Red Rock Tuesday

You’re invited to join us again next Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 4th, at Vestavia’s McCal­lum Park for Red Rock Tues­day with Jeh Jeh Pruitt and the Fox 6 Team.

We’re excited to fea­ture this des­ti­na­tion in Ves­tavia Hills on Good Day Alabama with the help of our Health Action Part­ners, com­mu­nity lead­ers, and each of you!


Tues­day, Feb. 4, 2014

6:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.


McCal­lum Park

Rose­mary Lane

Ves­tavia Hills, Al 35216

To get to McCal­lum Park from High­way 280, turn onto Rocky Ridge Road and keep left to stay on Rock Ridge Road. Go approx­i­mately 3.5 miles, then turn right onto Rose­mary Lane. The park will be at the end of Rose­mary Lane.

We hope to see you there as we con­tinue to edu­cate our com­mu­nity about the Red Rock Trail System!

Red Rock Tuesday

Red Rock Tues­day, Jan­u­ary 14th: Tarrant’s Down­town EcoScape Park

Join us tomor­row for Red Rock Tues­day with Jeh Jeh Pruitt and the Fox 6 Team at the Tar­rant EcoScape Park!

We con­tinue to fea­ture des­ti­na­tions of the Red Rock Trail the first Tues­day of every month on Good Day Alabama with the help of our Health Action Part­ners, com­mu­nity lead­ers, and each of you!

Located at 1113 Ford Avenue in down­town Tar­rant, the EcoScape Park pro­vides nat­ural restora­tion to a vacant lot that at one time housed a dry clean­ing busi­ness.  Designed for pas­sive recre­ation and use as an out­door class­room, Tar­rant EcoScape’s bioswales mit­i­gate stormwa­ter runoff from adja­cent park­ing lots.  The park also fea­tures a mosaic foun­tain, benches made from reclaimed gran­ite street curbs, and an herb gar­den planted by Tar­rant Mid­dle School students.

When: Jan­u­ary 14th
6:30 a.m. — 8:30 a.m.

Where: To get to the park, take I-20/59 towards Atlanta/Gadsden.  Take exit 128 toward High­way 79 onto Tal­lapoosa Street.  Con­tinue straight as the road becomes Van­der­bilt Road and then Pin­son Val­ley Park­way.  After approx­i­mately two miles, veer slightly to the right onto Pin­son Street. After half a mile, turn right onto Ford Avenue and the park will be on your right.

Red Rock Tuesday

Red Rock Tues­day, Decem­ber 3rd: Jemi­son Park in Moun­tain Brook

Join us tomor­row for Red Rock Tues­day with Jeh Jeh Pruitt and the Fox 6 Team  at Jemi­son Park in Moun­tain Brook!

We con­tinue to fea­ture des­ti­na­tions of the Red Rock Trail the first Tues­day of every month on Good Day Alabama with the help of our Health Action Part­ners, com­mu­nity lead­ers, and each of you! Jemi­son Park was an orig­i­nal part of the Olm­stead plan that helped inspire the Red Rock Trail.The 54 acres park has a one mile trail that winds along Shades Creek and con­nects with the Nature Trail, the Watkins Trace Trail, and ties in with Moun­tain Brook’s side­walks. Jemi­son Park is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion in Moun­tain Brook for walk­ers, run­ners, and vis­i­tors look­ing to expe­ri­ence the outdoors.

When: Decem­ber 3rd
6:30 a.m. — 8:30 a.m.

To get to Jemi­son Park, take the Shades Creek Parkway/Lakeshore Drive exit from High­way 280 and head towards Moun­tain Brook.  Shades Creek Park­way becomes Moun­tain Brook Park­way, and Jemi­son Park will be on your right. Par­al­lel park­ing places are avail­able along Moun­tain Brook Park­way or office spaces are located at the inter­sec­tion of Cahaba Road and Moun­tain Brook Parkway.

This Red Rock Tues­day, we will also be talk­ing about #Giv­ingTues­day, a national day of giv­ing dri­ven by social media and will host a very spe­cial guest who is mak­ing a spe­cial trip from the North Pole! hanks for your con­tin­ued sup­port. We hope to see you there!


Giving Tuesday pic#Giv­ingTues­day is a national move­ment that began last year to cre­ate a day of giv­ing that would launch the giv­ing sea­son. Part of the inspi­ra­tion behind #Giv­ingTues­day was to give the giv­ing com­mu­nity an annual day to par­tic­i­pate in char­i­ta­ble actions or dona­tions the way retail stores can par­tic­i­pate in the excite­ment of Black Fri­day or Cyber Mon­day. This is the first year FWLT is par­tic­i­pat­ing and we are so eager, that we set a huge goal!

