Together, we’re protecting the Coosa River
Our organization was founded in 2010 by a group of environmental leaders in the Coosa Valley of Alabama in response to the river being listed as the 10th most endangered river in the United States by American Rivers. From humble beginnings in a small mini-storage warehouse office in Riverside on the banks of Logan Martin Lake, our organization has grown to five full-time staff, an excellent Board of Directors, an Advisory Council, dozens of volunteers and interns, and hundreds of members. Our office is now located in the Town of Mt Laurel, just off the north fork of Yellowleaf Creek which an important tributary to Lay Lake on the Coosa.
What We Do
When we discover an issue, we seek to resolve it. That can be anything from working with governmental agencies to remove a dam that is eroding a citizen’s stream-bank to investigating a sewer overflow.
Too often in Alabama, whether it be due to a lack of adequate resources or political will— government agencies tasked with administering and enforcing our environmental laws are unable (or unwilling) to take the necessary enforcement actions. We use the power of the Clean Water Act to hold polluters accountable.
Throughout our program, we work to educate the public about the value that the Coosa River brings to our community, economy, and our environment.
Our Swim Guide program provides water quality data and swim safety information so families can make informed decisions about where to safely enjoy the river.Our Fish Guide program works to educate fishermen about fish consumption advisories and fishing best practices.
A river has a head and a mouth, but it does not have a voice to speak for itself in our classrooms, courtrooms, and town halls. Coosa Riverkeeper advocates for river and the thousands of families who rely on it for fun, food, and property value.
A number of governmental decisions are made every year that can impact the river, recreation, and public health. Officials are required to solicit and respond to public comments. In these situations, our comments advocate for the best interests of the river and the people who use it.
Coosa Riverkeeper actively works to educate elected officials and policy makers at all levels of government on matters related to the protection and restoration of the Coosa River.
To fulfill our mission of protecting, promoting, and restoring the Coosa River, our organization has developed four core programs. These programs engage the many people who live, work, visit, and recreate on the Coosa River, its tributaries, and lakes. Through our Fish Guide, Swim Guide, and Riverkeeper Patrol programs, Coosa Riverkeeper encourages everyone to enjoy the river, lakes, and “skinny water” or creeks, while providing information about water quality conditions and fish consumption advisories for both sport and leisure.
Our Partners & Recognitions
Coosa Riverkeeper is a proud member of Waterkeeper Alliance, an international network of over 350 organizations working to protect their local waterways on 6 continents. Waterkeepers are found across the globe and within Alabama, we are joined by nine other Waterkeepers, who form Waterkeepers Alabama: Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Cahaba Riverkeeper, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper, Hurricane Creekkeeper, Mobile Baykeeper, Little River Waterkeeper, Tennessee Riverkeeper, & Upper Coosa Riverkeeper. Coosa Riverkeeper is the only advocacy organization solely focused on the Middle and Lower Coosa Basins ranging from “skinny waters” of Big Wills Creek near Ft. Payne to Lake Neely Henry down to the tailwaters below Jordan Dam in Wetumpka. We are joined in protecting the Coosa River by Upper Coosa Riverkeeper, a division of the Coosa River Basin Initiative in Rome, Georgia. Their jurisdiction covers the headwaters of the Coosa, including the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers as well as Weiss Lake in Alabama.
In 2011, we were named “Best New Group” by Alabama Rivers Alliance, a statewide alliance of water advocacy organizations. In 2017, we were named “Best Group of the Year” by Alabama Rivers Alliance. In 2018, Coosa Riverkeeper and the seven other Alabama Waterkeepers were honored as “Best Group of the Year” for our collective work on “sewage right-to-know”, resulting in the first statewide electronic notification system for sewage overflows administered by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
People like you make our work possible and we want to ensure to maximize your investment and be transparent on where your donations are spent. Our work is funded by our dues-paying members, community foundations, private foundations, and many fundraising events throughout the year.
The Standards for Excellence aims to raise the level of accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of all nonprofit organizations to foster excellence and inspire trust. This rigorous accreditation process ensures the best practices for our nonprofit’s organizational governance, management, policies and procedures, and legal compliance at any stage of a nonprofit’s lifecycle. This accreditation identifies major areas of nonprofit governance and management which include specific benchmarks and measures that provide a structured approach to building capacity, accountability, and sustainability in our organization.
Annual Form 990s
Coosa Riverkeeper is the voice of the Coosa River, advocating for a swimmable, drinkable, fishable Coosa River in Alabama. Our popular Swim Guide and Fish Guide programs seek to provide useful information to river goers.