NANFA-- Upper Cahaba Watershed, AL

Bruce Stallsmith (
Wed, 20 Nov 2002 13:24:09 -0500

We actually had a small (impromptu) NANFA trip last night in the Birmingham
area. A new regional governmental planning group, the Upper Cahaba Watershed
Planning Study, held the first of four public meetings to present the
process and to invite public comments. This took place in Trussville, AL,
about 3 miles from the Cahaba itself. Stott Noble was there with his
brother-in-law Kelly, and my wife Ruth went with me.

This whole process, the third similar survey in the last 10 years or so,
allegedly addresses how the continuing economic development of metro
Birmingham can proceed without further damaging water quality and the biota
of the Cahaba River (to the east and south of Birmingham). It will be an
interesting process to follow, since the Cahaba already falls short of
federal water standards and the people running this Study were obviously
nudgy at the meeting when questioned about actually _improving_ water
quality and reducing further threats to fishes and mussels. I suspect this
same kind of process (or game?) is being played out in other metro regions.

There is a real question as to what will happen in this region with water
quality, and I hope to update people on the question (Stott too?). Scheduled
NANFA Convention 2003 speaker Ned Mudd, an attorney and activist, raised
questions to the conveners and I'm sure he will have further public input to
this process.

If you're interested, check out the Study's website at
This river and its tributaries are home to several endangered or threatened
fish and mussel species in a diverse fauna, and it's not too late to save
most of the pieces. It occurred to me that this river would be an ideal
location for a Carillio-style series of posted signs on its banks describing
what species are present as a form of public education.

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A
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