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 Black Warrior Riverkeeper “Watershed Moments”

Celebrating our 20th Anniversary from 9/25/21 to 9/24/22

October 1, 2021 Katie Holmes joins Black Warrior Riverkeeper as an AmeriCorps member focused on volunteer engagement and cleanups.

September 10, 2021 The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources presents an Alabama Wildlife Federation OPERATION GAMEWATCH Reward to Black Warrior Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke for his October 14, 2020 GameWatch report of an endangered watercress darter fish kill in Birmingham.

August 2, 2021 Charles Scribner hires Katie Fagan as Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s first outreach coordinator upon the completion of her year of AmeriCorps service. Katie will continue to promote litter cleanups and volunteer engagement while becoming more involved in advocacy.

July 26, 2021 Black Warrior Riverkeeper publicizes fish consumption advisories as part of Coosa Riverkeeper’s annual statewide Fish Guide launch. The partners simultaneously announce Waterkeepers Alabama’s new interactive Fish Guide map: WaterkeepersAlabama.org/Fish/.

July 14, 2021 Alabama Rivers Alliance and Black Warrior Riverkeeper donate new Southern Exposure DVDs to all Tuscaloosa County Library locations. Black Warrior Riverkeeper began bringing the Alabama environmental documentaries to public libraries in 2015, starting with the Birmingham Public Library, and the annual deliveries now stretch across the state.

June 16, 2021 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Center for Biological Diversity launch a lawsuit to overturn approval of Mays No. 5 Mine, which is pushing the threatened flattened musk turtle closer to extinction.

May 28, 2021 Two top students from The University of Alabama win a grant from the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation to intern with Black Warrior Riverkeeper. This partnership with UA’s renowned Advertising and Public Relations Department has flourished since 2013, and featured two students for the first time in 2021.

September 1, 2020 Black Warrior Riverkeeper hires its first AmeriCorps member, Katie Fagan, to expand our volunteer engagement and litter cleanups. Katie begins her AmeriCorps year by writing a 9/11 Tribute to Service after interviewing Black Warrior Riverkeeper board member Jim Colby about his work as a volunteer firefighter and member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

March 26, 2020 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and four allied groups from across the state announce the launch of AlabamaCoalAsh.org, a new website alerting Alabamians to the dangers of coal ash pollution and presenting ways to take action.

February 13, 2020 As president of Waterkeepers Alabama, Charles Scribner, Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s executive director, announces the launch of Waterkeepers Alabama’s new website and interactive map.

December 23, 2019 Southern Environmental Law Center presents its James S. Dockery, Jr. Southern Environmental Leadership Award to Black Warrior Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke.

December 5, 2019 Osprey Initiative installs the Greater Birmingham area’s first “Litter Gitter” in-stream trash collection device. The Freshwater Land Trust subsequently recruits Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Cahaba Riverkeeper to help promote additional grassroots, corporate, and government support for the installation of more Litter Gitters throughout the Black Warrior and Cahaba River watersheds.

June 5, 2019 Alabama Rivers Alliance, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Coosa Riverkeeper, and Mobile Baykeeper release new interactive maps highlighting groundwater pollution reported by Alabama Power and Power South at coal ash pits throughout the state. Alabama Power’s federally required monitoring shows significant pollution of groundwater with arsenic, cobalt, lithium, molybdenum, and radium.

May 7, 2019 An Alabama federal judge rules that Drummond Company is violating the Clean Water Act by continuously discharging acid mine drainage into the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork from its Maxine Mine site. The lawsuit was filed in 2016 by Black Warrior Riverkeeper, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center and Public Justice.

March 18, 2019 ‪Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School presents their Corporate Work Study Program Supervisor of the Year award to Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s executive director, Charles Scribner. Black Warrior Riverkeeper intern JaQuerius Byner delivers an inspiring speech at the award ceremony.

February 27, 2019 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sues the EPA to protect imperiled streams.

