Foundation Vows to Protect Ala. Underwater Forest

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MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- The Weeks Bay Foundation has launched a campaign to protect an underwater forest found off the Alabama coast.

Ben Raines, executive director of the foundation, told Wednesday that ( his organization envisions creating a protected area where fishing and scuba diving are allowed, but removal of the wood will be prohibited.

The underwater forest is about 10 miles off the coast and lies 60 feet underwater in the Gulf of Mexico. The forest is made up of Cypress trees thought to be about 12,000 years old, which were once part of the Mobile-Tansaw Delta.

Many had been unaware of the forest's existence until waves generated by Hurricane Katrina caused mud and sand in the gulf to shift in August 2005.

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