

It might be easy to forget this biodiverse area is impacted by anything as it’s so vast. It’s 45 miles long, 6 to 16 miles wide, 300 square miles with 20,000 acres of open water, 10,000 acres of marsh, 70,000 acres of swamp and 85,000 acres of forest. But the water–the lifeblood of our planet–originates far, far away from the coastal wonder.

The drone of insects, the rusty, laughing voices of common gallinules and croaking bull frogs serenaded us after we stopped in the Tensaw River. Dragonflies flitted and landed all around us. Alligators sulked by dropping underwater if we spotted them. Such richness of life was present and all due to the interconnectedness of life, not just in our coastal community, but throughout our entire state and into others as well. These thoughts drifted in and out as I photographed and then sat quietly absorbing the magic of mud, water and sky.

Jimbo Meador, guide at 17 Turtles Outfitters

Humans have a tendency to claim ownership, to protect territory…mine, mine, mine. But this isn’t a logical or intelligent way to view life on this planet. Who’s to say what life form is more important than another? Or what area is more worthy of protection than another? We are so keen on dividing and labeling everything that we often forget the complete and total Oneness of all Creation. This, I propose, is our greatest failure.

I suggest two cures. One, go out into a vast area near your home…wherever it is…and ponder the water flow, the life that exists and how it is connected to other areas. Secondly, take time every day to stop outside and feel your feet on the ground and breathe, connecting the sky and the earth through you. Take five minutes a day and plant yourself on the Earth.

The only way we will find success, joy, peace….is when we understand fully that we are all connected. Take it outside everyday for five minutes…or more…and see what changes occur in your life.