Turning Ripples Into Waves on the Black Warrior


American Rivers has had some great partners for our America’s Most Endangered Rivers™ program this year. Our listings can help shake things up and garner attention for rivers that people across the country may never otherwise hear about. A great example of this action is happening for the Black Warrior River in Alabama (#8 Most Endangered River of 2011). Our friends at the Black Warrior Riverkeeper sent us an update on the latest happenings with their Endangered River:

“Is there life after a ‘Most Endangered Rivers’ designation? If our story at Black Warrior Riverkeeper is typical, the answer is an unqualified ‘yes.’ Like the best of presents, our Most Endangered River designation is the gift that keeps on giving.

“We anticipated positive press coverage of the selection and the opportunity to educate the public about some of the injustice and indignities that coal mining brings to the Black Warrior. But now any mention of our river, whether large or small, includes the Most Endangered River designation. We like the gravitas. 

“We partner with SweetWater Brewing every year on a ‘Save the Black Warrior’ campaign where people drink beer to raise funds and awareness for our patrol and water quality monitoring programs. This year, Save the Black Warrior started just three days after American Rivers announced our 2011 America’s Most Endangered Rivers, so we were able to combine the designation with the SweetWater campaign to publicize each. It was a good synergy.

“Our U.S. Attorney recently hosted an environmental summit in Birmingham for federal enforcement partners from the Department of Justice and EPA. In announcing the meeting, U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance noted, ‘The recent listing of the Black Warrior as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers highlights the importance of, and the need for, federal enforcement actions within this watershed, which provides drinking water for much of northern Alabama.’ While our designation was only one part of the meeting’s focus, we were able to give these federal officials a close-up view of what makes our river special and what threatens its health.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hates to waive the fees they charge nonprofits like us for public information, arguing that our issues are not deserving or of sufficient interest to justify the waiver. Thanks to American Rivers and Most Endangered Rivers, we have a new rebuttal for them.”

Thank YOU Black Warrior Riverkeeper, and all of our other America’s Most Endangered River partners for keeping that drumbeat going throughout the year!