FreshWater Land Trust http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org Just another WordPress site Tue, 20 Jun 2017 22:57:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 New Staff Q&A: Mary Beth Brown http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/staff-qa-mary-beth-brown/ http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/staff-qa-mary-beth-brown/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 22:12:18 +0000 http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/?p=1029 Last month, Mary Beth Brown joined the Freshwater Land Trust as our new Director of […]

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Last month, Mary Beth Brown joined the Freshwater Land Trust as our new Director of Communications! Mary Beth is an Alabama native and a graduate of Auburn University. After working in London for three years, she returned to her home state and transitioned from finance to nonprofit communications and development. We sat down and asked her a few questions about her background and what she’s most looking forward to in her new position.

Where are you from? How did you end up living in London?

I’m from Winfield, Alabama, but when I was eleven my family moved overseas. We spent two years in Japan and four years in England where I attended high school. After graduating from Auburn, I returned to England where I began my career at an investment bank in London.

Why did you decide to move to Birmingham?

After several years in finance, I began exploring other career options. I had always been passionate about the outdoors, which led to a developing interest in food and agriculture. And that’s how I stumbled upon a two-year fellowship at Jones Valley Teaching Farm here in Birmingham. I hadn’t planned on moving back to Alabama, but once my husband and I made the decision, it felt right! For me, Alabama will always be home.

What are you most excited about as our new Director of Communications?

I’m excited to tell the Freshwater Land Trust’s stories. Land and water conservation in Alabama is so important – and (as I’m learning) so complex! Our projects take lots of time, money, expertise, and strong partnerships. I’m excited to dive into those complexities and explore new ways of sharing our work with our wider community.

Can you share a couple of fun facts about yourself?

I spent two summers working in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. And I’ve always been a little scared of flying kites!

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Kiwanis Breaks Ground on New Park and Vulcan Trail http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/kiwanis-breaks-ground-new-centennial-parkvulcan-trail/ Thu, 25 May 2017 17:34:13 +0000 http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/?p=937 We are excited to announce that last Friday, May 19, 2017, the Kiwanis Club of […]

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We are excited to announce that last Friday, May 19, 2017, the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham broke ground on their Centennial Park/Vulcan Trail project. This $4.6 million investment will reconnect Vulcan Park and Museum to downtown Birmingham, both visually and physically, through a new park, a new trail, and a new lighting system on Birmingham’s iconic Vulcan statue.

We are working with Kiwanis to develop Vulcan Trail, a two-mile walking and biking path that runs across Red Mountain to Green Springs Highway and is part of the 750-mile Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System. Several years ago, we held community meetings to learn what people wanted out of their trails and green spaces, and this trail connection was one of the most desired segments of the entire system.

You may learn more about the project and last Friday’s groundbreaking here and here.

Kiwanis Groundbreaking 2017 2

Looking up at the Vulcan statue from the site of the new Kiwanis Centennial Park/Vulcan Trail.

Kiwanis Centennial Park Vulcan Trail Groundbreaking 2017 3

Tyrone Silmon (Mayor William Bell’s office), Libba Vaughan (Freshwater Land Trust), Thomas W. Thagard III (Kiwanis Club of Birmingham), and Darlene Negrotto (Vulcan Park Foundation).

Kiwanis Centennial Park Vulcan Trail Groundbreaking 2017 4

Freshwater Land Trust staff celebrating this big step forward in the development of Vulcan Trail.

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Turkey Creek Restoration Continues thanks to FLT partners http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/turkey-creek-restoration-continues-thanks-flt-partners/ Wed, 08 Feb 2017 19:16:16 +0000 http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/?p=901 In a small watershed in northwest Jefferson County lives a tiny, vibrantly colored fish found […]

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Vermillion DarterIn a small watershed in northwest Jefferson County lives a tiny, vibrantly colored fish found nowhere else on earth.  The Vermilion darter (Etheostoma chermocki), inhabits now a 9 mile stretch of Turkey Creek downstream from Shadow Lake. In the late 1990s, researchers noticed a precipitous drop in the population of these bottom-feeding fish. As a result, the Vermilion darter was listed as a critically endangered species in 2001.