August 14, 2018 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and eight allied organizations from across the state call for Governor Ivey to hold the Alabama Environmental Management Commission accountable for actions revealed during the bribery and corruption trial U.S. v. Gilbert.

July 30, 2018 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and ten allied organizations from across the state call for ADEM Director Lance LeFleur’s resignation or termination.

May 1, 2018 Black Warrior Riverkeeper joins Alabama Rivers Alliance and Waterkeepers Alabama in relaying sewage-related victories, continued concerns, and public safety guidelines as the summer recreation season begins in Alabama.

March 16, 2018 Alabama Rivers Alliance presents their Group of the Year award to the newly formed Waterkeepers Alabama.

February 8, 2018 Cahaba River Society presents their Outstanding River Advocate award to Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

January 2, 2018 U.S. Fish and Wildlife announces Endangered Species protection for the Black Warrior waterdog. Black Warrior Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke was entrusted with Peer Reviewer status for both the Black Warrior waterdog’s proposed listing as well as the proposed critical habitat designation.

November 16, 2017 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Coosa Riverkeeper release report about the nearly ten million pounds of toxic chemicals that were dumped into Alabama rivers in 2015.

September 27, 2017 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and several allies from across the state announce their success in pushing the State of Alabama to make sewage permits more protective of citizens. The new regulations lower the maximum concentration of E. coli that is allowed to be discharged at any given time during the summer by nearly 40%, and increase the period of time those standards apply by 50%, from four months to six months.

August 31, 2017 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and eight allied organizations from across the state highlight ADEM’s new sewage spill notification tools.

August 24, 2017 Black Warrior Riverkeeper releases Alabama Power’s coal ash maps which illustrate potential danger to the river and the public.

June 15, 2017 SouthWings presents their Visionary Award to Black Warrior Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke during Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s 15th Anniversary cruise on the Bama Belle riverboat.

May 2, 2017 For the third time in four years, Black Warrior Riverkeeper wins the “Birmingham’s Brightest Company” contest. Black Warrior Riverkeeper also won Impact America’s contest in 2016 and 2014, and was runner up in 2015 and 2012.

May 1, 2017 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and six allied organizations from across Alabama petition the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to review the process undertaken by the EPA to determine whether the State of Alabama is complying with its obligations to protect water in Alabama.

April 28, 2017 Staff Scientist John Kinney launches Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s new monthly Ambient Water Quality Monitoring program.

April 21, 2017 After receiving a petition by Black Warrior Riverkeeper and eight allied organizations from across the state, the Alabama Environmental Management Commission votes to study better sewage spill notification systems.

April 11, 2017 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and eight allied organizations from across the state release an interactive map showing all of the sewage spills that were reported to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management during the 2016 calendar year.

March 23, 2017 Alabama Rivers Alliance presents their James Lowery Service Award to Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s executive director, Charles Scribner, at the Alabama Water Rally.

March 21, 2017 The Southern Environmental Law Center files a lawsuit on behalf of Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Defenders of Wildlife, challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of a permit authorizing Black Warrior Minerals Mine #2’s waste to be dumped into streams that feed into the Locust Fork.

March 17, 2017 Black Warrior Riverkeeper asks ADEM and Uniontown to stop catfish processor Harvest Select from disrupting Uniontown’s sewage lagoon.

March 7, 2017 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and eight allied groups from across the state petition Alabama’s Environmental Management Commission to write regulations requiring sewage treatment facilities to notify the public when they are exposed to sewage spills and overflows.

March 1, 2017 Black Warrior Riverkeeper supports Coosa Riverkeeper’s launch of a new statewide “Fish Guide” program to educate and protect Alabamians who consume the fish they catch.

February 28, 2017 Representing Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Defenders of Wildlife, and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, the Southern Environmental Law Center files a motion to intervene in a federal challenge filed by 18 states, including South Carolina and Alabama, that would undo important protections for endangered species.

January 31, 2017 Alabama’s Waterkeepers call on ADEM to modify 7 sewage plant permits to comply with new law.

