The Mobile Bay Digital Library was created out of a need for distribution of two specific imagery sets for the area. Under the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program's Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan, the photography was developed for wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation mapping activities.
The funding for this endeavor was provided by:
- EPA - Gulf of Mexico Program,
- Alabama Department of Environmental Management Coastal Program
- Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Other data sets found within the digital library relate to wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation in the area; the data sets were created by the U.S. Geological Survey, National Wetlands Research Center.
The need for both types of photography (the color infrared and natural color) was specified in the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program's Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan under Habitat Management. It simply stated its mission to "provide optimum fish and wildlife habitat in the Mobile Bay system by effectively preserving, restoring, and managing resources to maintain adequate extent, diversity, distribution, connectivity, and natural functions of all habitat types".
The submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) photography was specified under action plan HM-B1: Protect or Restore SAV habitat.
- Produced a map of major SAV concentrations of occurrence for public distribution.
The color infrared photography was specified under action plan HM-C1: 'Maintain and/or Improve Beneficial Wetland Function'.
- Determined and quantified the current extent of wetlands and the extent of wetlands loss or conversion within the Mobile Bay NEP Study area by habitat type, watershed, and cause of loss.
- Produced a GIS map of the information gathered for education and conservation management purposes.