Cahaba River Values
A great diversity of life depends on the Cahaba River, Alabama's longest remaining free-flowing river and the primary drinking water source for one-fourth of the state's people. The Cahaba is nationally recognized for its rich biological diversity and scenic beauty, including the famed Cahaba lilies that grow on shoals in the running water. With more fish species per mile than any other river in North America, the Cahaba was named by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as one of eight “hotspots of aquatic biodiversity” in the U.S. that must be saved.
The Cahaba watershed drains 1,870 square miles on its course from the southern Appalachian Mountains through the coastal plain to the Alabama River near Selma. About 200 square miles of the headwaters are the primary raw water source for the Birmingham Water Board system, serving 1 million customers. The Cahaba is a major recreational, tourism, and educational asset to the Hoover area and Alabama. Most of the Cahaba's main channel is wild, beautiful, and very popular for canoeing, fishing, swimming, and environmental education.
Growth Brings Challenges
The healthy growth experienced in the Birmingham region's communities is having a negative impact on the Cahaba's significant aquatic life and the quality and cost of our region's drinking water supply, because of impacts such as sediment, nutrients, pathogens, toxins and destruction of tributaries and stream banks. The river has lost 20% to 40% of fish and mussel species downstream from urban areas. The Birmingham Water Board estimates it would cost our region over $500 million to replace this drinking water source.
However, there are many feasible and innovative solutions to protect our River as the region grows. To fund those solutions, the cities and counties of the upper watershed have come together with many citizen partners and business stakeholders in the Upper Cahaba Watershed Study, led by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham. Find out more about this study and how you can comment on the strategies and ordinances that are being proposed to better balance the planning of growth and protection of the River at www.cahabastudy.com.
The Cahaba River Society (CRS), founded in 1988, is Alabama's largest watershed conservation organization and is recognized nationally for river stewardship. Learn more about us at www.cahabariversociety.org. With our science-based and consensus building approach, CRS has gained strong support from both grassroots citizens and the business community. Our mission is to restore and protect the Cahaba River watershed and its rich diversity of life. This diversity includes not only the river's famed aquatic life, but also the diverse people of central Alabama. Our major programs include:
- CRS was the catalyst for the Upper Cahaba Watershed Study, a multi-government effort to balance growth and river restoration. We are involved in the planning process to bring sound science, find feasible solutions, and build public support for implementation.
- Our CLEAN program has brought over 12,000 students and teachers into the River for hands-on environmental education field trips -- contact us to schedule a field trip for your school!
- The best way to learn about the River is to see it firsthand -- CRS guides canoe trips to many beautiful places on the River. See our web site for our canoe schedule.
- CRS is also working to improve storm water control programs for new development, encourage land use planning and wise investment in sewer and highways, and transform our state environmental agency into one that truly protects our environment and our health.
Birmingham Canoe Club
The Birmingham Canoe Club, Inc. (BCC) is an active canoe club with over 150 family memberships. We are based in Birmingham, Alabama where we have access to excellent spots to paddle canoes and kayaks.
The Birmingham Canoe Club, Inc. is dedicated to the advancement and enjoyment of canoeing, kayaking, and all paddlesports. The club provides Paddling Instruction, Safety Training, Organized Paddling Opportunities, Monthly meetings, Monthly Newsletter, Social Events, Merchant Discounts. The club is committed to conserving waterways and to promote access to those waterways for all.
Please tour the site at www.birminghamcanoeclub.org to find out more details. New members always welcome! General Membership Meetings are held at 7pm the 1st Tuesday of each month in the auditorium at the Homewood Library. Everyone is invited to attend.
If you are interested in becoming a member, please print the form from the website, complete and mail it to Birmingham Canoe Club, INC., P. O. Box 59213, Birmingham, AL 35259