Ten years later, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) identified critical habitat for this unique fish, as well as serious threats to its survival.  One of these threats was the existence of 5 separate man-made lakes and ponds along Turkey Creek, whose dams prevented the fish from freely moving between spawning and feeding areas. Freshwater Land Trust (FLT), along with a host of local and regional corporate and agency partners including USFWS, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and Action Environmental helped make Turkey Creek a more hospitable home for these fish by removing one of these dams. The dam, built in the 1920s, was located within a 226-acre FLT preserve high in the Turkey Creek watershed. This dam not only made it impossible for darters to move through a segment of the creek, it caused portions of the creek to fill with silt, degrading the habitat downstream and threatening the only known spawning site for the fish, near Tapawingo Springs.

The removal of the dam was only the beginning, however. The path the creek now flowed along had been at the bottom of a lake for nearly 100 years. Without plants to hold the loose soil in place, the creek and the Vermilion Darter could have fallen victim to the sediment pollution the dam removal had been intended to avert. In order to protect the now free-flowing stream, FLT, Jennings Environmental, and Father Nature Landscapes partnered on a stream and bank restoration project funded by USFWS and NFWF intended to protect the darter’s habitat in this section of Turkey Creek. This entailed improving the flow of the creek to prevent further erosion, and planting native flora to ensure soil stayed on the creek’s banks, instead of washing into its waters.

These projects are part of a broader partnership between the FLT, USFWS, and Turkey Creek Nature Preserve to help the Vermilion darter. This includes a recovery plan that USFWS has authored for the fish that identifies steps to expand their potential habitat in the watershed. Protecting water quality through streamside land acquisition, educating the public about the importance of clean rivers and streams, and publicizing the tiny, rainbow-hued fish are all vitally important to facilitating the recovery of their population and their continued place in our local ecosystem. These efforts not only help preserve critical habitat for the Vermilion darter, they also improve the quality of habitat for all creatures throughout the Turkey Creek watershed and northwest Jefferson County.

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2017 Board of Directors http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/2017-board-directors/ Mon, 30 Jan 2017 19:25:42 +0000 http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/?p=891 The Freshwater Land Trust is excited to welcome three new members to our Board of […]

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The Freshwater Land Trust is excited to welcome three new members to our Board of Directors this year:

CarruthersThomas N. Carruthers, III
Principal Owner
Red Rock Realty Group

Tom has an extensive background in commercial and residential real estate which began in 1986. He formed Carruthers Real Estate Company in 2001 and, in partnership with Charles Robinson, acquired Property Managers in 2007. Later in 2010, Tom and Charles merged their two companies into Red Rock Realty Group. Tom began his real estate career with Porter, White & Company where he worked for 16 years. Tom received his MBA in 1986 from the University of Virginia’s Darden School. Between college and graduate school, Tom worked in the engineering department for Southern Natural Gas Company. Tom received a degree in civil engineering from Princeton University in 1982. Tom and his wife Brooke have two daughters, Scout and Neely.

comenskySusan Comensky
Vice President
Alabama Power

Susan joined Southern Company in 1984. She has held leadership positions at Alabama Power and Southern Company Services in business development, commercial and industrial marketing, wholesale contracting and strategy development. She previously served as director of Gas Services and director of Coal Services for Southern Company and was named vice president of External and Regulatory Affairs for Southern Power in 2011, with responsibility for external affairs, land management, environmental affairs, transmission and corporate communications. She also served as Southern Power’s compliance officer. Susan has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree in business administration from Samford University. She and her husband Frank have two daughters, Alex and Heather. Susan’s current role is vice president at Alabama Power with responsibility for Environmental Affairs.

McFaddenF. Hampton McFadden, Jr., CFA
Principal, Equity Analyst
Vulcan Value Partners

Hampton joined Vulcan Value Partners in 2009. Prior to joining the firm, Hampton was the Co-Founder and CEO of Republic Capital Access, which provides liquidity and funding for small and medium sized government service contractors and uses a proprietary underwriting and invoice processing system to create a customized, flexible program for funding the working capital needs of government contractors while relying exclusively on the US Government as the ultimate obligor of the receivables. Earlier in his career, he served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary, and Chief Risk Officer of a publicly traded bank holding company with over $1 billion in assets. Hampton began his career as an attorney in private law practice with an emphasis on publicly traded and privately held healthcare and financial companies.

