A fundamental and ongoing objective of the Foundation is the purchase of land in the Weeks Bay watershed that may be added to the Reserve, or be set aside with a conservation easement to provide a public benefit such as preserving a wildlife habitat, or creating a buffer to conservation lands. Such purchases are made possible through donations from individuals and organizations seeking to enhance the
environmental quality of the Alabama Gulf Coast .
Research projects that are currently ongoing at the Reserve are:
- National System-wide Monitoring Program
The objective is to obtain baseline data for estuarine modeling water quality and atmospheric data. Submerged instruments measure and monitor dissolved oxygen, saturation, specific conductivity, salinity, temperature, depth, pH, and turbidity in and around Weeks Bay . A weather station also monitors atmospheric conditions including temperature, wind speed/direction, solar radiation, relative humidity, air pressure and precipitation.
- Weeks Bay Water Watch
Local chapter of the statewide Alabama Water Watch water quality monitoring program. Quality assured volunteers monitor 23 sites in the watershed for dissolved oxygen, turbidity, salinity, pH, alkalinity, and hardness.
- Weeks Bay Fecal Coliform Monitoring
Volunteers perform weekly sampling for fecal coliform at sites within the Weeks Bay watershed. Analysis is conducted by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, with oversight by the Weeks Bay Watershed Project.
- E coli Sampling Project
Weekly sampling and measuring for E coli bacteria at 20 sites in the Fish River .
- Study of Erosion and Transport of Fine Sediments from Watersheds Tributary to NERR Estuaries
The study examines different sources and transport paths of fine sediments through the use of Barium, Lead, and Cesium. It will develop a protocol to facilitate the transfer of information from this project between researchers, coastal managers, agriculture extension agents, and the general public.
- The Distribution and Photo-transformation of Non-point Source Agricultural Pesticides in freshwater and marine NERR wetlands.
The study is assessing agricultural chemical pollution from runoff by monitoring pesticide concentrations in estuarine waters.