Conservation Partners Provide A Better Road For Sport Fishermen

Alabama saltwater sport fishermen are on the road to better inland fishing, thanks to the innovative “Roads To Reefs” (RTR) project, which paves the way for recycled road construction materials to be used as reefs in Mobile Bay.  Since the Alabama Marine Resources Division and its partners announced Roads to Reefs in 1999, four large new reefs have been built in the bay, increasing the total number of reefs in the system to nine.  The conservation partners, consisting of federal, state, and local governments and environmental non-governmental organizations, area conservation groups, civic organizations, and interested businesses and individuals, are proud to announce and showcase the development of “Battles Wharf Reef” on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, set to take place on Wednesday, June 11, 2003.

The development of Battles Wharf Reef is made possible through a grant from the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP), contributions from the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF), the Alabama Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), the Mobile County Wildlife and Conservation Association (MCWCA), and the Point Clear Property Owners Association, and technical efforts by the Alabama Marine Resources Division (AMRD).  1,550 tons of limestone rock, commonly used as road and railway base, will be placed on the bay bottom within a well-marked perimeter of pilings.

David Yeager, Executive Director of the MBNEP, is excited about providing needed funding for the project.  “Nothing comes closer to the core mission of the National Estuary Program than habitat enhancement such as this,” said Yeager.  “We are proud to sponsor this effort, and will gladly participate in similar projects as appropriate in the future.”

Tim Gothard, Executive Director of the AWF, echos Yeager’s comments.  “The Alabama Wildlife Federation exists for efforts such as the development of Battles Wharf Reef,” said Gothard.  “This is a great day for coastal fisheries in Alabama.” Mac Taul IV, president of the MCWCA, recently participated in the “Coastal Kids Quiz,” an environmental competition for local 5th graders.  “Every youngster in the competition was keenly aware of the Roads to Reefs program and its benefits.  To me, this is evidence of success beyond measure.”

Walter Ernest IV, Roads to Reefs chairperson for the Alabama CCA, sees this program as “a way of ensuring that future generations get to enjoy high quality fishing in Mobile Bay.  This effort reaffirms CCA’s commitment to coastal resources.  The most important thing we can do is ensure that the resources we have today are there for future generations.”

R. Vernon Minton, Director of the AMRD, says the three best things about Battles Wharf Reef are “location, location, and location.”  Minton says “Our goal with Roads to Reefs is to put quality angling within reach of even modestly outfitted coastal anglers.  With Battles Wharf Reef, we do exactly that.”


When:                   Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Where:      West end of Battles Road, Fairhope, Alabama

Time:                     9:30 a.m.



Proceed SOUTH from Fairhope, Alabama on US 98.

Turn WEST (toward the bay) on Baldwin County Road 44 (Twin Beach Road).  Conoco and Krystal are found at this intersection.

Proceed WEST on CR 44 until it intersects Scenic US 98.

Battles Road is DIRECTLY across Scenic US 98 from the end of CR 44.

Cross Scenic US 98 and proceed WEST on Battles Road to its terminus at Mobile Bay.

Park carefully on either side of Battles Road.  Welcome to Battles Wharf Reef!