From: ANEP, 2003; USFW, 1982
Located centrally on the coast of Alabama, Mobile Bay is one of the largest estuarine systems in the United States. Portions of the bay cover parts of the states of Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee. Mobile Bay is the largest open water body in the system, which also contains Bon Secour Bay, Weeks Bay and Pelican Bay. The bays are separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Dauphin Island and the Mobile Peninsula. The Mobile Bay basin encompasses seven river systems including the Mobile, Middle, Tensaw, Raft, Apalachee, Blakeley, Dog and Fish Rivers, which together drain a watershed of over 115,500 sq. km.
The bay basin is characterized by barrier islands, tidal marshes, cypress swamps, bottomland hardwoods, and oyster reefs. Mobile Bay is home to 49 species of mammals, 126 species of reptiles and amphibians, 337 species of fresh and saltwater fish, and 355 species of birds. Endemic species within the basin include 40 fishes, 33 mussels and 110 aquatic snails, as well as a number of turtles, aquatic insects and crustaceans.