Hampton earned his JD from Vanderbilt University. He also has a BA in Philosophy from Amherst College.

 

2017 Board of Directors:

Robin Wade, III, Chair

Mike Goodrich, Jr., Vice Chair

William C. Perry, III, Treasurer

James M. Proctor, II, Previous Chair

Natalie Kelly, Secretary

Kelsey Alvis, Junior Board Chair

Tom Carruthers

Susan Comensky

Dr. Lawrence Davenport

Bobby Humphrey

F. Hampton McFadden, Jr.

Scotty Moates

Virginia Randolph

William O. Smith

Thomas Thagard

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Freshwater Land Trust Hike Series http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/freshwater-land-trust-hike-series/ http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/freshwater-land-trust-hike-series/#comments Mon, 23 Jan 2017 20:50:12 +0000 http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/?p=883 The Freshwater Land Trust is excited to announce its 2017 Seasonal Hike Series! Throughout the […]

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The Freshwater Land Trust is excited to announce its 2017 Seasonal Hike Series!

Throughout the spring and fall seasons, we’re hosting monthly guided hikes so that you can see and learn about the places we’ve helped preserve thanks to your support.

No need to RSVP—all you’ll need is your hiking shoes! Invite your friends and family, and follow us on social media for updates and further information on where we’ll be visiting each month.

April 28th: Homewood Forest Preserve.

Homewood Forest Preserve

The Homewood Forest Preserve is owned by the City of Homewood as a public nature preserve and managed under a conservation easement by the Freshwater Land Trust. Although surrounded by suburban and commercial development, this tract of urban forest is full of wildlife, and is particularly known for the presence of Ambystomatids (salamanders).

Time: 3:30pm

Meeting Location: 1925 South Lakeshore Dr. Birmingham, AL 35209

Notes: Parking is available at Homewood High School, in the Samford soccer lots, and on the shoulder of South Lakeshore Drive. The terrain of the preserve is sloped, so be prepared for a little hiking.

May 21st: Turkey Creek restoration site.

This is our last monthly hike until the fall! The Turkey Creek restoration hike will take participants through a section of intact, diverse forest to the site of the Freshwater Land Trust’s stream restoration project near the former Shadow Lake dam. Through the cooperative efforts of the Freshwater Land Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and Jennings Environmental, this site, home to the endangered Vermilion Darter, was recently transformed from highly disturbed habitat to an aesthetically pleasing and functioning stream ecosystem.

Time: 2pm

Meeting location: Meet along Goodwin Road at Lea Anne Circle, Pinson, AL.

Notes: Parking is on the side of the road or you may pull into the gated “driveway” of the property. We will take a guided nature walk approximately 1.5 miles to the stream bank restoration site. You may want to wear water shoes as we will be crossing the creek.

 

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Why the Red Rock Trail matters http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/red-rock-trail-matters/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:01:37 +0000 http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/?p=861 In 1925, renowned landscape architects Fredrick Law Olmsted, Jr. and John Charles Olmstead designed a […]

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img-red-rock-valley-trail-systemIn 1925, renowned landscape architects Fredrick Law Olmsted, Jr. and John Charles Olmstead designed a plan for Birmingham that included parks within walking distance of every home. A planned network of open green spaces along low-lying creeks and high ridge lines would connect these parks to each other and their surrounding neighborhoods.  Unfortunately, this plan wasn’t implemented by the civic leaders of Birmingham in 1925, but nearly a century later, it’s finally beginning to take shape.  The Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System is the successor to the Olmstead Brothers’ visionary 1925 parks plan.  With a planned length of more than 750 miles, it combines trail corridors that follow our beautiful rivers and streams with connector trails that branch into neighborhoods, allowing everyone in Jefferson County to access recreational opportunities and parks.

