(information last updated January 2019)

Ongoing Projects:

Federal Project(s)

Operating in the


In 1995, the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission developed a nomination package for Mobile Bay’s inclusion in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) National Estuary Program. See Our History, Mobile Bay Nat’l Estuary Program, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019). EPA Administrator Carol Browner accepted the submission, convened a Management Conference, and created the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (“MBNEP”). See id. As an EPA-funded non-profit, MBNEP uses volunteers to conduct water quality monitoring using Alabama Water Watch (“AWW”) test kits and protocols, conduct windshield surveys to assess nearby habitat condition, and upload data to the Water Rangers online database. See MBNEP Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring: A Howto Guide for Coastal Alabama (May 2017),; MBNEP Receives $488,711 Grant to Implement Trash-Free Waters, Mobile Bay Nat’l Estuary Program (Dec. 5, 2017), (Grant from EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program); EPA Awards Grant to Mobile Bay National Estuary Program: Protecting Natural Resources and Strengthening Local Economies, U.S. Envtl. Protection Agency (May 15, 2017),


State Project(s):

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has created or is participating in several citizen science iNaturalist projects: Alabama Gopher Tortoise Conservation Project; Alabama Gopher Tortoise Road Mortality Project; Eastern Spotted Skunk; and Alabama State Parks. See Alabama iNaturalist Projects, Ala. Dep’t of Conservation & Nat. Resources, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).


The University of Alabama’s Museum of Natural History also manages several citizen science projects through iNaturalist: Biodiversity of Alabama; Moundville Archaeological Park Biodiversity Survey; University of Alabama Arboretum Biodiversity Survey; and University of Alabama Campus Biodiversity Survey. See Citizen Science Programs, Ala. Museum of Nat. Hist., (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to do any of the following:

(3) Obtain access to an animal or crop facility by false pretenses for the purpose of performing acts not authorized by that facility.

(5) Knowingly obtain control by theft or deception that is unauthorized, or to exert control that is unauthorized over any records, data . . . for the purpose of depriving the rightful owner or facility of records, . . . data . . .

(6) Possess or use records, . . . data, . . . in any way to copy or reproduce records or data of an animal or crop facility knowing or reasonably believing that the records, . . . data, . . . have been obtained by theft or deception, or without authorization of the rightful owners or administrators of the animal or crop facility.

(7) Enter or remain on an animal or crop facility with the intent to commit an act prohibited under this section.”  Ala. Code § 13A-11-153.


A violation of this section is a Class C felony if the loss is $250 or more, or a Class A misdemeanor if the loss is less $250. Id. § 13A-11-154.

Scientific Collecting Permits:

“A Scientific Collecting Permit is required of any individual, agency, or educational institution that plans to collect or survey any wild invertebrate or vertebrate species or their eggs in Alabama for propagation or scientific purposes.” Nongame Wildlife Program, Ala. Dep’t of Conservation & Nat. Resources, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019); see also Ala. Admin. Code 220-2-.92 (Protected Nongame Species); id. 220-2-.98 (Invertebrate Species Regulation).

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  “A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the third degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises.” Ala. Code § 13A-7-4(a)(emphasis added). A person is not liable for criminal trespass if she enters “unimproved, apparently unused land, . . . neither fenced nor otherwise enclosed . . . unless notice against trespass . . . is given” by signs posted on the property or is communicated personally by the owner.  Id. § 13A-7-1(3).

Surveillance Law:

“A person commits the crime of criminal surveillance if he intentionally engages in surveillance while trespassing in a private place.” Ala. Code § 13A-11-329(a).


Criminal surveillance is a Class B misdemeanor. Id. § 13A-11-32(b).

Other Provisions:

See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”

See infra “Critical Infrastructure Laws.”

Critical Infrastructure Laws:

Trespass Law:

“A person commits the crime of unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure if the person does any of the following:

(1) Intentionally enters without authority into any structure or onto any premises belonging to another that constitutes in whole or in part a critical infrastructure that is completely enclosed by any type of physical barrier or clearly marked with a sign or signs that are posted in a conspicuous manner and indicate that unauthorized entry is forbidden.


(3) Remains upon or on the premises of a critical infrastructure after having been forbidden to do so, either orally or in writing, by any owner, lessee, or custodian of the property or by any other authorized person.

(4) Intentionally enters into a restricted area of a critical infrastructure which is marked as a restricted or limited access area that is completely enclosed by any type of physical barrier when the person is not authorized to enter the restricted or limited access area.” Ala. Code § 13A-7-4.3(b).


Trespass against “critical infrastructure” carries a heightened penalty as a Class A misdemeanor.  Id. § 13A-7-4.3(c).  


Critical infrastructure “includes, but is not limited to,” facilities that manufacture, store, process, treat, or transmit chemicals, oil, gas, electricity, and water.  Id. § 13A-7-4.3(a)(1).


Stalking Laws:

Criminal Stalking:

“(a) A person who, acting with an improper purpose, intentionally and repeatedly follows, harasses, telephones, or initiates communication, verbally, electronically, or otherwise, with another person, any member of the other person's immediate family, or any third party with whom the other person is acquainted, and causes material harm to the mental or emotional health of the other person, or causes such person to reasonably fear that his or her employment, business, or career is threatened, and the perpetrator was previously informed to cease that conduct is guilty of the crime of stalking in the second degree.”  Ala. Code § 13A-6-90.1 (Stalking in the second degree).



Use of Information:

Although incomplete, our research has not found any provisions relating to the use of information collected by citizens in enforcement or administrative/legislative actions.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “there is good ground to support” the claim.  Ala. R. Civ. P. 11(a).

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”  Ala. R. Evid. 901(a).

Expert Testimony:

Alabama Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert standard for DNA evidence/Frye standard for scientific evidence in civil cases.  See Bagley v. Mazda Motor Corp., 864 So. 2d 301, 310 (Ala. 2003); see also Courtaulds Fibers, Inc. v. Long, 779 So. 2d 198, 202 (Ala. 2000); Turner v. State, 746 So. 2d 355, 358-61 (Ala. 1998).


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.