January 24, 2017 The UAB College of Arts & Sciences presents its Alumni Service Award to Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s executive director, Charles Scribner.

November 3, 2016 Thanks to the settlement of a lawsuit filed by Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s staff attorney, Eva Dillard, citizens no longer risk the imposition of attorneys’ fees and costs when exercising their rights under the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Alabama citizens can now challenge decisions by the Alabama Surface Mining Commission without risking financial ruin.

October 25, 2016 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and eight allied groups from across the state petition the Alabama Environmental Management Commission to adopt new or revised limits on toxic pollutants in surface waters. These limits are intended to protect human health and aquatic life.

September 1, 2016 The Southern Environmental Law Center, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, and Public Justice file a lawsuit against Drummond to stop its Maxine Mine’s continuous and unpermitted polluted discharges of acidic runoff and mine drainage into the Locust Fork and its tributaries.

May 13, 2016 Black Warrior Riverkeeper becomes the world’s first Waterkeeper organization to reach Platinum (the new highest charity rating, launched in 2016) on GuideStar, the leading source of information on American nonprofits. Black Warrior Riverkeeper continues to earn Platinum in all subsequent years.

May 12, 2016 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Southern Environmental Law Center release The Road Information Program’s report showing that Alabama’s 50 most needed road improvements could be collectively completed for half a billion dollars less than the proposed Northern Beltline, which is notably absent from the top 50.

January 19, 2016 The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama issues a ruling that responsible agencies met threshold legal requirements for a review of environmental impacts and alternative transportation investments for the flawed Northern Beltline project.

October 27, 2015 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and partners challenge U.S. Army Corps’ lenient approach to stream filling in the Black Warrior River basin.

July 19, 2015 After nearly a decade of tireless opposition by Black Warrior Riverkeeper and countless allies, Drummond announces it is abandoning its Shepherd Bend Mine proposal.

July 7, 2015 Black Warrior Riverkeeper reaches a successful settlement in their Shannon Mine lawsuit. In addition to addressing the underlying violations which precipitated the lawsuit, Shannon will fund important conservation work on Valley Creek by the Freshwater Land Trust.

March 24, 2015 Federal court requires U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rectify its error on the impacts of a coal mining permit along the Black Warrior River.

November 19, 2014 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Southern Environmental Law Center release information showing that the long range plan for the Birmingham Region would allocate more than half of its available funding for transportation improvements to the Northern Beltline, and that completion of the Northern Beltline would take 75 years.

October 30, 2014 Black Warrior Riverkeeper becomes an official Conservation Partner of Orvis.

September 30, 2014 Black Warrior Riverkeeper reaches a successful settlement in their water pollution case against Alabama Utility Services, the operator of Donaldson Correctional Facility’s sewage treatment plant. Alabama Utility Services must invest in critical repairs and upgrades at the Donaldson plant while funding conservation work by Freshwater Land Trust in the Valley Creek watershed.

August 18, 2014 Representing all 99 of the city’s neighborhood associations, Birmingham’s Citizens Advisory Board unanimously passes a Resolution urging The University of Alabama System Trustees to stop the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine.

August 6, 2014 Team USA Kayaker Bennett Smith donates a Public Service Announcement for Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

July 23, 2014 ADEM announces a public hearing for Thursday, August 28 regarding the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine.

April 21, 2014 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Southern Environmental Law Center issue a press statement on the Northern Beltline groundbreaking: “As Construction Begins, Questions and Doubts Persist about $5.4-Billion Project.”

February 28, 2014 Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s effort to ensure clean, safe, drinkable and affordable drinking water for the Birmingham area gains major allies as three nationally recognized experts on this topic submit a joint letter in support of our Lands Unsuitable for Coal Mining appeal.

January 27, 2014 The Alabama Surface Mining Commission announces a public hearing for Thursday, February 20 on appeals of Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Lands Unsuitable for Coal Mining Petition.

November 25, 2013 The continued use of a controversial permit in the Black Warrior River basin by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fails to comply with federal requirements for surface mining, according to a lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center and Public Justice on behalf of Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Defenders of Wildlife.

