A Sign of Success

A Sign of Success


Fish Guide Sign at The Narrows Boat Ramp

After many meetings, emails, and lots of important conversations…. Coosa Riverkeeper is excited to announce that with permission from Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Alabama Department of Public Health, we are posting fish consumption advisory signs at the following boat ramps:

  • The Narrows
  • Kelly Creek
  • Talladega Creek Boat Ramp
  • Beeswax Creek
  • Lay Dam

This is a big deal. This is the first time a conservation group has been given permission by 2 separate state agencies to post signs!


We’re not stopping with just these 5 signs… According to our 2013 survey of subsistence fishermen, we found 91% of fishermen would heed fish consumption advisories but only 6% know what they actually are.  In Spring 2019, you’ll start to see more Fish Guide signs posted at other important fishing spots around the Coosa River. We will also be posting signs at our Swim Guide sampling sites next year (pending approval from some key places).

We’re working so hard because our data shows more fishermen and their families need to understand the advisories themselves, what PCB/methylmercury advisories mean for their health, and how they can reduce their exposure.  Our goal with the Coosa River Fish Guide program is to help you better understand the 34 fish consumption advisories on the Coosa and what they mean for your health!

If you want to learn about advisories near you, check out our interactive map or dial 844-219-RISK (7475) to hear statewide advisories by individual river system.

You may be thinking… why aren’t there signs in the first place?


Lay Lake Boat Ramp’s old sign and new Fish Guide sign

In Alabama, there is not Fishermen Right-to-Know legislation. We’re working to change that… this sort of law makes sure you are given all the necessary data to make informed decisions before you throw out your line on any of Alabama’s rivers. That could include permanent signage, better outreach, information on your fishing license, signs at discharge pipes, etc. Currently, there are only a handful of places in the Coosa Valley that have these old ADPH signs since permanent signage isn’t required by law to educate the public about fish consumption advisories. As you can see (to left), many of these signs are hard to read.

Every single river in Alabama, The River State, has at least one fish consumption advisory. Yet, we dare to say most Alabamians have no idea where the advisories are, what the advisories mean, and how to protect themselves from consuming contaminated fish. With support and input from the State and other conservation groups we’re working together so you don’t have to fish for answers. 

This blog post was written by Justinn Overton, our Executive Director. Thanks to funding from Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club for the funding to post these signs (2017) and to conduct the survey (2013). 

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