CPYR Watershed Authority
West Fork of Choctawhatchee River  
CPYR Watershed Authority

About the Watersheds


The Rivers


CHOCTAWHATCHEE RIVER  ( “river of the Choctaws”)


   Starting in the swampy wetlands near Clayton in Barbour County, the east and west forks of the Choctawhatchee River travel through boggy stretches of beautiful bald cypress with Spanish moss and a host of deciduous and evergreen trees.  In fact, the forks run through an area with more species of trees than any other forest in temperate North America.  It is one of the longest free-flowing rivers remaining in Alabama.


   Near Ozark and Newton, the forks merge to form the Choctawhatchee River which flows generally southwest for about 48 miles to Geneva, Alabama.  Its main tributary, the Pea River, joins it below Geneva.




   The Pea River basin drains an area west of the Choctawhatchee River.  It rises in Bullock County southeast of Union Springs Alabama and is the largest tributary to the Choctawhatchee River.


   The river flows southwest in Alabama for about 68 miles to Elba, then south for about 30 miles to the west of Samson, then gradually turns east and dips slightly into Florida before joining the Choctawhatchee River just south of Geneva, Alabama.  The total length of the river is 128 miles and drains an area of 1,452 square miles.




   The Yellow River and its tributaries contain approximately 328,000 acres and lies in Crenshaw, Coffee, and Covington Counties in Alabama.  It is one of the most pristine water bodies in State of Alabama.  It has a total drainage area of 507 square miles and is 114 miles in total length.  The Yellow River flows into the Blackwater River and out of Alabama into Blackwater Bay in Florida.


The total area of land in these basins is approximately 2,328,000 acres.






   The Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watersheds cover approximately 3,637 square miles of the Alabama Coastal Plain.  The geologic history of the area has been influenced by the Appalachian Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico.  The watersheds are underlain by coastal plain sediments composed of sand, clay, and limestone that vary in thickness from approximately 2,000 feet along the northern margin of the watershed to more than 5,000 feet at the Florida state line along the southwestern margin of the watershed area.  These coastal plain sediments have been divided into 25 different geologic units that vary in age from Cretaceous (deposited approximately 100 million years ago) to Holocene (recent alluvial sediments that are being deposited today.)  Coastal plain sediments are underlain by much older geologic units composed of metamorphic and igneous rocks.  The geology of the area is of great importance for economic development and quality of life by providing rich soils for agriculture, construction materials, and sources of public, industrial, and agricultural water supply.




   The basins are characterized by their topography of gentle to moderately rolling hills in the upper northern portion with crests about 600 feet above sea level.  The influence of the Southern Red Hills region may be observed in the northern and western portions of the watersheds.  Ridges in these areas are relatively steep and narrow with slightly increased elevations and topographic relief.  The lands, excluding some of the flood plains, are well drained and are conducive to the growth of row crops, as well as, for use in other agricultural pursuits.



   In the Choctawhatchee, Pea, and Yellow River basins, the climate is mild in winter and hot and humid during the summer.  The average daily temperature varies from 50 degrees Fahrenheit in December to 91 degrees Fahrenheit in July and August.
   Rainfall is usually plentiful throughout the basin.  The average yearly rainfall ranges from 52 inches in the upper areas of the basins to 64 inches in the southern part.  Extremes of average yearly rainfall vary from a minimum of about 25 inches in 1954 to a maximum of about 85 inches in 1929.
   Monthly rainfall during the four wettest months, June through September, averages nearly six inches.  In October and November, rainfall averages 3.5 inches.  A maximum 24-hour precipitation of 20 inches was recorded at Elba, Alabama in March, 1929.


RIVER BASIN SIZE:  2.3 million acres Water shortages due to declining
  groundwater levels and increasing
COUNTIES: Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Sediment in streams and rivers
Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, from unpaved roads, gullies, and
Henry, Houston, and Pike croplands
TRIBUTARY STREAMS:  Whitewater Impaired water quality related to
Creek, Double Bridges Creek, Big agricultural and other non-point
Creek, Little Choctawhatchee River, source pollution
Pea Creek, East and West Forks of the  
Choctawhatchee River  
MUNICIPALITIES:  Abbeville, Clayton, Restricted growth of irrigated
Brundidge, Daleville, Dothan, Elba, agriculture, industry, and
Enterprise, Florala, Geneva, Opp, Troy, municipalities due to potential
Andalusia, Ozark, Luverne, Clio and water shortages
Union Springs  
ECONOMY:  Agriculture, timber, cattle, Contaminated groundwater due
broiler production, peanut production, to failing septic tank systems
and Ft. Rucker military installation  
activities Lack of sufficient impoundments
  for surface-water storage, flood
  control, and recreational usage
  CPYR Watershed Authority