Coosa Riverkeeper Opposes White Rock Quarries’ Permits

Today the Southern Environmental Law Center submitted written scientific and technical arguments on behalf of Coosa Riverkeeper and our 400+ members to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management with regards to the proposed White Rock Quarries limestone quarry in Vincent on the banks of the Coosa River at Lay Lake. This comment letter argues that the permit may not be issued as drafted because it will cause damage to private property, potentially harm three federally-protected threatened and endangered species, endanger a public water supply, and introduce an excessive sediment load into the Coosa River and Spring Creek, among other issues.

If you’d like to read our comment letter, choose from the links below. The first link will download faster but will not include the exhibits which contain maps and photographs.

Read letter without exhibits (1 MB)

Read letter with exhibits (7 MB)

New Coosa River Maps Give You a New Perspective

Today Coosa Riverkeeper releases two new maps which present a new look on a river that’s flowed through Alabama since before maps were even a thing! First, our new “Coosa Valley of Alabama” map updates our basin-wide map of the Coosa, it’s six main lakes, and many important tributaries. Now you can enjoy learning the names of many of the Coosa’s important creeks! Secondly, the “Coosa River Transit System” map presents a non-conventional way of viewing our river system as though it were a subway system.


Maps are far more than an educational tool or a conversation starter, they are an insight into the way we view the world around us. What we choose to display on a map, and just as importantly-what we choose to leave off, says a lot about the way we see ourselves within our environment. Alabama’s rivers feature prominently on any map of our great state, and are even the central figure of the Great Seal of the State of Alabama.

Our “Coosa Valley of Alabama” map shows some of the larger cities in the watershed as well as the names of our six large lakes and the names of the most significant creeks. We use this map, which we display at events with a four foot tall print-out, to help people find their Coosa Connection and put a geographical pin to the places we work so passionately to protect. This map is a fairly standard projection of our watershed, generated by former Director Dr. Miriam Hill from JSU, with labels added by our staff Riverkeeper.

Coosa River Metro MapThe “Coosa River Transit System” map on the other hand is an endeavor designed to present a new way of looking at the Coosa. According to the map’s creator, our Riverkeeper Frank Chitwood, “The primary purpose of this map is to illustrate the disconnected state of the Coosa River. Due to an almost complete impoundment of the Coosa in Alabama with eight Alabama Power dams, the Coosa’s six lakes are each detached from one another in many ways. Though water flows from one lake to the next as the river descends from the highlands towards the Gulf, neither fish nor man can cross these large structures.” As such, each lake and it’s associated tributary creeks are displayed on this map as though they were their own line on a subway system, each connected only by the Blue Coosa River Line.

White Rock Quarries Public Hearing Shows Public Opposition to River Threat

Last night at a public hearing in Vincent, Coosa Riverkeeper Frank Chitwood delivered oral arguments that the proposed White Rock Quarries will threaten water quality in the Coosa River. The public hearing was part of the public comment period which ends at 5PM on April 21, 2014. Martin Reed of wrote an article summarizing the public’s overwhelming opposition to the limestone quarry. Interested citizens can learn more about the quarry and how to submit their own comments on our webpage.



Karen Jensen, a member of the public who loves the Coosa River, speaks in opposition to the quarry.

New Coosa Connections!

chris-harrigan-2Join Coosa Riverkeeper and Stone’s Throw Bar & Grill on March 6th at 6 PM for a fabulous dinner! Tickets are available here for this one of a kind dinner!

Chef Chris Harrigan of Stone’s Throw Bar & Grill located in Mt. Laurel just off Yellow Leaf Creek is one of our newest Board members! We’re excited to share and highlight both of their connections to the Coosa River at this dinner! 

Hors D’oeuvres will be served with a special cocktail using Virginia Pine Needle and the 4 seated courses will be paired with wines (local craft beer pairing from Avondale Brewing Company is also available). $65 per plate, tax and gratuity included.

We look forward to sharing a meal with you and raising a glass to the river! Click here to buy your tickets today!

