Community Member

Coosa Riverkeeper

Birmingham, Alabama

Based in Birmingham, AL, Coosa Riverkeeper is dedicated to protecting, restoring, and promoting the Coosa River and its tributaries in the state, spanning 1,238 miles of shoreline and 220 miles of river. The river provides nearly a million residents with drinking water, recreation, power, and agriculture. Yet, the river is in trouble. Coosa Riverkeeper began in 2010 after the Coosa was named one of America’s 10 Most Endangered Rivers, suffering toxins from multiple sources, including superfund sites, wastewater discharge, farm runoff, hazardous waste facilities, and brownfields. Coosa Riverkeeper monitors water quality, advocates for policy enforcement, and engages its community in town halls, fish and swim advisories, and online media. As a leading voice for science-based environmental policy in Alabama, CR leads efforts to improve water quality, protect habitat, promote recreation, and enrich public health.

Monitoring water quality along the Coosa River informs communities affected by its health. (Courtesy of Coosa Riverkeeper)

Coosa Riverkeeper, a small, community-based organization with five full-time staff and a volunteer army, serves a river with 1,238 miles of shoreline and a basin community spread across 4,892 square miles. They monitor the river for contamination and its sources, and publish findings in accessible, online fish and swim guides that inform community choices. CR also partners with community groups to educate the public, identify risks to community water, and advocate for clean water policy. In recent years, CR has partnered with residents in Gadsden to challenge wastewater discharge permits at a chicken processing plant and to document significant sewage overflows that plague poor and predominantly black neighborhoods. CR files public comment on citizens’ behalf, works with local government, and, when necessary, takes legal action against bad actors. CR evaluates its impacts in surveys and studies to best supply environmental services otherwise denied by state legislators and agencies.

Coosa River Cleanup (Lincoln Community Volunteers)

For more information:

Why is Alabama’s Coosa River endangered, and what can you do to save it? – Bham Now, June 2022

Groups to sue Gadsden Water and Sewer Board, alleging Clean Water Act violations – The Gadsen Times, November 2021

A2 Staff

A2 Staff

This profile was compiled by a dedicated team of staff members who conducted interviews and gathered information from various outlets, including news articles, social media, and other sources.

Contact

Justinn Overton

Website

Social Media

Climate Impacts

Drought, Erosion-Subsidence, Flooding, Heat

Environmental Justice Concerns

Coal/Coke Plants and Emissions, Groundwater Contamination, Hazardous/Toxic Sites, Incinerator/Dumping/Landfill, Industrial Agriculture/Animal Waste, Logging/Biomass, Mining, PFAS/PFOS, Sewage/Sewage Treatment, Superfund Sites

Strategies

Fighting Industrial Contamination, Halting Bad Development, Nature-Based Solutions

501c3 Tax Deductible

Yes

Accepting Donations

Yes