Alabama: Fifth in the U.S. for Biodiversity
According to a 2002 report by NatureServe, Alabama is fifth in the nation in terms of biodiversity. And it doesn’t stop there: Alabama’s waters have the largest number of freshwater mollusks and freshwater fish in the U.S. Unfortunately, Alabama is also ranked fourth in terms of risk and second for extinction, being surpassed only by Hawaii.
Alabama, the 25th largest state by land mass, is diverse in ecology. Mountains spread into the northeastern portion of the state, freshwater lake basins dot central Alabama, and white, sandy beaches greet visitors on the Gulf Coast. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the coastal region from the Florida panhandle to Mobile Bay is extremely rich in biodiversity—one of the most dense in the nation. Here you will find the endangered Alabama canebrake pitcher plant, Alabama beach mouse and the red-cockaded woodpecker.
The Cahaba River watershed is another hot spot of biodiversity. Flowing through Central Alabama and the Birmingham region, the Cahaba River is home to the largest number of fish and amphibians in the U.S. The watershed also contains the largest remaining concentration of the shoals lily (also known as the Cahaba lily). You can find fish such as the freckled darter, frecklebelly madtom, Alabama sturgeon, spotted bass, channel catfish, and crystal darter swimming in the river.