Huntsville’s natural beauty is no secret. From the mountains to the east to the river to the south, there’s no shortage of local adventures to be had, and conservation efforts to support.
Today is World Water Day, a United Nations observance that is intended to raise awareness for the 2 billion people worldwide without access to safe water. This year’s theme is “Groundwater—Making the Invisible Visible.” Groundwater makes up nearly all the liquid freshwater worldwide, so it is important to protect this natural resource both at home and abroad.
David Whiteside, Executive Director of Tennessee Riverkeeper, shared with us why World Water Day is so important and how North Alabamians can get involved with Tennessee River conservation.
Protecting the Tennessee River Valley
Tennessee Riverkeeper is a member-driven organization whose goal is to protect the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers and their tributaries by enforcing environmental laws and educating the public.
For most communities in North Alabama, the Tennessee River is the primary source of water. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that the water you brushed your teeth with, showered in or drank this morning is thanks to the Tennessee River.
“I think one of the most important things people can do is understand where their water comes from.”David Whiteside, Executive Director, Tennessee Riverkeeper
In fact, if your residence is serviced by Huntsville Utilities, you’re getting surface water pumped directly from the Tennessee River and groundwater supplied from the Lincoln and Dallas Well Treatment Plant and Williams Well.
“The Tennessee River Valley unites us all, not just in our geography, but also in the water we drink and the river we love.”David Whiteside, Executive Director, Tennessee Riverkeeper
Ready to take action? Read on for ways to work with Tennessee Riverkeeper, plus two other local conservation organizations helping to preserve the natural world in and around Huntsville.
1. Tennessee Riverkeeper
Whiteside suggested following Tennessee Riverkeeper on all social media platforms to keep up with all things river conservation in Huntsville. Find them here:
You can become a member of Tennessee Riverkeeper for as little as $20/year. If you’re not quite ready to become a member, consider volunteering your time or giving a one-time donation to the organization. The organization hosts regular events like river clean-ups, which they announce on social media.
The next river clean-up will be in Decatur on April 16. Here are the deets:
- Location: Brushy Creek, 2401 Country Club Road SE, Decatur, AL 35601
- Time: 10AM-1PM
- Details: Volunteers can meet at the address above at 10AM. Be sure to wear clothes that can get dirty and bring some gloves and water.
2. Green Team Huntsville
The Green Team leads the City of Huntsville’s environmental initiatives, taking on tasks like litter prevention, recycling and nature preservation. There are several ways to get involved with the Green Team, including:
- Donate to Operation Green Team Foundation.
- Enjoy one of the city’s three nature preserves.
- Take part in one of Green Team’s four programs, including Adopt-A-Mile, urban forestry and more.
- Volunteer with Green Team.
3. Land Trust of North Alabama
If you’ve hiked on Monte Sano, you’re already a beneficiary of the Land Trust of North Alabama. The organization is active in preserving several North Alabama spots and has achieved the following milestones:
- 9,315 acres preserved in 6 counties
- 4 known threatened or endangered species protected
- 18 miles of creek and river frontage saved
- 31 known caves protected
- 15 working agriculture/grazing properties
- 107 named trails, with 70+ miles of trail and 23 entrances
Here are a few projects the Land Trust is working on right now that you can get involved in:
- Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve
- Tennessee River to Blevins Gap corridor
- Singing River Trail
- Huntsville Greenway Master Plan
We want to see your Huntsville-area nature photos. Share them with us on social by tagging @hvilleblast and using #hvilleblast.