CAHABA RIVER SOCIETY
Founded in 1988, our mission is to restore and protect the Cahaba River watershed and its rich diversity of life, including the river’s globally-significant freshwater wildlife and the diverse people of central Alabama who rely on the Cahaba for drinking water, recreation and other needs.
With core values of integrity, education, collaboration and stewardship, CRS is a science-based expert resource and partnership catalyst. We continually reach out to collaborate with and strengthen our relationships with leaders in business, development, energy and water utilities, government, science, environment, education, and faith. These interests are a powerful combination for wise growth and water resource conservation.
The Cahaba is a major drinking water source for 1/5 of Alabamians. With more species of fish per mile than any other river of its size or larger in North America, the Cahaba is considered to be nationally and globally significant for freshwater biodiversity by The Nature Conservancy, The World Wildlife Fund, and the National Geographic Society.
PROGRAMS & AIMS INCLUDE:
1. Cahaba Blueway: improved river access, public information, and linkage to nearby recreation, historic and cultural assets, bring more people to the River, and support tourism and recreational economic development for Cahaba communities. CRS, Alabama Innovation Engine, The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service, and others are collaborating to launch an integrated plan for developing Cahaba river access and signage, public information, and marketing. Eventually many projects will weave together Cahaba recreation with trails, parks, historic sites, and cultural attractions in surrounding communities, from the Birmingham suburbs down to the Black Belt. The project aims to support the goals for recreation & tourism-related economic development of Cahaba communities;
2. Water-Smart Growth: water-sustaining Low Impact Development (LID) and water efficiency to become standard practice in new development and community rebuilding to replenish and conserve our region’s water resources. CRS has trained over 1,400 professionals and local/state government officials in LID and water efficiency, and awarded 21 water-smart projects for best practices. CRS is a resource to development professionals, cities and counties for education and collaboration on model projects proving the feasibility and value of LID. With partners in the Collaborative Environmental Network of Alabama, CRS, business leaders, water and energy utilities, faith leaders and environmental groups are jointly providing education that makes the business case for drinking water efficiency, conservation, and reuse by promoting local success stories;
3. Shane Hulsey CLEAN Environmental Education Program: our youth become healthy and knowledgeable adult leaders and act as good stewards to ensure that their drinking water remains healthy and abundant and their rivers are clean and life-filled. CLEAN takes youth on the Cahaba for field trips and restoration projects, teaches the science that underpins stewardship, and increases their desire for active outdoor play in Alabama’s abundant water resources. The CLEAN program has brought over 30,000 students and teachers into their rivers for hands-on science education since 1996.