The Flint River watershed encompasses approximately 568 square miles or about 350,000 acres in Madison County, Alabama, and Lincoln County, Tennessee.
The Flint River Watershed is home to several species of rare, threatened, or endangered plants and animals, including the slackwater darter (LT), Tuscumbia darter, southern cave fish, the eastern hellbender, the Alabama cave shrimp (LE), the tan riffleshell and fine rayed pigtoe (LE) mussels, Morefield’s leatherflower (LE), the Gray Bat (LE), Price’s potato bean (LT), Alabama snowwreath, limerock arrowwood, Cumberland rosinweed, dwarf trillium, and purple sedge. Those species not listed as endangered (LE) or threatened (LT) are either candidate species or species of concern. Of the 108 listed species in the State, 6 are in the Flint River Watershed. Madison County is also particularly rich in large timber and has the most State champion trees of any county in north Alabama, being second in the State after Baldwin County.
The majority of the water quality problems can be attributed to agriculture, construction, inadequate or malfunctioning septic tank systems, and increased urban development. Activities that result in a concentrated discharge into surface waters are referred to as “point source discharges” and include discharges from municipal wastewater treatment facilities and industrial sites. Nonpoint source pollution is generally associated with stormwater runoff that carries sediment, inorganic nutrients, toxins, and organic material into receiving waters. In addition, groundwater, which eventually enters the Flint River via spring discharge and seepage to streams, can become contaminated and thereby pollute surface waters. Nonagricultural nonpoint sources of pollution include rainfall runoff from parking lots, industrial sites, landfills, air pollutants, leaking septic tanks, and overflows from municipal storm sewers. Agricultural runoff contributes sediment, nutrients, pesticides, and bacteria to surface waters.
For detailed information about the watershed and a complete management plan, see the Flint River Watershed Management Plan.