Buttahatchie River Watershed

The Buttahatchie River is an example of the rich biological diversity found in northeast Mississippi and is in immediate need of protection.


The Buttahatchie River begins in the hill country of northwest Alabama and flows southwest into Mississippi where it joins the Tombigbee River six miles north of Columbus, Mississippi. The Buttahatchie Bluffs area is located near Sulligent, Alabama.


Trees and plants common to the Buttahatchie River Watershed:

  • Tuliptree
  • Bigleaf magnolia
  • Cypress
  • Little brown jug
  • Twisted-petal trillium
Freshwater Mussels
  • Fine-lined pocketbook
  • Orange-nacre mucket
  • Alabama spike
  • Southern combshell
  • White heelsplitter
  • Southern hickorynut
  • Alabama hickorynut
  • Heavy pigtoe
  • Ridged mapleleaf
  • Squawfoot
  • Fawnsfoot
Freshwater Fishes
  • Frecklebelly madtom
  • Crystal darter
  • Backwater darter
  • Fluvial shiner
  • Alabama shiner
  • Freckled darter
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

Although impacted by human endeavors, the Buttahatchie River has retained much of its wild character. The river's watershed is a varied landscape with diverse ecosystems. Upland pine-oak forests, bottomland hardwoods and extensive wetlands are present along the course of the river.

The watershed is home to a rich diversity of terrestrial plants and animals, fish species and freshwater mussels. Today 22 mussel species can be found here, however in a survey completed in 1978 the count revealed 40 species. The river has 30 fish species of which seven are listed as species of concern in Mississippi.

This combination of biodiversity and functioning river system are two key reasons why the Buttahatchee River is a priority conservation area. The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and other groups have determined that protecting this river is essential for preserving Mississippi's freshwater biodiversity.

The Conservancy's Work on the Buttahatchie River Watershed

The Nature Conservancy is playing a leading role in the protection of the Buttahatchie River. Working with a diversity of partners, the Conservancy is developing a local grassroots constituency and conducting scientific research to increase our understanding of the river system. We are also educating local communities through outreach activities to build strong, local support for our efforts, as well as implementing on-the-ground conservation strategies.

Our actions will allow the Buttahatchie River to remain a biological jewel and continue to be a valuable natural resource for all the communities that live along its banks.

The following groups have worked together to understand and protect the site's rare and interdependent communities of plants and animals:

  • Conservancy staff 
  • Local landowners
  • Researchers
  • Weyerhaeuser Company, MS/AL Timberlands Region
  • Alabama Natural Heritage Program
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
  • Alabama Department of Environmental Management
  • Natural Resources Initiative of Northeast Mississippi 

For more information about the Buttahatchie River Watershed, please contact Brad Maurer, Freshwater Hydrologist.

The Nature Conservancy
Mississippi Field Office
405 Briarwood Drive, Suite 101
Jackson, MS 39206
(601) 709-4757

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