Out and About

America’s Amazon: The Mobile-Tensaw Delta

On Sunday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m., Friends of the Locust Fork River will partner with Wallace State Community College for a special showing at the Frank Green Building (5th Ave East, Oneonta) of one of the most informative environmental films about Alabama. The award-winning documentary is America’s Amazon: The Mobile-Tensaw Delta. It is a very inspiring overview (past, present, and future) of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and the Mobile River Basin.

You will be overwhelmed by the “I did not know that” moments. You will walk out of the theater a bit conflicted between joy and sorrow. The creators of the film written by Ben Raines and directed by Lynn Rabren are hoping you convert the joy and sorrow into concern and action to help save a national treasure – America’s Amazon.

The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is one of the more biologically diverse regions in the world. The delta has 18 turtle species – more than anywhere in the world. It has 126 species of fish and at least 300 species of birds.

The Red Hills salamander has lived in the delta’s hill country for 40 to 50 million years and is only found in the state of Alabama. The rusty grave digger crawfish was thought to be extinct until recently discovered in “Alabama’s” Amazon. The delta region has more plant species than anywhere in the United States. How in the world did that happen? The film will show you.

However, as you might expect, America’s Amazon is threatened. The 44,000 square miles of watershed that empty into Mobile Bay brings more than enrichment. Over the last 100 years much of the biodiversity has fallen victim to pollution created by urban sprawl, poisonous industrial waste, insecticides and herbicides, and uncontrolled logging. Year after year, many of the delta’s plants and animals are threatened with extinction.

One of the greatest threats is sediment (mud) going into the waterways. Sediment breaks the food chain by settling on and killing bottom dwelling inhabitants such as snails, mussels, and plant species. In just the last 40 years, half the underwater vegetation has been lost resulting in decreased habitats and food sources for many species. Why is this happening?

Environmental protection is difficult because “we” don’t give it its due. There are laws on the books designed to protect our environment, but our elected officials do not fund the protection agencies so they can adequately do what they were created to do. That is a subject we will let be for now. It is up to me and you and other private citizens rising to the occasion to make a difference. Your help keeping the Locust Fork River’s watershed clean helps keep America’s Amazon healthy.

Let us learn more about our great state’s “Amazon.” See you and the family on Sunday. You will not be disappointed. Did I tell you the event is FREE?