Black Warrior Riverkeeper
In A Nutshell:
They protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. They are dedicated to improving water quality, habitat, recreation, and public health throughout their patrol area, the Black Warrior River watershed. This vital river basin is home to over a million people and is entirely contained within Alabama, and their staff identifies major pollution problems and works on cleaning them up while increasing public awareness.
Why They Rock:
- Member of Waterkeeper Alliance (support local Waterkeeper organizations, each of which is an independent organization protecting its waterway and community).
- 2010 Lake Tuscaloosa Clean-Up: removed over 27,000 pounds of trash.
- Recent Awards: 2008 Green Paddle Award winner by the American Canoe Association, and in 2010, staff Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke won the Alabama Rivers Alliance’s River Hero Award.
Warning: Shepherd Bend Mine plans to start coal mining into the Black Warrior’s Mulberry Fork only 800 feet from a major drinking water intake for 200,000 customers in Birmingham, Alabama.
Switzerland: University of Alabama owns the land Shepherd Bend plans to mine on and is playing possum or their zipper is stuck.
Hero: Black Warrior Riverkeeper (BWR) comes to dominate and spreads awareness to Alabama: Wastewater discharges from the mine will introduce both toxic pollutants and sediment into the water…yes, the real Aquaman lives to protect people and the earth…my new Bama crush.
Within minutes at BWR headquarters, I meet Nelson (coolest beard east of the Mississippi) who is an official Riverkeeper: advocate for a body of water and its surrounding community who has a boat to patrol his waterway. Nelson was off to collect water samples and I was lucky enough to take a souvenir from his office: Coprolite (fossil poop)!
Afterward I received a very thorough overview from Charles about BWR and I was impressed by his request for this blog post to be about the Waterkeeper Alliance (oversees all the independent water advocacy groups). Charles understands we are all connected, especially when it comes to water use…we all live in some type of watershed (land area that drains into a particular body of water) so I will spell it out: you pollute, it will come right back to you.
Charles and Jenn took me to V.Richards for a complimentary sandwich…yummy gourmet market. Jenn dominates a little of everything and most recently created a map of the proposed mining area and if the outlined areas for mining are approved, then it will give more than Montezuma’s Revenge to local residents – a bit over the top but I am trying to comprehend why you would want to pollute your own drinking water, we are not talking about the baby pool at an abandon Ramada Inn.
Okay, back to the office and the majority of the afternoon was dedicated to creating a new survey for the BWR membership. I was able to analyze, polish, and give my input on ways to collect useful information that will be utilized for upcoming campaigns. I also chatted with Eva, the full-time staff lawyer who is using the law to protect everybody and everything…she works with Johnny in Argentina (thank you internet for remote help), and he follow-ups to make sure water testing is accurate.
When I wasn’t with my river friends, I was with my northern friends who all re-located to the south…my second family (soccer crew por la vida) is now sipping sweet tea for din din! Jay and his wife Beth treated me like Beckham… I got to watch Jay dominate in the Vulcan Cup with Birmingham United, and enjoyed amazing meals from Beth who needs to market her superfood muffins! I even was lucky enough to do some spontaneous volunteering which included driving a golf cart transporting trophies with my old soccer boss Pita! The best thing in the household of Jay and Beth was the note posted on the refrigerator, and the reminder is evident in their kids (even dogs).
- Be Joyful
- Be Thankful
- Be Respectful & Kind
- Always do your best!
I think we need to photocopy this message and send it to the University of Alabama and highlight “Be Respectful & Kind.” You want to buy a cigarette, then pollute your lungs…it’s an individual choice, but now you want to pollute the drinking water of 200,000 people?
Make a difference – please email the Alabama group below – speak your heart and ask questions…it will take 30 seconds.
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Thank you from all the fishies, trees…and humans!
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein