Most of Alabama drains southward to the Gulf of Mexico. The principal rivers in the western half of the state are the Tombigbee and its chief tributary, the Black Warrior. Much of eastern and central Alabama is drained by the Alabama River and its headstreams, the Coosa and the Tallapoosa. The Tombigbee and Alabama unite north of Mobile to form the Mobile River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico through Mobile Bay. The Mobile is roughly paralleled by the Tensaw River, which extends from the Mobile just below the junction of the Alabama and Tombigbee to the bay. The marshy floodplain between the two rivers is intersected by many meandering channels.
Southeastern Alabama is drained by three major rivers, which all flow into the gulf. They are the Chattahoochee, which forms the southern part of the Alabama-Georgia state line, the Choctawhatchee, and the Conecuh. In the north the Tennessee River flows westward in a great bend across almost the entire width of the state before turning northward to join the Ohio River in Kentucky. The Tennessee is the most important river in northern Alabama and forms a section of a vast inland waterway system. There are no large natural lakes in Alabama. However, the state has several large reservoirs, including Wheeler Lake on the Tennessee River and R. L. Harris Reservoir on the Tallapoosa River. Also on the Tennessee and also part of the TVA system are Wilson Lake and Guntersville and Pickwick lakes, which lie partly in other states. Guntersville Lake is the largest in the state.
Martin Lake is on the Tallapoosa River, and Weiss Reservoir (partly in Georgia) and Logan Martin, Lay, Mitchell, and Jordan lakes are on the Coosa River.
Holt and Warrior reservoirs and Lakes Lewis Smith and Bankhead are on the Black Warrior River or its tributaries, and Miller’s Ferry Reservoir is on the Alabama River. Lakes Harding and Eufaula and West Point Lake lie on the Chattahoochee River, on the Alabama-Georgia state line.
Alabama’s coastline on the gulf is short, measuring 85 km (53 mi) from the Mississippi state line to the Perdido River on the Florida state line. When all of the indentations along the coast are measured, the state’s shoreline is 977 km (607 mi) long. It includes the shores of Mobile Bay, an inlet 56 km (35 mi) long at the mouth of the Mobile River. Barrier beaches partly block the entrance to the bay, leaving narrow openings on either side of Dauphin Island. Dauphin and other islands along Alabama’s coast west of Mobile Bay are separated from the mainland by Mississippi Sound. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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