This year, #Giv­ingTues­day falls on Decem­ber 3rd and we have set a goal to raise $5,000! We hope that you par­tic­i­pate in this national day of giv­ing by donat­ing here on our web­site or going to:

Be sure to fol­low our progress on our Twit­ter (@FWLT) and Face­book ( pages!


Dam Update


picstitchWe are so pleased to announce the suc­cess­ful removal of the Old Shadow Lake Dam on Turkey Creek! The ver­mil­ion darter and all the other aquatic species that call Turkey Creek home now have another half mile of pris­tine habitat.

This project was sev­eral years in the mak­ing and we could not have done it with­out our many part­ners. After all of the plan­ning, research, and prepa­ra­tion, the process of tak­ing the dam down took only three weeks. On Novem­ber 4th, crews from Action Envi­ron­men­tal began prepa­ra­tion work includ­ing installing sed­i­ment bar­ri­ers and bring­ing in heavy equip­ment. With our part­ners at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice we con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored down­stream water qual­ity. After a week of care­ful prepa­ra­tion, the first block of the dam was chipped away with a hydraulic ham­mer on Novem­ber 13th ( Our plan was to break off small por­tions of the dam over sev­eral days worked! After an ini­tial break in the dam was achieved, we were able to con­trol water flow to elim­i­nate sed­i­men­ta­tion from trav­el­ing down­stream and the rest of the dam was removed over two days. Another cool thing about this projects is that it is essen­tially waste free — pieces of the dam were used as the first anchors of the new stream bank and were extremely valu­able in sta­bi­liz­ing a fail­ing bank where the dam once stood and the sed­i­ment built up behind the dam was moved and com­pacted to make the stream bank!

Stream Bank Restoration:

Due to the hydrol­ogy of Turkey Creek, our part­ners at USFWS as well as our engi­neer friends advised that we would have to add rip rap (large pieces of lime­stone rock) to anchor and sta­bi­lize our new bank. With­out adding the stone, all of our hard work would have been washed away in the next major rain event. So with the help and guid­ance of Vul­can Mate­ri­als, we selected the appro­pri­ate stone to restore the bank. Before the rip rap was brought on site we laid organic mat­ting that has seed embed­ded in the fab­ric. It is designed to break down over time but allow the grass mix to grow through the rip rap – how great is that?!

photo 2

Over the next few months, as the creek rises and falls through our win­ter rains, sed­i­ment and other mate­r­ial from the creek will be deposited in between the bank sta­bi­liza­tion mate­ri­als. This gives us a nat­ural medium in which to con­tinue the replant­ing along the creek. We have already started plans to grow some native sun lov­ing wild­flow­ers along the stone. Adja­cent to the stone we have a great area for other native re-plantings. The sed­i­ment from behind the dam will now be used to plant native sycamores, wil­lows, hydrangeas, and native grasses. We will start by spread­ing cool sea­son grasses this week to cover the ground.

Start­ing in early 2014, we will host a series of vol­un­teer days to get the larger plants and trees in the ground! This part of the restora­tion work will be made pos­si­ble by Alabama Power and par­ent South­ern Com­pany with a grant through the Five Star Restora­tion Pro­gram, which involves mul­ti­ple part­ners includ­ing Alabama Power, South­ern Com­pany, the non¬profit National Fish and Wildlife Foun­da­tion and the U.S. Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. In a few years, the newly restored bank will turn into a forested buffer that will enhance water qual­ity and pro­vide habi­tat for birds, deer, tur­tles, and a whole array of wildlife!

What Comes Next?JanetWedding 070

Post dam removal mon­i­tor­ing is another huge aspect of this project that has yet to come. We have suc­ceeded in remov­ing the dam, but now it’s time to mon­i­tor changes in aquatic life through­out this stretch of creek – par­tic­u­larly if the ver­mil­ion darter has reoc­cu­pied the upstream por­tion. To do this, we must bring in qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als to mon­i­tor the abun­dance and health of any new populations!

Be sure to fol­low our progress on our Face­book (  and Twit­ter (@FWLT) to see how you can help with this very impor­tant next step!


Dam Removal


Direc­tor of Land Stew­ard­ship, Rebekah Parker, writes about our cur­rent dam removal project and answers your most burn­ing questions:

I hope every­one was excited to hear our announce­ment that, in part­ner­ship with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice, we will be remov­ing the Old Shadow Lake Dam on Turkey Creek near Pin­son, Alabama! This restora­tion project will open up an addi­tional half mile of appro­pri­ate habi­tat for the sev­eral species of fish and wildlife includ­ing the endan­gered ver­mil­ion darter – a fish that only lives within a 7.2 mile seg­ment of Turkey Creek and its tributaries.

