Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Alabama

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife program is the Service’s most popular and effective programs for voluntary, citizen and community-based fish and wildlife habitat restoration activities. Partners program serve as a bridge to owners and managers of private lands to develop partnerships for the benefit of these Trust Species. Its approach is simple: Engage willing partners, through non-regulatory incentives, to conserve and protect wildlife values on their property.

Habitats of Special Concern:
Critically endangered habitats (>98 percent decline) that occur in Alabama include longleaf pine forests and savannahs in the coastal plain, black belt prairie, and Atlantic white cedar swamps. Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs and large streams and rivers are considered endangered with an 85 to 98 percent decline. Riparian forests, including bottomland hardwoods, are considered threatened with significant declines since European settlement. Other habitats of special concern include karst springs and underground caverns, and cedar glades. Many of these habitats are inhabited by species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Of the States east of the Colorado River, Alabama ranks first in the number of listed endangered and threatened species.

Prior to European settlement the longleaf pine ecosystem occupied 90 million acres in the southeast. Today less than 3 million acres remain. The longleaf pine ecosystem has declined in quality and quantity because of land clearing for agriculture and development, fire suppression, and conversion to faster growing loblolly and slash pine plantations. The decline of the longleaf pine ecosystem is important because it is home to at least 87 species that have been designated by State and Federal agencies as rare, threatened, endangered, or of special concern including the gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake, red-cockaded woodpecker, flatwoods salamander, and dusky gopher frog. The decline of the longleaf pine ecosystem has been implicated in the serious decline of bobwhite quail and Bachman’s sparrow.

Pitcher Plant Bogs
Gulf Coast pitcher plant bogs that once occurred on approximately 1.2 million acres in the lower coastal plain are now estimated to occur on less than 5,000 acres in natural or nearly natural condition. Another 24,000 acres of bog habitat probably remains in degraded or hydrologically altered condition. Even these liberal estimates indicate that at least 97 percent of the former bog habitat has been destroyed or seriously altered. Fire suppression is the primary reason for the decline in quality of pitcher plant bogs. Drainage and conversion of bogs to pine monocultures, cropland, pasture, and residential commercial development have combined to reduce both the quality and quantity of bog habitat.

Riparian Forests and Bottomland Hardwoods
Bottomland hardwood and riparian forests have declined significantly since colonial times in Alabama with conversion of approximately 3.8 million acres to some other land use (50 percent decline in acreage). Bottomland hardwood and riparian forest have been converted to cropland, pasture, and extensive reservoir projects for flood control, navigation and water supply.

Perennial Streams
Unaltered or degraded perennial stream habitat may be Alabama’s most endangered ecosystem. In the last century at least 75 percent of Alabama’s large mainstem rivers have been impounded for hydroelectric generation, flood control, navigation, and water supply. An additional 1,930 miles of perennial streams are degraded due to point and non-point source pollution. Many of the remaining free-flowing streams are inhabited by federally-listed threatened or endangered species including 36 species of mussels, 10 species of snails and 16 species of fish.

Conservation Strategies
The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries’ CWCS was developed to help guide restoration efforts for imperiled species in Alabama. The CWCS mission is similar to the Partners program and emphasizes preventing additional species from becoming endangered or threatened, restoring and protection imperiled habitats, increasing funding for non-game wildlife, building both public and private partnerships, and promoting voluntary conservation. The Plan is a valuable tool for the Partners program as it identifies priority species for conservation as well as declining habitats in need of restoration. The Partners program will continue its close collaboration.

Paint Rock River Watershed Initiative
The Paint Rock River, located in north east Alabama is home to11 federally-listed or candidate species -- the palezone shiner, the Tennessee pigtoe mussel, the shiny pigtoe mussel, the fine-rayed pigtoe mussel, the pink mucket, the Alabama lampmussel, the slabside pearly mussel, the rough pigtoe, the pale lilliput snail, and the snail darter. The Partners Program has developed a partnership with the Nature Conservancy and the Natural Resources Conservation Service in fencing livestock from the river and tributaries, restoring riparian vegetation, repairing stream banks and wetlands in the watershed.


  • Restore 1.5 million acres of longleaf pine habitat by replanting cropland, pasture, and pine monocultures with native forest and understory species.
  • Manage 1.5 million acres of longleaf pine habitat by prescribed burns on private land.
  • Create new partnerships to help restore longleaf pine/pine savannah or wetland habitats through a joint venture effort.
  • Restore and protect 1 million acres of wetland. At majority of the acres should be restored to bottomland hardwood wetlands intermixed with freshwater and brackish herbaceous and/or shrub wetland habitat.
  • Restore or enhance 7,500 miles of riparian and/or stream habitat.
  • Work with private landowners, State and federal agencies and conservation organizations to control exotic species.
  • Since 1988, wildlife habitat on private lands has been restored, enhanced, or protected on over 170 Partners for Fish and Wildlife projects.
  • The Partners Program has carried out restoration activities on over 30,000 acres.
  • 22 miles of riparian habitat have been restored and 1 mile fenced.
  • Over 7200 acres for wetland have been restored or protected
  • 5 acres of cedar glades have been restored

Future Needs

Longleaf Pine Restoration Initiative
In order to help reduce the decline in the longleaf pine ecosystem, the Partners Program developed a partnership with the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee, the Longleaf Alliance and Auburn University. The partnership encourages private landowners to convert loblolly or slash pine plantations to longleaf pine through cost share assistance. The partnership is not just another tree planting program as landowners are encouraged to plant native grasses and forbs as part of the restoration effort and use controlled burning to maintain the ecosystem. Restoration of the longleaf ecosystem can vary in cost from $210 to $400 per acre.

The Cahaba River Initiative
The Cahaba River focus area is an extraordinary repository of aquatic biodiversity. It supports 66 rare or imperiled species, including 10 fish and mussel species listed as threatened or endangered.

The Cahaba, Alabama’s longest free-flowing river, supports eleven snails and one fish that are Cahaba River basin endemics. Increased development pressure and streambank erosion from cattle watering from the river and increased nutrients threaten the aquatic system. The Partners Program entered into a cooperative agreement with the Cahaba River Society to develop a grassroots partnership with private landowners along the river to improve water quality and protect the aquatic ecosystem. The agreement provides for fencing, development of alternative water sources for cattle, wetland restoration (tree planting and ditch plugging) and riparian restoration. Fencing costs can range from $3,700 to 5,800 per mile. Riparian vegetation restoration can cost $200 to $300 per acre.

Additional assistance for can be obtained from the following offices:
Birmingham.................... 205/731 0874
Eufaula NWR................. 334/687 4065
Ft. Benning ..................... 706/544 6422
Auburn ............................ 334/844 4796
Wheeler NWR................ 256/353 7243
Choctaw NWR ............... 251/246 3583
Daphne ES...................... 251/441 5181
Bon Secour NWR .......... 251/540 7720

Contact Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Alabama

Sergio Pierluissi
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners biologist
1208 B Main Street
Daphne, Alabama  36526
Phone: 251-441-5872
Fax: 251-441 6222


Service Area

National Program

Office Locaters

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator