The Freshwater Land Trust is a nonprofit organization based in Birmingham, Alabama, that acquires, conserves, and connects open spaces that are critical for the protection of rivers and streams and that provide recreational opportunities for the community. The Freshwater Land Trust’s mission is the acquisition and stewardship of lands that enhance water quality and preserve open space. We work to conserve land in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, Chilton, Bibb, St. Clair, Tuscaloosa, and Walker Counties in Alabama.
The Freshwater Land Trust, a 501©(3) non-profit organization, has six full-time employees and one part-time employee and is governed by a 15-member board of directors.
The Freshwater Land Trust is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The accreditation seal recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent.
We protect land through a number of different methods. The most common conservation tools we use are (1) land acquisition and (2) conservation easements. But, some of our most successful projects are secured not through acquisition or easements, but through partnerships. Red Mountain Park, a 1,108-acre (and growing) tract of land that stretches 4.5 miles along Red Mountain in southwestern Jefferson County, was created through a terrific partnership of many different individuals and organizations. Read the exciting story of Red Mountain Park here.
We are building on a successful history
The Freshwater Land Trust is proud of our non-advocacy, businesslike approach to our conservation efforts. We work with governments, corporations, and private landowners to find win-win solutions that protect the land and the interests of the landowner and allow our community to grow economically.
Today, we work to acquire land along our rivers and streams to protect water quality, and we also work to preserve critical open spaces throughout the eight-county region. We have currently protected — or helped to protect– over 10,000 acres of land.
In 1924, the nationally renowned landscape architecture firm of Olmsted Brothers developed a park and natural areas plan for Birmingham and the surrounding areas. At that time, community leaders failed to implement the plan largely due to a lack of dedicated funding for the project. Many of the areas that the Olmsted Brothers recommended to be preserved as green space have since been developed. The Freshwater Land Trust is working to bring part of the original Olmsted Plan back to life and to create a network of connected spaces throughout north-central Alabama.
It is our hope that our generation will be remembered as the one who restored our rivers and made land conservation a priority.