View of the damThe dam that we are remov­ing is located within a 226 acre pre­serve owned by the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust and is one impound­ment along Turkey Creek that has been iden­ti­fied as lim­it­ing the range of the ver­mil­ion darter, other fish, and aquatic life. The 6 feet tall, 85 feet wide dam was built in the 1920s to cre­ate a swim­ming and fish­ing hole, but it has now filled with silt and sed­i­ment. As you can imag­ine, it would be hard for any fish to get over a 6 foot tall obsta­cle in the creek! Areas upstream of the dam have been iden­ti­fied as appro­pri­ate habi­tat for the ver­mil­ion darter which requires clear, fast-moving water over rock creek bot­toms. The darter has not been seen upstream of the dam since 1995 which leads us and our part­ners to believe that the upstream pop­u­la­tion no longer exists and the dam is pre­vent­ing any new pop­u­la­tions from mov­ing in. We will be con­duct­ing exten­sive sur­veys post removal to mon­i­tor the progress of the newly recon­nected stream stretch.

The dam has not only block­aded the creek but has also cre­ated a dan­ger­ous struc­ture and poten­tial lia­bil­ity. At only 20 inches wide, the dam will not last for­ever and a sud­den dam fail­ure will have long last­ing neg­a­tive impacts far down­stream of the dam to both human and wildlife. Our plan ensures that the haz­ardous dam will be removed in a con­trolled and mon­i­tored way. Prior to FWLT own­er­ship, peo­ple have been seri­ously injured from attempt­ing to cross the creek at the dam site. The dam will be removed slowly over the course of sev­eral days. Action Envi­ron­men­tal will be using spe­cial­ized equip­ment to remove the sed­i­ment behind the dam as they slowly remove a few feet of the dam at a time. This process will pre­vent any sud­den release of sed­i­ment and will allow the water lev­els to adjust to the absence of the dam. We are also work­ing with Skip Rags­dale of Sun­shine Sup­ply to employ advanced sed­i­ment catch­ment tech­niques to pre­vent any silt of sed­i­ment from trav­el­ing down­stream. I have been so impressed by the new tech­nol­ogy in sed­i­ment reten­tion bar­ri­ers and we are so proud of the plan Action Envi­ron­men­tal and Sun­shine Sup­ply have devel­oped. Staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice and the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust will be on site dur­ing decon­struc­tion and will be con­duct­ing water test­ing sam­pling through­out the project. This project would not be pos­si­ble with­out each of these part­ners’ con­tri­bu­tions! We are really enjoy­ing work­ing with each of them.

This win­ter and next spring, we will begin replant­ing the dam with native trees and shrubs. This part of the restora­tion work will be made pos­si­ble by a grant through the Five Star Restora­tion Pro­gram, which involves mul­ti­ple part­ners includ­ing Alabama Power, South­ern Com­pany, the non­profit National Fish and Wildlife Foun­da­tion and the U.S. Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. Bank recon­struc­tion is being made pos­si­ble by Vul­can Mate­ri­als Com­pany through the gen­er­ous dona­tion of bank sta­bi­liza­tion mate­ri­als. We are so grate­ful to have part­ners for this impor­tant phase of the project and can’t thank them enough for their generosity!

We have been asked sev­eral ques­tions about the project and wanted to answer some of the ques­tions we hear most below:

Will it affect Turkey Creek Nature Preserve?

First, we are so thank­ful that peo­ple care about Turkey Creek Nature Pre­serve and what hap­pens in the water­shed as a whole. The Turkey Creek Nature Pre­serve is one of the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust’s col­lab­o­ra­tive projects. We invested time and money to facil­i­tate the pro­tec­tion of the Pre­serve and would do noth­ing to harm the integrity of that beau­ti­ful site. We believe that this dam removal will enhance the expe­ri­ence at TCNP because it will improve water qual­ity and reduce the risk of a sud­den unex­pected dam breach that could poten­tial harm the Preserve.

The dam removal site is sev­eral miles upstream of the Pre­serve and no day to day oper­a­tions of the Pre­serve will be affected by the dam removal or the bank restoration.

Why not just break a small hole in the dam?Dam removal zac

A sud­den break in the dam will cause a dan­ger­ous breach which will allow the sed­i­ment to be quickly released down­stream. The lack of sup­port struc­tures within the dam will also not allow for any par­tial break in the dam.

We have worked on plan­ning this project for over 3 years and have devel­oped a com­pre­hen­sive plan using the exper­tise of our staff, USFWS, engi­neers and an advi­sory panel with more than 15 peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions. We have ana­lyzed mul­ti­ple removal sce­nar­ios and we are con­fi­dent in our plan with Action.

Why not just move the ver­mil­ion darters to the upstream side?

