Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Alabama’s Weeks Bay reserve encompasses more than 6,000 acres of tidal and forested wetlands within a small estuary that receives freshwater from the Fish and Magnolia Rivers. Weeks Bay and its tributaries are ideal habitat for many sought-after recreational fish, such as largemouth bass, bluegill, flounder, and spotted sea trout. Nearly 350 species of birds use these coastal wetlands as breeding, nesting, feeding, and wintering habitat. Through a combination of research, monitoring, outreach, and education, the Weeks Bay reserve works to protect its own estuary and to advance research and education that support statewide and national wetland protection.

Visit the Reserve's Website

Vital Stats

  • State: Alabama
  • State Partner:

    Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

  • Acreage: 6,525
  • Habitats: Habitats in in this reserve support numerous rare and endangered species including the brown pelican, eastern indigo snake, and the Alabama red-bellied turtle.
  • Designated: 1986
  • Site Profile: View
The Weeks Bay reserve participates in the System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP), which collects, analyzes, and makes available weather, water quality, and nutrient data from all National Estuarine Research Reserves. Learn more


Visit the reserve’s free educational Interpretive Center, with its multitude of exhibits, habitat models, specimen collections, and a diorama that explores the value of estuaries and diversity of coastal wetlands. While you are there, you can enjoy a stroll on boardwalks and trails along the native pitcher plant bog, hummingbird and butterfly gardens, historical and archaeological displays, and scenic vistas of the Weeks Bay estuary.


Weeks Bay reserve has become an important source of information and recreation for thousands of visitors each year. Dedicated volunteers assist with the operation of the visitor center, support education and research programs, or help out with special projects such as Earth Day, coastal or river clean-ups, the water festival, kids fishing day, or the water watch program.

Learn more

Become a Friend

The Weeks Bay Foundation is a strong advocate for the reserve, raising money to allow the reserve to develop facilities and establish a specimen collection. The Foundation also advances land acquisition in the Weeks Bay watershed and supports public awareness, education programs, and water quality monitoring efforts.

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Did you know?

Weeks Bay is a key nursery for shrimp, anchovy, blue crab, and many other commercial fisheries that net $450 million for Alabama each year.


L.G. Adams
Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
11300 U.S. Hwy 98, Fairhope, AL 36532
T: 251-928-9792
F: 251-990-9273
E: lg.adams@dcnr.alabama.gov