Places We Protect

Buttahatchie River Watershed


Buttahatchie River downstream from Lake Battahatchie off Hwy 278.
Buttahatchie River Buttahatchie River downstream from Lake Battahatchie off Hwy 278. © © Matthew Miller/TNC

The Buttahatchie River originates in the hill country of northwest Alabama.



Originating in the hill country of northwest Alabama, the Buttahatchie River flows through Mississippi to join the Tombigbee River six miles north of Columbus. While it has been impacted by human activities, the river is home to a rich diversity of terrestrial plants and animals, fish and freshwater mussels.

The Buttahatchie River is a biological jewel with a variety of habitats including upland pine-oak forests, bottomland hardwoods and extensive wetlands. The Nature Conservancy has partnered with local landowners, researchers, businesses and government agencies to study and restore the watershed, and is developing a local, grassroots constituency and conducting scientific research to increase understanding of the river system. The efforts of TNC and its partners will allow the Buttahatchie to remain a valuable resource for all the communities living along its banks.


  • Tuliptree
  • Bigleaf magnolia
  • Cypress
  • Twisted-petal trillium
  • Little brown jug

Freshwater Mussels

Today a total of 22 species of freshwater mussels are found in the river, a decrease from the 40 species in a 1978 survey. Examples of these creatively-named invertebrates include:

  • Fine-lined pocketbook
  • Orange-nacre mucket
  • Alabama spike
  • Southern combshell
  • White heelsplitter
  • Southern hickorynut
  • Alabama hickorynut
  • Heavy pigtoe
  • Ridged mapleleaf
  • Squawfoot
  • Fawnsfoot

Freshwater Fish

Biologists also have found 30 species of fish in the system; seven are listed as species of concern within Mississippi.

  • Frecklebelly madtom
  • Crystal darter
  • Backwater darter
  • Fluvial shiner
  • Alabama shiner
  • Freckled darter


TNC is grateful to the groups who have worked to understand and protect this site’s rare and valuable communities of plants and animals, including:

  • 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



Explore our work in this region