October 28, 2013 The Alabama Surface Mining Commission announces their refusal to declare 40,300 acres of land adjacent to the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River as off limits to coal mining, missing an historic opportunity to protect the drinking water source for 200,000 residents in the greater Birmingham area.

October 25, 2013 The Southern Environmental Law Center files a federal lawsuit on behalf of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, challenging a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Northern Beltline’s first phase of construction. The lawsuit addresses the Corps of Engineers’ failure to follow requirements of the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

September 23, 2013 Supporting Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s position, The Student Government Association at the University of Alabama in Huntsville passes a Resolution urging the University of Alabama System Trustees to stop the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine.

April 24, 2013 Black Warrior Riverkeeper files a citizen lawsuit under the Clean Water Act and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act in U.S. District Court for 758 water pollution violations at the Shannon Mine. The surface coal mine, run by Shannon, LLC, operates in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties within the Upper Black Warrior River watershed.

April 17, 2013 The Proposed Shepherd Bend Mine, a threat to Birmingham-area drinking water, puts the Black Warrior River on American Rivers’ 2013 Most Endangered Rivers list thanks to Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s nomination. The University of Alabama System Trustees come under a national spotlight to stop the mine proposal.

April 10, 2013 Black Warrior Riverkeeper files citizen suit under the Clean Water Act in U.S. District Court for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit violations at Donaldson Correctional Facility’s wastewater treatment plant in west Jefferson County.

April 1, 2013 Supporting Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s position, UAB Public Health Students Association unanimously passes a resolution imploring the UA System to stop the Shepherd Bend Mine.

February 28, 2013 Supporting Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s position, UAB Graduate Student Association unanimously passes a resolution imploring the UA System to stop the Shepherd Bend Mine.

February 15, 2013 Black Warrior Riverkeeper celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act by creating a map showing the location of many wastewater treatment plants with permits to discharge treated sewage into the river and its tributaries.

January 16, 2013 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Southern Environmental Law Center ask the Metropolitan Planning Organization to remove the Northern Beltline from the proposed four-year funding plan because of the project’s ballooning price tag, questionable economic benefits, and harmful effects on the environment.

September 22, 2012 Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s 10th Anniversary Celebration at Good People Brewery in Birmingham!

September 10, 2012 Black Warrior Riverkeeper files a legal action petitioning the Alabama Surface Mining Commission (ASMC) to designate areas upstream of the Birmingham Water Works Board’s Mulberry Fork drinking water intake as lands unsuitable for surface coal mining. The petition opens another front in Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s ongoing fight to stop surface coal mining near the public water intake facility near Cordova that supplies water daily to 200,000 Birmingham-area residents.

September 4, 2012 Supporting Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s position, the Birmingham City Council passes a unanimous Resolution imploring the Alabama Surface Mining Commission (ASMC) to deny a permit for the Reed Mine No. 5.

June 6, 2012 Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s 10th Anniversary Celebration on the Bama Belle Riverboat in Tuscaloosa!

April 12, 2012 The Community Service Center at The University of Alabama names Black Warrior Riverkeeper intern Caitlin McClusky its Volunteer of the Year award winner. Caitlin is recognized at the awards ceremony for helping Black Warrior Riverkeeper and UA ECo oppose the Shepherd Bend Mine. In addition to Caitlin’s service, 214 volunteers generously donated 6,030 community service hours through Black Warrior Riverkeeper in 2011, a new record.

March 17, 2012 Jenn Patterson, Program Director for Black Warrior Riverkeeper, wins the Alabama Rivers Alliance’s James Lowery Service Award at the Alabama Water Rally.

March 1, 2012 At the historic Carver Theatre, Black Warrior Riverkeeper hosts the preview of “Deadly Deception II” by CBS 42. The commercial-free sequel to “Deadly Deception” continues CBS’ investigation of air, water, and soil pollution around North Birmingham. “Deadly Deception” subsequently wins the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s annual award for best local television program.

