The Cahaba River, an 1870 square mile watershed, flows through approximately one third of the Alabama landscape and has twelve major tributaries. This makes the Cahaba Alabama's longest free-flowing river. Lake Purdy, the only major reservoir in the basin, is the source of Birmingham's drinking water supply.
There are at least 69 rare and imperiled species in this watershed, 12 fish and mussel species listed under the U.S, Endangered Species Act, and 131 species of freshwater fish, more than any other river its size in North America. The Conservancy has been working to protect this watershed and its unique biodiversity for many years. The Conservancy has established three preserves along this river: Pratt's Ferry, Bibb County Glades, and Barton's Beach.
A landscape of this size cannot be preserved by land acquisition efforts alone. Preserving a massive landscape like the Cahaba takes the willing partnership of many private citizens, private businesses, and local, state and federal partners. In addition to our preserves, The Conservancy worked with our partners to establish the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge in Bibb County which protects the globally imperiled shoals lily (Cahaba lily). Through methods and partnerships as diverse as the river itself, The Conservancy has protected over 3800-acres within this watershed.