Aquatic Resources Management Program: Saugahatchee Creek Watershed

Maintaining the quality and quantity of aquatic resources is an increasing challenge because of the continued growth of the world’s population. Rivers, lakes, and even the oceans are becoming polluted at an alarming rate, making clean, potable water a scarce resource and endangering aquatic ecosystems, many of which provide economically valuable food resources. As point and nonpoint source pollution threatens an increasing proportion of our water resources, natural resource managers need to understand how to balance human activities on watersheds and how to maintain and even enhance healthy aquatic systems.


Identify and measure sources of point and nonpoint water pollution arising within Saugahatchee (referred to locally as Saugahatchee) Watershed.
Measure the effects of these pollutants on aquatic plants and animals. Develop long-range management plans to reduce water pollution and enhance biological integrity of Saugahatchee Creek and Yates Lake.


Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures researchers are monitoring water quality and quantity at 24 sampling locations on Saugahatchee Creek and its principal tributaries. Over a 2.5-year period, they will conduct about 26,000 chemical and physical analyses to estimate the amount, type, and approximate location of pollution sources within the basin. In addition, they are studying bottom-dwelling invertebrates (bugs and worms) and the condition of their habitat to assess the effects of pollutants on stream life. Finally, these researchers are using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to determine basin landscape characteristics that may contribute pollutants to Saugahatchee Creek.


Water quality and biological data along with GIS maps will be used for long-term planning and remediation of Saugahatchee Creek and its impaired embayment in Yates Lake. Based on results of this basin-level study of Saugahatchee Creek, refinements will be made so that this new approach can be more effectively used in the future in other basins.

Principal Investigators

Photo of David Bayne
David R. Bayne
Professor Emeritus
Cliff Webber
VIsiting Professor
203 Swingle Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849

Affiliated Departments or Institutions

Alabama Pesticide Residue Laboratory
Auburn University Soils Laboratory
Alabama Department of Environmental Management