Pop­u­la­tions that are not allowed to move through the full habi­tat range will not suc­ceed. A few iso­lated indi­vid­u­als upstream of the dam will not improve the endan­gered species sta­tus of the ver­mil­ion darter.

How will this project affect flood­ing issues?

The FWLT con­ducted a flood study with that deter­mined there will not be any changes to flood/water lev­els on any adja­cent prop­er­ties – upstream or down­stream. Typ­i­cally there is an improve­ment on flood man­age­ment and con­trol when you return a stream to its nat­ural state which is what our project will accomplish.

What are you going to do once the dam is removed?

We will use pieces of the dam and addi­tional rock to recre­ate the stream bank to match nat­ural slop e and topo­graphic con­di­tions we see upstream and down­stream of the dam. Thanks to a gen­er­ous grant by the National Fish and Wildlife Foun­da­tion we have the oppor­tu­nity to replant the stream with native shrubs and trees that will fur­ther sta­bi­lize the area.

How can I keep up with the project’s progress?

Any­one can fol­low our progress at and through our Twit­ter @fwlt. Updates and pic­tures will be made with #FreeTheVermilionDarter.



Pub­lic Notice: Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust Seek­ing Reaccreditation

The Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust is seek­ing the renewal of its accred­i­ta­tion from the national Land Trust Accred­i­ta­tion Com­mis­sion and a pub­lic com­ment period is now open. We became the first accred­ited land trust in Alabama in 2008 and reac­cred­i­ta­tion would be a con­tin­ued mark of distinction.

Accred­i­ta­tion through the Land Trust Accred­i­ta­tion Com­mis­sion means that the orga­ni­za­tion has met a national qual­ity of stan­dards and sig­ni­fies a land trust’s assur­ance of the qual­ity and per­ma­nence of its land con­ser­va­tion.  A full list of stan­dards that Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust must com­ply to receive reac­cred­i­ta­tion can be reviewed by the pub­lic at

Our Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Wendy Jack­son, explains, “Accred­i­ta­tion ensures that spe­cial places we have and will con­serve in the future will be pre­served for the next gen­er­a­tion. And we believe if these places are impor­tant enough for us to pro­tect, then they are impor­tant enough for us to do right.”

Pub­lic Com­ment Directions:

The Com­mis­sion will be accept­ing signed, writ­ten com­ments on Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust’s pend­ing appli­ca­tion from the pub­lic begin­ning now through Jan­u­ary 2nd, 2014. Online com­ment sub­mis­sion can be made at by click­ing on the “sub­mit feed­back” but­ton or emailed to Com­ments can also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accred­i­ta­tion Com­mis­sion, Attn: Pub­lic Com­ments: (fax) 518–587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Com­ments should relate to how Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust com­plies with the national qual­ity of stan­dards and received by the deadline.


Retirement Celebration

Retire­ment Cel­e­bra­tion Hon­ors Bishop Heron JohnsonBishop blog pic

It was our great plea­sure to attend a retire­ment cel­e­bra­tion for our dear friend and part­ner, Bishop Heron John­son, this past Fri­day evening. Bishop John­son was hon­ored as he retired from the Alabama Dis­trict Coun­cil after 27 years of ded­i­cated ser­vice and we were hon­ored to be a small part of the occasion.

We have known Bishop John­son as a cham­pion of preser­va­tion and bio­log­i­cal diver­sity from the moment the tiny, col­or­ful, and endan­gered water­cress darter was dis­cov­ered on Seven Springs, a trib­u­tary of Val­ley Creek, owned by Faith Apos­tolic Church where Bishop John­son is the found­ing pas­tor. After this dis­cov­ery, Bishop John­son part­nered with us at Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust to ensure the per­ma­nent pro­tec­tion of this impor­tant fish and its habi­tat. Bishop John­son was a uni­fy­ing force that brought together a diverse group of part­ners, believ­ing that the water­cress darter dis­cov­ered in Seven Springs was God-given and entrusted to those who would embrace its protection.

At the age of 93, Bishop John­son is still as spir­ited as when we first part­nered and remains a ded­i­cated com­mu­nity leader. Thank you for allow­ing us to join you for this spe­cial occasion!

FWLT donates 53 acres

Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust con­tributes 53 acres to Birmingham’s Red Moun­tain Park

Press Release

Executive Director of Freshwater Land Trust, Wendy Jackson (left), and  Executive Director of Red Mountain Park, David Dionne (right), stand with former Raimund miner, C.E. Vickers (center), holding a picture of himself in a Raimund mine in 1953. All spoke at the press conference.

Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust, Wendy Jack­son (left), and Chair of the Red Moun­tain Park Com­mis­sion, Steve Jones (right) , stand with for­mer Raimund miner, C.E. Vick­ers (cen­ter), hold­ing a pic­ture of him­self in a Raimund mine in 1953. All spoke at the press conference.