Monday, March 5, 2012

State of Affairs of North Jefferson County's Waterways

Like much of the rest of the waterways that make up the Five Mile Creek watershed, Black Creek has been subjected ecosystem-destroying pollution for most of the last 150 years. Much of that the result of coal mining operations along the creeks' banks, in the form of beehive coke ovens (below), found along Black, Five Mile, and Newfound Creeks.

And while those operations have long since ceased, other forms of pollution continue to endanger and uglify (I think I just made that word up, but it seems befitting) these local waterways. Drive along Stouts Road in Fultondale, and you can't help but notice the accumulated trash that people continue to carelessly discard on the banks of Black Creek and its tributaries (below). The town of Brookside, Five Mile Creek Canoe & Co., and the Five Mile Creek Greenway Partnership collaborate annually to remove hundreds of pounds of tires and debris from a single stretch of Five Mile Creek (Black Creek runs into Five Mile Creek just west of Fultondale).

But awareness is leading to progress and a renewal of life in these creeks. If you go to the Children's Park or Black Creek Park in Fultondale, you may see dozens of crawdads, turtles (some the size of dinner plates), and fish. But I wouldn't say these waterways are teeming with life. But they could be again, if we're diligent and faithful stewards.

Interested in contributing to a local organization? Each of the following organizations have regular events seeking participants from the community: Cahaba River Society, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Five Mile Creek Greenway Partnership, Friends of Shades Creek, Friends of the Locust Fork River, and Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.

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