February 27, 2012 Supporting Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s position, the Student Government Association at the University of Alabama passes a unanimous Resolution imploring the University of Alabama to stop the Shepherd Bend Mine.

February 9, 2012 Supporting Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s position, the Student Government Association at UAB passes a unanimous Resolution imploring the University of Alabama to stop the Shepherd Bend Mine.

January 26, 2012 Supporting Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s position, Birmingham’s Avondale and Good People breweries simultaneously ask the University of Alabama to stop the Shepherd Bend Mine.

September 13, 2011 Waterkeeper organizations Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Hurricane Creekkeeper (Friends of Hurricane Creek) file a lawsuit against Black Warrior Minerals’ Fleetwood Mine for water pollution in Hurricane Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River.

September 2, 2011 Supporting Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s position, the NAACP Metro-Birmingham Chapter sends a letter to the University of Alabama opposing the Shepherd Bend Mine. 21 groups sign on to the letter, including Waterkeeper Alliance and all 7 of Alabama’s Waterkeeper organizations.

July 28, 2011 Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke’s aerial photos and water samples help numerous media outlets inform the public that Walter Energy’s North River Mine coal slurry spill polluted the North River and Lake Tuscaloosa.

May 17, 2011 Black Warrior Riverkeeper collaborates with the Alabama Rivers Alliance, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and the World Wildlife Fund in convincing American Rivers to include the Black Warrior River on its annual “Most Endangered Rivers” list. The listing brings national attention to current and potential coal mine pollution in the Black Warrior River watershed.

April 11, 2011 Represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, Black Warrior Riverkeeper files a lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Transportation for its flawed environmental study of the proposed Northern Beltline.

March 24, 2011 Represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Alabama Rivers Alliance, Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Cahaba River Society file a motion to intervene in a permit appeal by the Business Alliance for Responsible Development filed against the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The purpose of the groups’ intervention is to help defend the agency’s stormwater program for small cities.

March 15, 2011 Supporting Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s position, the Birmingham City Council passes a unanimous Resolution imploring the University of Alabama to stop the Shepherd Bend Mine.

July 9, 2010 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Birmingham Hide & Tallow for water pollution at Valley Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River near Bessemer.

June 23, 2010 Facing pressure and detailed permit comments from Black Warrior Riverkeeper, the Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee, and many concerned residents along Smith Lake, the Alabama Surface Mining Commission denies National Coal of Alabama a permit to mine coal at the proposed Brushy Pond Mine. John Kinney, Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Enforcement Coordinator, contributes a particularly useful history of National Coal’s astounding 9,758 Clean Water Act violations at its 7 Alabama mines.

April 22, 2010 On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Lewis Communications launches their 3-minute documentary about Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

March 1, 2010 Nelson Brooke, staff Riverkeeper at Black Warrior Riverkeeper since 2004, wins the Alabama Rivers Alliance’s 2010 River Hero Award.

February 16, 2010 The Birmingham Airport Authority fulfills the requirements of its pollution case with Black Warrior Riverkeeper, spending over $1.7 million implementing erosion controls and sediment controls at their runway extension construction site. As part of the settlement, the Airport donates $60,000 to the Freshwater Land Trust for conservation work along Village Creek.

December 29, 2009 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and several allied organizations sign on to the Alabama Rivers Alliances’ petition asking the EPA to revoke ADEM’s Clean Water Act permitting authority.

November 21, 2009 Black Warrior Riverkeeper joins the Protect Forever Wild Coalition, now known as Alabamians for Forever Wild. The coalition supports the reauthorization of Alabama’s Forever Wild Program.

November 20, 2009 Represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, Black Warrior Riverkeeper and The Friends of the Locust Fork River file a lawsuit challenging the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s issuance of a permit for the Rosa Coal Mine on the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork in Blount County.

April 20, 2009 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and The Friends of the Locust Fork nominate 3,200 acres of land along the Locust Fork in Blount County for consideration of protection by Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust. Forever Wild strongly considers protecting the land, but the Birmingham Water Works Board oddly chooses not to give Forever Wild a chance to bid.

