Reporting From Apalachicola, Florida: A Thousand Straws Stress River Basin

Reporter Codi Yeager visits the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, where a severe drought is putting pressure on vital freshwater supplies for farms, cities, industries, and ecosystems in three Southeast states.

Having just made the post-graduation move from West Virginia to Alabama, I had the chance this week to travel to the Florida Panhandle to get a first-hand look at how a drought is affecting the Apalachicola River and the stakeholders that depend on it. I was able to ride down the river with the director of the Apalachicola Riverkeeper, talk with farmers from southern Georgia, and go out on an oyster boat in Apalachicola Bay.

Apaplachicola River Florida Georgia Atlanta Alalbama floodplain

Photo © Codi Yeager / Circle of Blue
Low Water Levels: This slough that feeds the ecologically important floodplain along the Apalachicola River should be under a few feet of water.

The Apalachicola and its two major tributaries — the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers — stretch across Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The basin is extremely important as a freshwater supply for the major metropolitan area of Atlanta, irrigators in Georgia’s breadbasket, and the seafood industry in Florida’s Apalachicola Bay. It also supports the most biodiversity of any river system in North America.

In the past five years, successive droughts have taken a heavy toll on the the Basin and are threatening its ability to fulfill all of these roles — so stay tuned for my story on this important region in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, you can read Circle of Blue’s report on the litigation surrounding water sharing in the basin here, and look at our other stories about inter-state water disputes.

Do you live in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin? Contact Codi Yeager

–Codi Yeager
Circle of Blue reporter

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