LandAid 2014



The Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust Junior Board invites Birm­ing­ham res­i­dents to enjoy good music and local brews while help­ing pre­serve the places that mat­ter in Alabama at LandAid on Fri­day, July 18 at Avon­dale Brew­ing Com­pany. The annual fundraiser will fea­ture the Nashville-based rock group The Wild Feath­ers and Birmingham’s Ocean Liner.


The Wild Feath­ers are a five-member, Nashville based rock band, led by Rick Young, Joel Kind, Tay­lor Burns, Pre­ston Wim­berly and Ben Dumas. They com­bine the styles of tra­di­tional rock, blues, folk and coun­try music and mix vin­tage roots with mod­ern tones. The band was recently fea­tured on Late Night with Seth Mey­ers and VH1’s Morn­ing Buzz.


Nashville-based rock back The Wild Feathers


Ocean Liner of Birmingham

We would like to thank our spon­sors for help­ing make this event hap­pen: Alabama Power, Cigna-HealthSpring, Avon­dale Brew­ing Com­pany, Honda Man­u­fac­tur­ing of Alabama, Levy’s Fine Jew­elry, May­nard, Cooper & Gale, P.C. , Weld for Birm­ing­ham and Birm­ing­ham Moun­tain Radio.

We are very excited about LandAid,” FWLT Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Wendy Jack­son, said. “The fundraiser always cre­ates a huge turnout and raises money for land con­ser­va­tion. It’s a great excuse to party for a good cause.”

Tick­ets are $15 online and $25 at the door. All pro­ceeds ben­e­fit the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust and its mis­sion to pre­serve the places that mat­ter. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and Ocean Liner will take the stage at 8 p.m., fol­lowed by The Wild Feathers

Share our event with your friends on Face­book and use #LandAid2014

Join us for good music and local brews for a good cause!

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!