The Menu

Enjoy Hors D’oeuvres and socialize beginning at 6PM

  • Virginia Pine Needle cocktail
  • Alabama River Alligator Fritters
  • Nilgai Sausage Crostini
  • Buffalo Meat Balls

Guests will take their seats around 6:30PM for 4 seated courses

Sea Course: Alabama Bouillabaisse with Speckled Trout, Grouper and Red Snapper

Air Course: Quail, Pheasant, Chucker

Land Course: Venison with Wild Mushroom Pappardelle noodles

Sweet: McEwen & Sons Cornmeal Poundcake with Alabama Fruit Preserve and Honey Rosemary Ice Cream

2014 Coosa Canoe & Kayak Fishing Tournament Dates

2014 Tournament Trail Announced


2014 Coosa Canoe & Kayak Fishing Tournament Series features:

March 29th: Lay Lake Open
May 3rd: Coosa River Whitewater Festival
June 7th: Lake Neely Henry Open
September 6th: Logan Martin Open
October 25th & 26th: Coosa Classic

Y’all check out the CCKFT Facebook page & website for more information. This year is going to be a blast and we hope we’ll see you on the river! Stay tuned for some great PRIZES!

Go on & register for individual stages OR purchase a…

VIA YEAR PASS(Very Important Angler)

Get registered for all 5 stages AND receive a Paddle Out/Coosa Riverkeeper Spotted Bass t-shirt* for only $225! That’s like paying only $41 to enter each stage if you attend all 5 or $51.25 per stage if you only make it to 4! You can either pay the full price outright now by clicking BUY NOW or pay for the package in 4 payments of $56.25 that will be drafted every two weeks by clicking SUBSCRIBE.

*while supplies last

Removing Goodwin’s Mill Dam

We set Big Canoe Creek free in November 2013 for the first time in 130 years by removing Goodwin’s Mill Dam! Check out our short video highlighting the history of the dam and actual footage of the dam removal and bank restoration!

Goodwin's Mill Dam Big Canoe Creek is an important tributary to the Coosa. Removing Goodwin’s Mill Dam restored the natural aquatic habitat allowing some of the 30+ unique species of fish found immediately downstream of the former dam to move upstream. We restored the stream bank with willows and dogwoods to control severe erosion that was not only destroying private property but also sending massive amounts of dirt downstream where it harmed aquatic species. Removing this dam is good for creek critters and recreational users alike! We’re pretty dam(n) proud of this work!

Wanna learn more? Click here for our latest newsletter!

Thank you to our project partners: Friends of Big Canoe Creek, Alabama Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Geological Survey of Alabama, Alabama Ecological Services Field Office 

Coosa River Spotted Bass Tee’s now Available

Artist Richie Gudzan of Paddle Out ventured with our Riverkeeper Frank Chitwood below Jordan Dam to catch Coosa River Spotted Bass. Also known as the Alabama Bass (Micropterus henshalli), the Coosa Spots are the meanest fighting black bass in the nation. Gudzan  took one of the spots caught on this trip and using a Japanese trophy fish mounting technique, gyotaku, created a precise, life-size painting of the fish. This print was then used to create these wonderful t-shirts, available in both men’s and women’s cuts, to pay homage to the Coosa Spot and honor the river conservation work of Coosa Riverkeeper.

Buy the shirt here!


This Jack Knows How to Catch a Fish

This is Jack. Jack is only eight years old but on June 1st he won the YakAttack Best Bass (see picture below) and Alabama Outdoors Best Young Angler awards at our 2013 Logan Martin Open of the Coosa Canoe & Kayak Fishing Tournament, embarrassing nearly 30 grown men in the process.

The Coosa Canoe & Kayak Fishing Tournament provides the opportunity for young anglers like Jack and their families to connect with the Coosa and one another while creating lasting memories and learning lessons in conservation. 

Jack's Best Bass

We caught up with the young fishing phenom at school one day. Here’s what he had to say…


Coosa Riverkeeper: How long have you been fishing?
Jack: Ever since I was two or three.

CRk: What’s your favorite freshwater fish to catch?
Jack: Spotted Bass.

CRk: Tell us about how you caught that huge bass.
Jack: It was a crazy bass. First thing I said was my line was hung on the bottom [of Choccolocco Creek] and then it swam to the under the bottom of the boat and jumped on the other side. When I got it into the boat, I knew it was a good fish… longer than any fish Dad caught that day! Paul (Jack’s Dad) added: He had never netted a fish before. This fishing tournament was the invite we needed to experience the Coosa. I enjoyed this experience with my son and I’m thankful for Coosa Riverkeeper and the sponsors for putting on this event.”

CRk: Who is the person, dead or alive, you’d like to most fish with?
Jack: Bill Dance.