red-rock-strip-bikeSome of the best known trails in the Red Rock System are the 15 miles of trails at Red Mountain Park, but the trail system is designed for more than just hikers. Most of the trails in the plan are “street-based trails,” or sidewalks combined with on-street bicycling facilities. While they don’t get the attention that a Rotary Trail or a Railroad Park Greenway does, these street-based trails are what get help people get to school, work, neighborhood parks, or anywhere they want to walk or bike to. Many of these street-based trails tie into the greenways that make up most of the central trail corridors.  The greenways are the scenic centerpiece of the system. They are long, narrow parks built around walking and biking paths.  Many of the ones included in the Red Rock System follow along creek banks, providing a natural refuge from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city.

img-hurricaneIn addition to the street-based trails, hiking trails, and greenways, there’s one more component to the Red Rock System: “blueways”. Blueways are sections of river that have signage to help people paddling canoes or kayaks navigate, and include launches every couple of miles.  There are blueways planned along Village and Five Mile Creeks in northern Jefferson County, and one planned along the Cahaba River as well.  The Cahaba River Blueway in Jefferson and Shelby Counties is planned to be a portion of an even bigger project that will turn the entire Cahaba River from Trussville to Selma, into a destination for paddlers from all over the southeast.

Recreation isn’t the only benefit of the Red Rock System, though. Open spaces along rivers and creeks help keep people and property out of dangerous flood zones, and keep water cleaner and clearer.  A neighborhood-based trail system also lets residents who don’t or can’t drive get around.  Kids can walk or bike to schools, libraries and parks safely, and anyone can walk to a neighborhood convenience or grocery store.  The increase in walking, biking and running that comes from having accessible trails in every neighborhood have profound health benefits as well. Researchers at UAB found that full implementation of the Red Rock System would save $42 million dollars in healthcare costs every year.

Civil Rights trail _00002_140304Developing a 750-mile system of anything is a monumental task, but over the past few years, we’ve seen huge improvements in trail connectivity thanks to some amazing work done by the cities in the region. For example, in Birmingham, it’s now possible to bike or walk from UAB, through downtown and out to Legion Field or the Enon Ridge Trail without leaving a Red Rock Trail. Soon, the Shades Creek Greenway along Lakeshore Drive in Homewood will be extended in both directions, connecting West Homewood Park with Jemison Park in Mountain Brook, and creating a 7-mile long greenway along Shades Creek.  All of these upcoming improvements will help make our parks, rivers, creeks, and historical sites more accessible for everyone living in Central Alabama.  These improvements reflect the amazing efforts that cities, communities, partner organizations and ordinary people have put forth in order to expand, improve and maintain this trail system.  Through their dedication, we can keep expanding access to recreational opportunities throughout the Birmingham metro area and keep building more trails!

Written by Charles Miller, Freshwater Land Trust AmeriCorps member

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12.5 acres of streamside property preserved for the Cahaba River in Mountain Brook & Vestavia. http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/12-5-acres-streamside-property-preserved-cahaba-river-mountain-brook-vestavia/ http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/12-5-acres-streamside-property-preserved-cahaba-river-mountain-brook-vestavia/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2016 22:08:36 +0000 http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/?p=852 In late September, Ed and Memily Colvin joined a growing group of landowners who have […]

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In late September, Ed and Memily Colvin joined a growing group of landowners who have looked to the Freshwater Land Trust to help guide them in their conservation goals.

The Colvins donated twelve and a half acres of land along the banks of the Cahaba River in the cities of Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills. This area is designed Priority One for protection under the Land Trust’s Community Conservation Plan and helps protect the Cahaba. This beautiful piece of property adds to almost 600 acres of riverside land that has been permanently preserved to protect the Cahaba, one of our most valuable resources in Central Alabama and one of the most scenic and biologically diverse rivers in the United States.

The Cahaba River Watershed is unique among North American rivers, with a greater diversity of fish species for its size than any other river. It is a critical habitat for eight endangered species of mussels and contains the largest remaining population of the shoals spider (Cahaba) lily. The Cahaba River also flows through the largest metropolitan area in Alabama, affording tremendous opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental education.

