Movement Building

Current Status:  In 2023, the Alabama Rivers Alliance completed a new five-year strategic plan. One of the major components laid out in this plan is to focus on broadening and diversifying our river protection movement in Alabama. Throughout the coming years, we will be working to identify and engage with communities across Alabama who have not historically been part of our river movement, specifically communities of color and low-wealth communities that are suffering disproportionately from environmental pollution and the impacts of climate change.

The Alabama Rivers Alliance founders recognized that to protect Alabama’s 132,000 miles of rivers and streams, we must have a strong, engaged statewide movement working at the community level, at the river basin level, and at the state level.  Our work has always centered around ensuring that this movement is supported and strengthened for the continued work ahead. We do this work in various ways, including:

  • Helping your community organize a group to protect your local waterway and to address other water related issues in your community
  • Assisting existing groups with organization development challenges, such as strategic planning, issue campaign planning, board development and fundraising planning
  • Facilitating community conversations by region and/or watershed to foster collaboration among organizations and individuals in a certain area of the state toward a stronger collective voice for water.

Some examples of this work include:


The Alabama River system is arguably the heart of our state’s river systems. Before it was altered by dams, it was the ecological aquatic connector of the Tallapoosa, the Coosa and the Cahaba to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a prominent feature in our state’s capital city of Montgomery as it runs its course.  Surprisingly, we had struggled to find interest in forming and sustaining a local partner group to protect this important river system, but in 2023, we were thrilled to help facilitate the beginning of the Friends of the Alabama River group based in Montgomery. This start-up group is working to build support and volunteers through various activities and we continue to support them in whatever way we can. Learn more about them by clicking here.


The Tallapoosa River Watershed is an area where we have active work and many members and dedicated all-volunteer partner groups, such as Save Our Saugahatchee and Lake Watch of Lake Martin as well as a new start up group trying to get off the ground, Friends of the Tallapoosa River. With this level of interest, it is the perfect opportunity to build collaboration and strategies that impact the entire watershed while supporting and strengthening existing partner organizations. We are facilitating meetings and discussions with members and partners in the area as we continue to explore the needs of this beautiful and important river system and the communities that rely on it.


Huntsville is now the largest populated city in Alabama. This growing area of the state has many dedicated all-volunteer environmental groups, but only a couple of groups that have staff and resources. In an effort to help galvanize a larger collective voice for water and the environment in the Huntsville area, ARA founded this coalition of environmental partners and interested individuals back in 2019. Since then, we have facilitated the meetings and supported communications. This dedicated group spearheaded an effort to get Huntsville City leaders to embrace sustainability across all city departments. As a result of their efforts this year, Mayor Tommy Battle released his Huntsville Sustainability Report that calls for the creation of a citizen-led Sustainability Commission to advise the city on implementing the plan. The Coalition is working toward becoming a 501(c)(3) organization and continuing to develop exciting plans for their community.