Making a difference can seem like a monumental task these days



Dear Friends:

Making a difference can seem like a monumental task these days.  Whether it is protecting clean water, saving endangered species, or ensuring our communities are ready to face the challenges of climate change, it often feels like there is a crisis on every front.  I want to assure you that your support of the Alabama Rivers Alliance, and other hardworking nonprofits that you support, is making a real difference!

It reminds me of that saying, “sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees”.  There are some days when I feel that way with this work. Each day seems to bring a new challenge to overcome to protect our rivers across Alabama.

But that’s when I take a moment, step back, and really look at what we have accomplished as a movement to protect Alabama’s rivers and waterways over the years.  I look at all the faces of the incredibly dedicated volunteers and staff members of our organization and our partners’ organizations. That is when I can see the difference we are all making with your support.

Please donate to the Alabama Rivers Alliance to support

strong champions for clean water all across the state!

Photo by Patrick Thomas, ABC 3340

Before Thanksgiving, I attended a public hearing for Tyson’s water pollution permit renewal on the Locust Fork River.  Due to the leadership of the local activists from the Friends of the Locust River, this hearing was standing-room only!  From local landowners, to scientists, to paddlers from across the state – more than 300 people attended to have their voices heard and to call for better protection of this special river!

This night was a shining example of how our Alliance works.  Collaborating together — from the local community level to the watershed level and up to the state level — it takes an army of champions to protect 132,000 miles of rivers and streams and we are so fortunate to have that in Alabama!

From leading on advocating for proactive protections for our rivers and streams to partnering with communities to address pollution problems that are crucial to the health of all Alabamians, you are making a difference when you support the Alabama Rivers Alliance!

Here are some of the ways your support is having an impact:


The More You Know!

Fish Guide
Photo by Kyle Crider

Alabama has one of the highest rates of subsistence fishing in the country. Each year, the Alabama Department of Public Health issues Fish Consumption Advisories for waterbodies across the state. The 2019 Fish Consumption Advisories reported that nearly 2/3 of the locations the state has tested have some type of health advisory warning the public to limit its consumption. As fate would have it, the largemouth bass—the State Freshwater Fishconstituted more than 50% of all the health advisories. In partnership with Coosa Riverkeeper and others, the Alabama Rivers Alliance has been working with state agencies and legislators to improve public notification of these health advisories.

Your support helps improve information for

fishermen and their families to protect their health!


What’s In Your Water?

Alabama seemingly has “water, water” everywhere, but is it safe for us to drink? For some of us it is, for some of us it may not be, but for most of us we simply don’t know.  Thanks to the Hugh Kaul Foundation and some individual donors, the Alabama Rivers Alliance conducted research over the past year to better understand what Alabamians understand about drinking water.  We focused the research on our individual members, primarily, via an online survey.  We found surprising results:

  • 25% don’t know where their drinking water comes from
  • 50% do not understand or do not receive a consumer confidence report from their utility
  • 40% have never heard of the Safe Drinking Water Act; 36% have heard of it, but do not who is responsible for implementing it
  • 55% worry about the future reliability of their drinking water
  • 63% worry about the quality of their drinking water
  • only 27% report a positive relationship with their water utility

There are currently 503 drinking water utilities in Alabama and 72% of the population of the state receives their drinking water from surface water (that’s rivers, bays, reservoirs).  The Alabama Rivers Alliance is working to compile and disseminate factual information in a user friendly format.  Our goal is to help all Alabamians better understand where drinking water comes from, what may be threatening it, and how to do something about it.

Your support helps us better inform Alabamians about their drinking water!



Keep Little River Wild!

Photo by Remi Escudie for Southern Exposure

In 2019, in partnership with Little River Waterkeeper, we launched an exciting campaign to protect one of Alabama’s most pristine rivers, the Little River in Northeast Alabama.  The campaign seeks to designate the Little River as a national Wild & Scenic River — forever ensuring that the river will be there in its clean and free flowing condition for many generations to come.  Since the launch of our campaign in September, we have obtained more than 600 signatures from Alabama citizens supporting this effort!  Please join the campaign, sign our petition, and watch our Southern Exposure film exploring the designation, at

Your support helps us achieve long-term protections for Alabama’s rivers!

Dammed When They Do!

Large hydropower dams are one of the most harmful impediments to water quality and quantity in Alabama. They have been known to cause problems with fishery health, wildlife habitat, water quality and oxygen levels, and streambank erosion. The Alabama Rivers Alliance is a leader in representing environmental concerns on the Coosa River and the Tallapoosa River hydropower relicensing projects.  Our goal is to advocate for improved dam operations to protect water quality and fish passage both upstream and downstream.

Your support is helping to ensure no more aquatic species

are lost to extinction because of large dams in Alabama!


We are Stronger Together!

Photo by Your Hurricane Creekkeeper, John Wathen

With a network of more than 60 organizations across the state, collaborating around common issues and in common regions is an effective way to protect clean water for all.  Thanks to support from business partners at REI in Huntsville and Red Clay Brewery in Opelika, the Alabama Rivers Alliance is convening groups in the Huntsville (Tennessee Watershed) and Auburn/Opelika (Tallapoosa Watershed) areas on a quarterly basis to discuss conservation efforts and priorities for those areas where there are fewer staffed environmental organizations, but plenty of beautiful rivers to protect!

We are working to connect and support the grassroots groups and keep them engaged in statewide water policy efforts, as well as explore priorities and projects that will protect clean water and a healthy environment in these rapidly growing regions of our state.

Your support helps us foster effective collaborations for clean water across the state!



Our Southern Exposure Film Fellowship program combines all the strengths of the Alabama Rivers Alliance into the most successful program in our 22 year history.  In collaboration with partners and communities across the state, we are creating nationally recognized and award-winning films that beautifully tell the story of Alabama’s rivers, ecosystems, and communities and the awe-inspiring people that rely on them and stand up for them every single day!  Learn more and watch the 2019 films at


Your support helps us tell Alabama’s stories and inspire

every Alabamian to get involved in protecting our environment!


Are we making a difference?


Is your support having an impact?


Do we have a water plan to protect Alabama’s 132,000 miles of rivers and streams yet?


Do we have a government that is doing all they can to protect clean water and plan for our water future?


Do we have more to do?


Can we do it?

YES! YES! YES! …but only with your continued support!

As we come to the close of 2019, please think about the importance of clean water in every aspect of your life and give as generously as you can to our work to protect it. The challenges are great – but the champions working to protect our rivers are greater.

Water is Life,



Cindy Lowry