The Coosa Riverkeeper, a watchdog organization that monitors water quality along the Coosa’s 220-mile path through Alabama, spoke out after the utility last week was fined $250,000 for pollutants found in groundwater near the Gadsden Ash Pond on the banks of the river.
“We firmly believe that leaving the ash to sit in an unlined pit and pollute the nearby groundwater for decades to come is irresponsible,” said Justinn Overton, the Riverkeeper’s executive director.
Coal ash is a by-product created when coal is burned for electricity. Plant Gadsden stopped burning coal in March 2015 and finished closing the pond in 2018, implementing monitoring wells it committed to checking for pollutants.
The length and bag limits of two of Alabama’s most popular inshore fish species will likely change soon after proposals by the Alabama Marine Resources Division were approved last weekend by the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board.
Under the new regulations, spotted seatrout (speckled trout) and southern flounder will have reduced bag limits to deal with concerns that the species are not able to sustain healthy populations.
Four states in particular emerge from these analyses as having exceptional levels of biodiversity—California, Hawaii, Texas, and Alabama.
Last week, the Birmingham City Council unanimously passed a resolution to oppose Cahaba Beach Road, a proposed project which would allow the Alabama Department of Transportation to build a road and bridge through the heart of an undeveloped area that safeguards Birmingham’s drinking water.
Along with numerous conservation organizations, local communities and elected officials, SELC and partners Cahaba River Society and Cahaba Riverkeeper have expressed serious concerns about the project’s harm to drinking water quality for the Birmingham region.
Too much pine and not enough saw mills spell years of depressed prices for plantations.
Wigginton works for the Westervelt Ecological Services, a division of the Westervelt timber company that owns 400,000 acres across Alabama, including this 3,000-acre pine plantation along Tallatchee. Westervelt, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, placed 335 federally threatened orangenacre muckets — mussels — into the creek with hopes of revitalizing a near-extinct species.
So far, the conservation efforts look promising. The service credits Westervelt, in particular, for its role in conserving at-risk species and habitats. The Tuscaloosa-based company, through its ecological services business, buffers streams, restores creek beds, educates contractors on environmental precautions and runs for-profit mitigation banks to conserve large swaths of land.
The river is changing, and it’s changing quickly.
The biggest culprit, Butler says, is the massive, rapid development throughout much of the watershed, as fields and forests turn into subdivisions, stores, and parking lots. That’s less sensational or obvious than toxic waste barrels being dumped into the water, but it still can cause problems.
Lagging behind neighboring states for decades, Alabama has gone through multiple droughts without a water management plan to help conserve water and protect the state’s rivers and streams during times of scarcity. The lack of a plan also puts Alabama at a disadvantage as the state navigates through competing water demands.
After years of advocating for a comprehensive plan and participating in the AWAWG focus panels, SELC and Alabama Rivers Alliance have been anxiously awaiting the release of the report to help inform leadership at the state level and provide guidelines for good water stewardship and protection. But discernable progress toward a plan has been slow, and appeared to be further hindered when the current governor announced plans to disband the AWAWG late last year. Governor Kay Ivey’s decision put the responsibility of developing a plan back on the Alabama Office of Water Resources and the Alabama Water Resources Commission.
It is hard to imagine how many oysters were present in Mobile Bay before we got here. It is hard, even, to understand how many there were just 100 years ago. According to AL.com calculations, it is likely we have removed about 1.8 billion adult oysters from the bay in the last century.
The Mobile River System — which includes every stream that flows into Mobile Bay, from the Cahaba, Coosa, and Tallapoosa in the north part of the state, to the Tombigbee, Alabama and the rivers of the Delta in the southern part – has been named one of the ten most endangered river systems in the country.
In announcing the listing, the conservation group American Rivers cites the system’s claim to fame as America’s Amazon, a reference to the film and AL.com series of the same name, which both highlighted the exceptional diversity of plants and animals in and around these rivers. Thanks primarily to the life in these rivers, Alabama ranks number one in the nation for the number of aquatic species, including fish, turtles, mussels, crawfish and snails.
Leaning forward on a plush chair with his hands clasped so tightly his knuckles were white, Mitch Reid wondered aloud what Theodore Roosevelt might think of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, which calls for a 31-percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency.
If passed in its current form, Reid said, the budget will be severely detrimental to the preservation of the Alabama’s natural resources — and he is angry about it.