December 22, 2008 Represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, Black Warrior Riverkeeper files a lawsuit challenging the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s issuance of a permit for the Shepherd Bend Mine, which would discharge coal mine pollutants out of twenty-nine ponds into the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River, one being within just 800 feet of an intake for one of Birmingham’s major sources of drinking water, serving 200,000 people water daily.

November 18, 2008 In Black Warrior Riverkeeper v. Cherokee Mining, LLC, the federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rules that a Clean Water Act citizen suit is not barred by a state administrative action commenced after a citizen group gives notice of its intent to sue to hold polluters accountable.

November 3, 2008 Black Warrior Riverkeeper wins four international PayPal fundraising contests on MySpace, the world’s most popular website at the time, for a total prize of $10,000. Volunteers David and Lauren Whiteside lead the charge.

November 1, 2008 The American Canoe Association names Black Warrior Riverkeeper its “Green Paddle Award” winner for 2008.

October 28, 2008 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and The Friends of the Locust Fork River settle their lawsuit with Metro Recycling. The tire landfill agrees to stop its pollution, obtain a proper discharge permit, and donate $7,500 to the Freshwater Land Trust for a fish study on the Locust Fork.

October 1, 2008 SweetWater Brewing Company launches its first annual month-long “Save the Black Warrior” campaign in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham to raise money and awareness for Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s efforts.

July 8, 2008 Representing Black Warrior Riverkeeper, attorney David Ludder files a pro-bono legal action regarding the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s dubious penalty payment agreements at the Hanceville Wastewater Treatment Plant. Water pollution at Hanceville WWTP had polluted Mud Creek, a tributary to the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork. Ludder’s action ensures greater statewide transparency in ADEM’s penalty payment scheduling.

May 30, 2008 Black Warrior Riverkeeper settles its lawsuit with Alabama Biodiesel. The company agrees to stop polluting, obtain a proper discharge permit, and donate $27,500 to the Freshwater Land Trust for the restoration of habitat for the vermilion darter, an endangered species found only in the Black Warrior River watershed.

May 12, 2008 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to the Pleasant Grove South Mine for water pollution at Lost Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork in Walker County.

September 5, 2007 The Alabama Rivers Alliance, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, the Friends of the Mulberry Fork, Wild South, and individual citizens file a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit for a dam on the Duck River, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork near Cullman.

August 30, 2007 Black Warrior Riverkeeper and The Friends of the Locust Fork River file a lawsuit against Metro Recycling‘s tire landfill for unpermitted water pollution discharges, including carcinogens, into an unnamed tributary of White’s Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork near the town of Locust Fork.

August 30, 2007 Black Warrior Riverkeeper files a lawsuit against Alabama Biodiesel for unpermitted oil and grease discharges into Carthage Branch, a tributary of the Black Warrior River, right next to Moundville Archaeological Park. The New York Times covers the story, the first water pollution case against a biofuel facility in the U.S.

August 25, 2007 Alabama Environmental Council names Black Warrior Riverkeeper their “Conservation Organization of the Year” for 2007.

June 4, 2007 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Elk Corporation for water pollution in the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa.

June 1, 2007 Black Warrior Riverkeeper launches its new website through the support of Baird Castleberry of New Merkel Consulting Group.

May 30, 2007 Black Warrior Riverkeeper alerts the public about problems with Jasper and Birmingham’s drinking water supplies due to excessive bromide discharges by Umicore Specialty Chemicals in Arab. The Birmingham Water Works Board had to shut down their Mulberry Fork water intake at Shepherd Bend for months due to Umicore’s upstream pollution.

May 16, 2007 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Quinton [coal] Mine for water pollution in Burnt Cane Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork near Dora.

May 1, 2007 Alabama’s Higher Ground Roasters launches a new coffee blend called Black Warrior Riverkeeper Roast. Black Riverkeeper receives 10% of the sales of this blend, which is certified organic, fair-trade, and shade grown to preserve habitat. Higher Ground Roasters soon wins National Micro-Roaster of the Year.

