For many people visiting the Cahaba River, it is the shoals (Cahaba) lily that leaves a lasting impression. From mid-May to mid-June the Cahaba River shoals come alive with the beautiful white blooms of the Cahaba Lily.
Eighteen of the river’s 131 fish species are found only in the Cahaba River or Mobile River Basin. Today, approximately 27 mussel species occur in the Cahaba River. Within the stretch of the Cahaba River that flows through the refuge, 17 different mussels have been recorded.
The forests, canebrakes and rock outcroppings along the rivers and streams provide habitat for many species of plants and animals including the Prothonotary warbler, Swainson’s warbler, Louisiana waterthrush and Acadian flycatcher. Less conspicuous year-round residents ofhabitats include numerous reptiles, amphibians, and plants.
Historically, most upland areas on the refuge were forested with longleaf pine. Hardwoods, such as oaks and sweetgum, were likely dominant within refuge drainages. Most longleaf pine forests and many hardwood forests were converted to loblolly pine plantations over the past 50 years. Efforts are under way to restore the longleaf and hardwood forests on the refuge. Upland habitats provide habitat for many bird species of national concern including red-headed woodpecker, Kentucky warbler, and wood thrush.