In January 1989, a group of citizens in southeast Alabama concerned with managing the natural resources of the Choctawhatchee and Pea Rivers formed the Choctawhatchee-Pea River Improvement Association. The Alabama Legislature passed Act No. 91-602 in May 1991 “to provide for the establishment of watershed management authorities, and to authorize said entities to protect and manage the watersheds of this state.” The Choctawhatchee-Pea Rivers Watershed Management Authority became the first agency created under said law.

The Alabama portion of the Yellow River watershed was added to the Authority in January 1997 which increased its management area to 2,328,000 acres, and the agency became known as the Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority (CPYRWMA). All or a portion of the watersheds lie in the southeastern counties of Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Pike.

The mission of the agency is to develop and implement plans and programs related to water conservation; water use; flood prevention and control; water pollution control; wildlife habitat protection; agricultural and timberland protection; and erosion prevention and control. The agency’s four strategic Management Elements are: Water Quality, Water Quantity, Flood Control, and Education.