One of the most biologoically diverse rivers in the country is right here in north Alabama, and the Land Trust of North Alabama is raising funds to help preserve it by purchasing land along its banks.
Paint Rock River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in Alabama, and the Land Trust aims to purchase 91 acres that border it. Here’s how you can help.
About the Paint Rock River watershed
The Paint Rock River is a free-flowing tributary of the Tennessee River that spans three counties in northeastern Alabama and one county in southeastern Tennessee. The Watershed encompasses about 460 square miles and is one of the most biologically important regions in the state for both aquatic and plant and animal associations.
Here are a few quick facts about Paint Rock River:
- It supports an extremely diverse array of aquatic life, including some 100 species of fish and about 45 different mussel species.
- This watershed harbors a massive and unique rock formation known as the “Walls of Jericho” by local residents. The underlying limestone of the watershed is riddled with caves, springs and sinkholes and is a well-known destination for cavers.
- The Paint Rock River Valley as a whole is incredibly important in terms of conservation value due to the high diversity of species — particularly aquatic and plant life — found there.
How you can help
The Land Trust of North Alabama has until Nov. 1 to raise $223,000 needed to purchase 91 acres along the river. The land is located in Jackson County, and is primarily lowland farmland, which includes approximately 2/3 of a mile of Paint Rock River frontage.
About 23 acres of the 91-acre property are currently enrolled in a Riparian Forest Buffer program part of the Conservation Reserve Program administered by the Farm Service Agency, which means trees have been planted or preserved alongside the river to provide a buffer for erosion and runoff.
In the short term, the Land Trust would maintain this buffer and agricultural use. Future plans for property management would include an extensive wetland restoration project to restore the land to a more natural condition as a bottomland hardwood forest.
This transition would conclude agricultural use of the property, which is only marginally productive due to regular flooding, and enhance habitat for wildlife and protection of the river corridor. As a conservation property, it would not be open to public access.
To help the Land Trust purchase this property, you can donate here.
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