Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) was designated in February, 1986, as a partnership program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the State of Alabama.  The Reserve is composed of 6,525 acres of land and water habitat and is one of 27 national reserves located along the U.S. coast. The goal of The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) is to establish and manage, through federal-state cooperation, a national system of reserves representing the different coastal regions and estuarine types that exist in the United States and its territories. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) is responsible for overall management of Weeks Bay NERR through the State Lands Division"s Coastal Section. The mission of the Weeks Bay NERR is to:

Provide leadership to promote informed management of estuarine and coastal habitats through scientific understanding and encourage good stewardship practices through partnerships, public education, and outreach programs.

The Weeks Bay ecosystem contains many freshwater and marine fish and invertebrate species. Collectively, these species support large commercial and recreational fishing industries. Weeks Bay is especially a critical nursery for shrimp, bay anchovy, blue crab and multitudes of other fish, crustaceans and shellfish. The Reserve lands also include upland and bottomland hardwood forests, freshwater marsh, submerged aquatic vegetation, and unique bog habitats. Many of these areas are especially important to the large number of trans-Gulf migratory birds as a resting and feeding area.  Reserves, such as Weeks Bay, play an important part in preserving these precious coastal environments and natural resources.

Additional information available in:

Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve: An Estuarine Profile and Bibliography


 NERR Activities

  • Long-term research and monitoring of water quality, abundance and types of important plant and animal species, and overall health of the Weeks Bay watershed through the Research program.

  • Science-based tools and training for coastal decision-makers through the Coastal Training Program

  • Coastal education programs for students and teachers through the Education Program

  • Management of the natural resources and restoration of ecosystem function through the Stewardship program.