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The Plan

Estuaries - where rivers meet the sea

Executive Summary cover page

The Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary -

Our most treasured natural resource

it supports the economy and quality of life for the many residents and visitors of the coastal panhandle of Florida and Alabama. The watershed encompasses 3,339,632 acres with roughly 60% of this area in Alabama and 40% in Florida. The Choctawhatchee River, which feeds the bay, originates approximately 140 miles north in central Alabama.  

The Choctawhatchee Bay estuary includes abundant forests and wetlands, an extensive network of streams and rivers, along with ten coastal dune lakes - very rare and highly sensitive ecosystems. These coastal dune lakes are all found within the CBEP boundary. Only four countries in the world have coastal dune lakes and in the Florida they are only found in the Choctawhatchee Bay estuary. 

These diverse terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems support treasured fish and wildlife species including several endangered and threatened species such as the Gulf Sturgeon, the Least Tern, and the Choctawhatchee Beach mouse.

CCMP - Executive Summary

The Purpose

of this CCMP is to identify the prominent natural resources, impacts to those resources, and strategies to protect or improve the conditions of the Choctawhatchee Bay watershed for generations to come. These resources include water quality of the bay and freshwater systems, habitats, and fish and wildlife populations.

While much of Choctawhatchee Bay watershed is protected as conservation lands, impacts resulting from increasing development pressures around the bay and in the watershed, as well as global impacts from climate change and sea level rise, threaten to degrade the ecological integrity of the Choctawhatchee Bay system over time. Therefore, this CCMP establishes a strategic vision for enhanced public awareness and environmental education, improved environmental monitoring, continued resource protection for resilience and sustainability, and targeted restoration when and where needed. and problem solving among stakeholder agencies and user groups.

CCMP - Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan
Map of Choctawhatchee Bay watershed