The Coosa River is a cultural icon of the South and home to an astounding variety of rare and unique fish, snails, and mussels. The construction of seven large hydropower dams in the mid 1900’s turned the river into a series of reservoirs and caused the largest mass extinction of aquatic species in U.S. history.
Threat: Hydropower dams
But there is still an opportunity to save some of the Coosa’s remaining natural heritage for future generations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must insist on strong protections for the river’s endangered wildlife in the license that will allow Alabama Power to operate these dams for the next 50 years. The Coosa will serve as a test as to whether federal agencies are committed to environmentally sustainable hydropower operations.PDF file link:
American Rivers: Matt Rice,
Alabama Rivers Alliance:
Mitch Reid, (205) 322-6395
World Wildlife Fund: Judy Takats
firstname.lastname@example.org**Thanks to the June 2, 2010 edition of the Birmingham News for publishing this.
“The threats facing this year’s rivers are more pressing than ever, from gas drilling that could pollute the drinking water of millions of people, to the construction of costly and unnecessary new dams, to outdated flood management that threatens public safety,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers.
Rivers are chosen based on several factors, including a pending major decision on proposed action, the significance of the threat to communities and the degree the proposed action would exacerbate or alleviate stresses, said the release:
We would like to add quarries, pipelines, waste water treatment plants and heavy industry in Shelby County to the list of threats to the Coosa.
Shelby County is in NON COMPLIANCE STATUS on their SWM (Storm Water Management, link to the right) by EPA federal audit 2009. This has NOT BEEN RESOLVED YET according to Senior Enforcement Officer, EPA Region 4, Chris Plymale.
That should trigger an automatic moratorium on all new permits until it is remedied.
The county performs their "model of cost effective Storm Water Management" as quoted by Stephen Bradley (WRQ PR Rep) on an "annual budget of 45,000 and two part-time employees." The population of the county is over 175,000 and their are 167 heavy industries in Shelby County.
(This from BARD, who gutted the Jefferson County SWMA now also under federal scrutiny)
There are five quarries in the county, numerous cement, asphalt, lime production, building materials, etc. industries in this county. All of them have numerous violations according to the ADEM files, and some of these violations occur under storm flooding conditions. From those sites they make it into the Coosa River, it's tributaries (Buxahatchee Creek has been hit extremely hard) and into our ground water.
Our drinking water.
But let's go ahead and force a massive quarry on the residents of Vincent, less than a mile from this river. Let's give them a SWM permit (even though we cannot handle what we have) and allow more pollutants into the Coosa. While we are at it, allow the quarry to establish parameters and access to their monitoring wells.
This is not at all a "fine idea for Alabamians."
This river cannot endure another massive assault, Governor Riley.
Neither can Vincent, lest we forget the Alabama Plating Company Superfund cleanup.