The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has released the Claiborne and Millers Ferry Locks and Dams Fish Passage Study Draft Feasibility Report (FR) and Integrated Environmental Assessment (EA) for public review and comment. The Draft FR/EA was posted on May 1, 2023. The public review and comment period is for 30 days and will end on May 31, 2023. To download a copy of the Draft FR/EA click here.
The Claiborne and Millers Ferry Locks and Dams Fish Passage Study (also referred to as the Alabama Fish Passage Study) was initiated in November 2021. The Nature Conservancy is the Non-Federal Partner. This study is authorized by Section 216 of the Flood Control Act of 1970 (33 U.S.C. 549a). The Alabama Fish Passage Study seeks to establish fish passage by reconnecting over 230 miles of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers to the Mobile River Delta into the Gulf of Mexico, providing connectivity for multiple species of fish, crawfish, mussels, turtles, etc.
The project will directly address the loss of habitat connectivity for fish movement in the ACT river system; allow the river ecosystem to be resilient to external stressors within a certain range of natural variation, maintaining a self-sustaining condition of the ecosystem; and maintain the process of carbon sequestration that occurs in the bottom hardwoods of the delta a critical process that captures and stores carbon dioxide in the ground thereby improving ecosystem resiliency.
Claiborne and Millers Ferry Locks and Dams are part of a larger system extending through Alabama, northwest Georgia, and into Tennessee. They are part of the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) River system. These projects separate the Cahaba River from the Lower Alabama River, Mobile Delta, and the Gulf of Mexico. The project area extends 165 river miles from the Alabama River below Claiborne to upstream of Millers Ferry.
River ecosystems are complex systems of energy, water, and material flows interacting with a diverse set of organisms. A “healthy” river maintains its connectivity as determined by the geomorphological characteristics of the watershed. These physical connections allow the river ecosystem to be resilient to external stressors within a certain range of natural variation, maintaining a self-sustaining condition of the ecosystem. Disruption of these relations can lead to degradation of the river system.