SYLACAUGA -- Bill Deutsch will be the featured speaker Wednesday for the B.B. Comer Library’s weekly brown bag lecture, according to a press release.

Deutsch came to Auburn University from New York in 1985 to study for his doctorate in aquatic ecology.

Three years later, Deutsch joined the staff there, spending the next three decades exploring, restoring and championing Alabama waterways.

After his retirement from Auburn University as an aquatic ecologist in 2013, Deutsch signed on to teach a seven-week “Rivers of Alabama” course to area retirees through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Auburn.  

He was amazed at the number of people who were interested in learning about the state’s river systems and knew he had a great subject for a book.

In June, the scholar-turned-author launched his book, “Alabama Rivers, A Celebration and Challenge,” during the annual meeting of Alabama Water Watch. Deutsch’s book has drawn rave reviews as “an engaging, information-packed narrative that chronicles the natural and human history of the state’s vast network of rivers,” the release says.

R. Scott Duncan, Birmingham-Southern College’s guru of the biodiversity of Alabama’s river systems, called Deutsch “a tireless river scientist who presents the great beauty of the state’s rivers, their unrivalled biodiversity and the many ways that these rivers sustain us.”

Another scholar, Ed Bridges, director emeritus of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, praised Deutsch’s informative narrative, saying, “Alabama’s river system was so important that when Alabama became a state in 1819, the state Legislature adopted a seal that features its major rivers.”

For the Comer Library’s SouthFirst Bank Lecture Series audience, the renowned scholar and champion of Alabama rivers will emphasize the Coosa River Basin and the Sylacauga area. He will share his knowledge, hoping to inspire awareness and appreciation of our abundant and beautiful water resources.

Deutsch will highlight the vital role the state’s waterways have played in Alabama’s history and describe how the rivers formed, flow and serve as home to unparalleled aquatic biodiversity, much of which is unique to Alabama.   

He will also talk about the challenge Alabama’s rivers present, covering how rivers change, how politics influence water policy and how the public can protect rivers.

Deutsch is a research fellow emeritus in the Auburn University School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Environments and the co-founder and director emeritus of the Alabama Water Watch program, a community-based water monitoring program he has directed for more than 20 years.  

He lives in the woods along Hodnett Creek near Auburn with his wife, Janet.

“You Must Remember This” -- the fall Adult Brown Bag Lecture Series -- is sponsored by SouthFirst Bank.  

The Hickory Street Café helps provide refreshments, with the social hour beginning at 11 a.m. and the program held promptly at noon in the Harry I. Brown Auditorium.

For more information, call 256-249-0961 or visit