Thursday, July 27, 2006

State Receives Endangered Species Grants

In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it is distributing $1.4 million in grants to private landowners and organizations throughout the Southeast to benefit endangered species.

In Alabama, the Nature Conservancy has secured $190,000 to work with landowners in the upper Paint Rock River watershed to enhance approximately 1000 feet of riparian habitat to benefit imperiled fish and mussel species. Along with the Paint Rock, groups in Mississippi and Alabama have also joined forces to secure a $160,000 grant restore and enhance over 750 acres of native prairie habitat.

For more information about these projects and Fish and Wildlife's programs, contact Tom MacKenzie at 404-679-7291.

Groups Settle Lawsuit Protecting Drinking Water In Mobile

According to "Bay Waves" the newsletter for the Mobile Baykeeper, the Alabama Rivers Alliance and Mobile Baykeeper recently settled a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration ensuring both drinking water protection and the building of the new Highway 98. The new highway will be built near the Big Creek Lake the primary drinking water supply for 250,000 Mobile and Baldwin County residents.

As a result of the settlement, DOT will conduct additional studies addressing the project's secondary and cumulative impacts and the impact growth will have on the region's drinking water. The studies and the settlement included regulations designed to protect the areas drinking water. For more information on this important settlement contact Mobile Baykeeper at 251-433-4BAY.

Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge Expansion Proposed

Rep. Spencer Bachus of Vestavia Hills has proposed doubling the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge from 3,414 acres to approximately 7,400 acres.

The Cahaba River is home to 69 rare and imperiled aquatic species, and 131 fish species, which is more than any river its size in North America. Despite opposition from the U. S Fish and Wildlife Service against the expansion, Bachus has picked up bipartisan support from Republican chairman of the subcommittee of fisheries, conservation, wildlife and oceans, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland and his Democratic counterpart Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey. The refuge is expected to increase an additional 400 aces by the end of this year, resulting from a recent $544,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Huntsville Earns Top 10 Green City Recognition

Last month, before Earth Day, the city of Huntsville was recognized by a national publication as one of this country's top 10 "Green Cities" with a population over 100,000 residents.

The Green Guide, a publication based in New York City is billed as the "go to source" for information about earth friendly living. The publication placed Huntsville in the top 10 for doing the best job providing clean, healthy, energy efficient living. The city is the only representative from the South in the top listing. Cities were awarded points for air, and water quality, electricity use, and production, the importance of environmental concerns to local residents, efforts to improve the environment, green buildings design, green space, recycling, public health and socioeconomic factors.

To check out the ranking/report go to or

Birmingham Metro Area Meets Ozone Standard

After a 28 year battle, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled last month that Jefferson and Shelby counties are meeting the health and environmental standards for ozone air pollution. Ozone causes lung damage and asthma attacks, and has been linked to premature deaths.

The "attainment" status was achieved as a result of a successful community wide collaborative effort that ranged from volunteer community programs to stricter environmental regulations and significant investments in pollution reduction/prevention technology at area power plants. Now that the area meets the ozone standard, local governments, environmental and health groups and businesses are now turning their focus on bringing the area into compliance of the federal "fine particles" standard.

For more information about air pollution and what you can do to continue helping the region make progress on clean air, visit the Alabama Partners for Clean Air website.