In our country, rivers have a special significance, particularly in Alabama, where rivers have long been recognized as one of the state’s most important natural and cultural resources.
So I was delighted to learn about the highly acclaimed book, "Alabama Rivers: A Celebration and Challenge," by Bill Deutsch,
While Bill had a distinguished career as a teacher and aquatic ecologist at Auburn University, this is not a dull, academic treatise. Rather, it is described by Mark Kelly, one of the first reviewers, as “enchanting.”
Alabama has more than 132,000 miles of rivers and streams, which supply drinking and irrigation water, provide transportation, generate hydroelectric power, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and offer outdoor recreation. The river system is engraved in the Alabama state seal, and is a major component of our state’s natural and cultural heritage.
Most of these rivers and their tributaries flow into the Mobile River Basin, which forms one of the largest inland delta systems and has one of the largest discharges or water flow per acre of land mass drained, much more water per acre than the Mississippi, Ohio, or Columbia Rivers that have greater overall discharges.
The basin is one of the richest in the world in number of species and types of habitat.
Bill provides an overview of river geology and settlement patterns along rivers since the first humans arrived more than 12,000 years ago and identifies both the ecological benefits and challenges of our river systems.
He also strongly encourages readers to become involved in river-related activities, including awareness and education, protection and restoration, and advocacy and policy.
Alabama’s Rivers is an impressive combination of careful research and evocative writing.
To purchase the book, request a presentation, or see upcoming events, visit the website www.alabamariversbook.org .