Riverkeeper: The Voice Of The River
Rivers have a head and a mouth, but they don’t have a voice to speak for themselves. Too often due to a lack of adequate resources or political will, government agencies who are tasked with administering permits and enforcing our environmental laws do not to take the necessary enforcement actions. Coosa Riverkeeper patrols the Coosa River, investigates pollution issues, answers citizen complaints, and when necessary uses strategic legal actions to hold polluters accountable to promote policies that protect the river and its people.
What Riverkeepers Do
River Patrols & Investigations
Coosa Riverkeeper patrols the Coosa River, its lakes, and its tributaries to document pollution and the beauty of the river.
We maintain a presence on the river in the Olive II (our SeaArk BayRunner 210) and a small fleet of canoes/kayaks. Patrols typically involve visual surveys of the river for suspicious spills, smells, garbage, and fish kills. We also collect both ambient water quality data and collect samples at discharge points.
In addition to on the water patrols, we often patrol on foot, employ the use of drones, and in our patrol truck.
Every week our team answers and investigates dozens of citizen complaints. We respond to sewage spills, fish kills, illegal discharges, smelly odors, construction sites, abandoned vessels, sunken aircrafts, and so on. We do our best to treat every complaint as if it was impacting our own yard, our own waterfront, or our own family.
Oftentimes, these folks feel hopeless or lack direction in how to go about solving the problems they see. All they know is there is a problem with their river and someone needs to do something about it. They may have called the state, a local official, or their public works department… but they haven’t seen any progress yet.
- Muddy water flowing from construction sites during a rain
- Fish kills
- Sewer spills
- Illegal dumping of trash or other pollutants
- Discolored water or foul odors
Permit Analysis & Comments
Our team reviews discharge permits issued to municipal and industrial facilities in the Coosa River Basin. When necessary, we provide written comments on the proposed permits with recommendations for improvement to be protective of the river and the folks who use it. We also review Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s eFile system and Discharge Monitoring Reports for problematic facilities, and when identified, will follow up with investigations or sampling.
Clean Water Act Enforcement
We hold polluters accountable.
Coosa Riverkeeper’s legal actions address significant and ongoing pollution violations in the Coosa River wastershed. We use the law to protect and restore the water quality, recreational opportunities, drinking water, and fisheries prosperity that rightfully belong to all citizens of Alabama, the River State. We also act to safeguard the public interest and the important rights that are afforded by federal environmental laws.
Permit To Pollute
Permit To Pollute
Here is an interactive map of all permitted polluters in the Middle and Lower Coosa Basins. Zoom in and scroll around your neighborhood to see what’s happening near you. You can learn more about pollution in your community and view reports from specific facilities at EPA ECHO.
Proud Members of:
Coosa Riverkeeper is a proud member of Waterkeepers Alabama. Waterkeepers Alabama is a regional entity of Waterkeeper Alliance, launched in 2018 to further connect and support Waterkeeper organizations working on waterways that flow through and across Alabama.
Coosa Riverkeeper is a proud member of Waterkeeper Alliance. Waterkeeper Alliance is an international non-profit organization fighting for swimmable, drinkable, and fishable waterways for all people. There are over 350 Waterkeeper organizations across 6 continents.