CRk: If you could say anything to polluters what would you say?
Jack: STOP! (for the record, he yelled it so loud it startled us)

Now, try to guess what Jack wants to be when he grows up? A professional bass fisherman. He’s already looking into scholarships! He’s off to a good start as he placed 6th overall in the BlackJack Lands Angler of the Year. That’s the highest score of any competitor fishing in only two stages! and his father Paul? He finished 4″ behind Jack in 7th.

Jack at the Coosa ClassicJack hoists a nice Spotted Bass below Jordan Dam at the 2013 Coosa Classic.

The Coosa-Mt. Laurel Connection

Everything is connected. Rivers are the original social networkers of nature. For example, The community of Mt. Laurel & its farm are at the headwaters of the North Fork of Yellow Leaf Creek which runs past the Coosa Riverkeeper office and flows into Lay Lake of the Coosa River in Wilsonville. This beer dinner brings to all home- to the Coosa.

You’re invited to join Coosa Riverkeeper and Stone’s Throw Bar & Grill on November 7th at 6 PM for a 4-course dinner in Mt. Laurel! Chef Chris Harrigan will use fresh, local produce from Mt. Laurel Farm & Heron Hollow Farms and each course will be paired with a tasty craft beer.

 Purchase your tickets now for a dinner that will sure leave your taste buds happy!

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The Menu

NIBBLES (Finger Food before Seating)
Fried Okra & Harissa Dipping Sauce
Assorted & mixed Topping Flat Bread Crisps

paired with Back 40 Beer Company’s Naked Pig Pale Ale & Truck Stop Honey Brown 


Mixed Baby Greens Salad with Crispy Goat Cheese, Candied Walnuts, Balsamic Pickled Onions & Champagne Vinaigrette

paired with Terrapin Beer Company’s Treehugger Altbier

MAIN COURSE (a choice between)

 48-hour Braised Beef Short Ribs with Saffron Onions, Quinoa, Arugula Pesto & Natural Jus

Southern Fried Catfish Plate with Cider Cole Slaw, Hushpuppies, Herb Roasted Potatoes & Spicy Remoulade Sauce

Vegetarian Herbed Pappardelle Pasta with Seasonal Vegetables from our Local Organic Farmers

paired with Good People Brewing Company’s Brown Ale


Meyer Lemon-Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Fuyu Persimmon Coulis & Raspberries

paired with Avondale Brewing Company’s Cherry Saison

Register Now for the Coosa Classic: October 26 & 27

The Coosa Classic…“Classic” since last year!


This is the final stage of the Coosa Canoe & Kayak Fishing Tournament 2013 and your last chance to participate in the Big Wills Outfitters Challenge for a Jackson Kayak Coosa fishing kayak! Come on down to Coosa Outdoor Center on Friday, October 25 to celebrate the end of their season, camp out and enjoy music by Red Clay Revival!

Important Details:

We had a great time at Coosa Outdoor Center last year, and we once again bring the tournament back to finish with 2 days fishing in the tailwaters of Jordan Dam. This section of moving river is more challenging to most competitors, as it differs significantly from lake fishing and will test your paddling skills too. Each day will have a 2-fish limit. Competitor’s scores from Day 1 and Day 2 will be combined for an aggregate score to determine the winners of the Coosa Classic. That same score will be added to the Angler of the Year contest which will also be awarded Sunday evening.

NOTE: Anglers may fish the main river channel of the Coosa between Jordan Dam and Gold Star Park. Coosa Outdoor Center is located about 6 miles downstream of Jordan Dam. Most anglers drive themselves to the dam in the morning and paddle down and take out at Coosa Outdoor Center. We will arrange for a bus to take anglers from Coosa Outdoor Center to the dam after weigh-in to retrieve vehicles left there. If you choose to fish below Coosa Outdoor Center, you will need to make your own arrangements for getting to the weigh-in and retrieving your vehicle. This is a fast moving river and you will not be able to paddle back upstream so do not plan to fish all the way to Gold Star Park without arranging to leave another vehicle there.
  • This tournament will not only challenge your river fishing skills, but will truly test your paddling skills with many Class II rapids and one Class III rapid. While you will be safe (and have a great time!) if you follow basic safe boating practices, you may want to have everything in your boat tied down in the event you were to flip your boat. For some advice on paddling the rapids from the perspective of whitewater paddlers you may read this booklet. For advice on fishing this river from the perspective of a fly angler, read this web page.