April 3, 2007 Black Warrior Riverkeeper files a lawsuit against the Birmingham Airport Authority for water pollution in Village Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork.

October 26, 2006 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to the Arab Sewer Board for sewage pollution in Riley Maze Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork.

May 19, 2006 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Brookside Village Wastewater Treatment Plant for sewage pollution in Newfound Creek, a tributary of Five Mile Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork.

March 31, 2006 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Blountsville HCR Lagoon for sewage pollution in Blue Springs Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork.

March 24, 2006 Alabama Rivers Alliance names Black Warrior Riverkeeper their “Watershed Group of the Year” for 2006.

February 9, 2006 Filmmaker Arthur Crenshaw hosts the premiere of his Village Creek documentary, produced by David Whiteside. In the film, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Lorraine Bracco, Robert Klein and several local experts discuss pollution issues in this tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork. Village Creek was an early source of drinking water for Birmingham, but became too polluted for that use.

December 22, 2005 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Moundville Lagoon for sewage pollution in the Black Warrior River, right next to Moundville Archaeological Park and the local public boat launch.

August 27, 2005 Charles Scribner publishes Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s first newsletter. To read all past issues, visit the newsletter archives.

August 15, 2005 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to East Walker County Sewer Authority for sewage pollution in the Black Warrior River’s Mulberry Fork near Sumiton. Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s similar legal action against the Cordova Wastewater Treatment Plant follows shortly thereafter.

April 3, 2005 Black Warrior Riverkeeper hosts its second major fundraiser event, with speeches by Jon Fishman, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Robert Klein, and David Whiteside. The televised event takes place at the University of Vermont, where Whiteside focused his senior thesis on founding Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

November 10, 2004 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to the Alabama Department of Corrections’ Donaldson Correctional Facility for discharging raw sewage for over eight years into Big Branch, a tributary of Valley Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Bankhead Lake in West Jefferson County. Our action prompts the Alabama Attorney General to file suit in state court on January 7, 2005, an action which pre-empted our ability to file suit in federal court. On February 11, 2005, Black Warrior Riverkeeper intervened in the AG’s suit, ensuring a seat at the table to hold Donaldson accountable. The state unfortunately utilized sovereign immunity and never fined the DOC. However, numerous upgrades at the treatment plant were required and installed, including a 100,000 gallon surge basin to keep raw sewage from flowing into Big Branch.

August 4, 2004 Black Warrior Riverkeeper sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Vulcan Materials’ Bessemer Quarry for water pollution in Fivemile Creek, a tributary of Valley Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River.

February 17, 2004 Black Warrior Riverkeeper hosts its first major fundraiser, an opening night cast party organized around Lorraine Bracco starring in the Broadway play, “The Graduate.” Bracco subsequently makes a Black Warrior Riverkeeper public service announcement with Arthur Crenshaw, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Robert Klein, and David Whiteside.

September 16, 2003 The IRS approves Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, officially making Black Warrior Riverkeeper a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Bookkeeper Kerri Nichols annually assists our executive director and accountant in preparing reports for the IRS and other agencies.

May 7, 2003 The Birmingham News announces the Sloss lawsuit’s historic settlement. Sloss agrees to pay $2,000,000, including property donations along Five Mile Creek. A local land conservation organization (now known as the Freshwater Land Trust) receives the settlement payment.

September 30, 2002 Black Warrior Riverkeeper files its first lawsuit (in partnership with the Alabama Rivers Alliance and the Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation), suing Sloss Industries Corporation for industrial water pollution in File Mile Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork in Birmingham.

April 4, 2002 Roger Conville signs Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Articles of Incorporation, maintained by our Board of Directors. Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s executive director subsequently renews a business license with the City of Birmingham each year.

September 25, 2001 Waterkeeper Alliance approves Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s application by David Whiteside. Black Warrior Riverkeeper becomes the world’s 72nd Waterkeeper organization.

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