But, Ed and Memily’s contribution of land does more than protect one of Alabama’s most important natural resources, it also preserve their legacy. The Freshwater Land Trust is proud to work with landowners like Ed and Memily who believe in a deeper meaning of conservation and appreciate the importance of preserving land for future generations to enjoy.

“It is humbling to work with people like Ed and Memily who truly understand the value of conservation and why the Freshwater Land Trust’s work is so important,” said Libba Vaughan, FLT executive director. “We hope their story and important decision to permanently preserve their land continues to foster a strong conservation ethic in the communities we serve.”

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20 for 20 Anniversary Challenge http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/20for20challenge/ http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/20for20challenge/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:05:58 +0000 http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/?p=827 Make your gift via paypal The Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) orga­ni­za­tion there­fore your […]

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Make your gift via paypal

The Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) orga­ni­za­tion there­fore your con­tri­bu­tion is tax deductible.





A hiking trail. A fishing hole. A backyard creek. Why do these places matter? What are they worth to you? What if with just $20, you can ensure they are preserved forever?

Over the past 20 years, the Freshwater Land Trust has worked to preserve the places that matter most to Alabamians. So, in celebration of our 20th anniversary this year, we’re inviting you to join our 20for20 Challenge!

Donors like you help ensure that the trails, fishing holes and creeks you love most are protected in perpetuity. Your $20 donation, or more, will support the land trust’s work to preserve critical watershed land throughout Greater Birmingham.

The Freshwater Land Trust has had two decades of success in land conservation, but there is even more ground to cover in the next 20 years. Your $20 donation helps the Freshwater Land Trust….

  • Purchase 20 acres of critical watershed land along the Cahaba River for public recreation.
  • Identify the next 20 miles of key trail connectors to the Red Rock Trail System.
  • Stabilize more than 20 feet of sensitive streambank along Village Creek.
  • Protect the habitats of the vermilion darter, found only in Turkey Creek.

Your dollars impact our conservation work on the ground. As a Freshwater Land Trust supporter, you’ll join an extensive network of like-minded conservationists who are working to preserve water quality and open space in our community, so that we can pass along our rich, natural heritage to those who come after us.

Join the 20 for 20 Anniversary Challenge today, and help us preserve the trails, creeks, swimming holes, and outdoor places you enjoy every day.

Make your minimum $20 donation by clicking the button below, or you can send your gift by mail to 2308 First Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203. You can also contribute monthly and become a member of the Freshwater Land Trust. Your generous contributions are changing the landscape of Central Alabama forever.

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New Staff Q&A: Carolyn Buck http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/qa-carolyn-buck/ Thu, 27 Oct 2016 18:52:05 +0000 http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org/?p=825 Carolyn Buck recently joined the Freshwater Land Trust team. We sat down with her to […]

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Carolyn Buck recently joined the Freshwater Land Trust team. We sat down with her to find out her plans for the future and learn what she is looking most forward to in her new role.
Q: Where are you from?
I am a native of Texas and graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Environmental Studies. After graduation, I moved to Nicaragua with the Peace Corps. Following Nicaragua, I lived in Atlanta, Georgia.
Q: How did you choose Birmingham?
My husband is a native of Birmingham. We met while both living in Atlanta, and when he received a job offer back here, we decided to move. I have been here over a year and love it.
Q: What is the most exciting thing about your new role as Red Rock Coordinator?
I am excited to spread awareness across the city. My role allows me to oversee projects along the Red Rock Trail System, so I am excited to continue promoting this among the community.

The Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System 

This system is 750 miles of multi-use trails, sidewalks and bike lanes which link the people and communities of Jefferson County. Trails like the Shades Creek Greenway or Vulcan Trail were already part of this system, but as coordinator, Buck will oversee any and all trail projects that continue to link the system. Ultimately, the vision for the Red Rock Trail System is to ensure that every resident of Jefferson County has a trail that they can call his/her own.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge that lies ahead for Red Rock?

Getting the community organized and motivated will be tough, but is possible. Please donate!

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