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Rotary Club of Birm­ing­ham Hon­ored as Water Con­ser­va­tion­ist of the Year by AWF

The cel­e­bra­tion of the Governor’s Con­ser­va­tion Achieve­ment Awards continues!

While the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust brought home the AWF Con­ser­va­tion Orga­ni­za­tion of the Year Award, the Rotary Club of Birm­ing­ham was also hon­ored as Water Con­ser­va­tion­ist of the Year Award for their out­stand­ing efforts with the Rotary Trail and the numer­ous water qual­ity ben­e­fits asso­ci­ated with this trans­for­ma­tional project.

To cel­e­brate its 100th anniver­sary, the Rotary Club of Birm­ing­ham part­nered with the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust to build Rotary Trail – a 4 block lin­ear park in the old his­tor­i­cal rail­road cut between north and south Birm­ing­ham in the mid­dle of the city, con­nect­ing Rail­road Park to Sloss Fur­naces and expand­ing the Red Rock Ridge and Val­ley Trail Sys­tem. The Rotary Club wanted a project that would ben­e­fit our community’s health, improve the nat­ural envi­ron­ment, encour­age devel­op­ment and pro­vide edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties to area chil­dren. The Rotary Trail addresses each of these goals and will be a last­ing gift to the City of Birm­ing­ham forever.

Birm­ing­ham Rotary mem­bers raised over $3.5 mil­lion for the project and have now part­nered with the City of Birm­ing­ham for its con­struc­tion and future main­te­nance. This public/private part­ner­ship will not only sup­port out­door fam­ily recre­ation, but also improve our community’s water qual­ity through an appro­pri­ate storm water drainage system.

The his­toric “cut” is an aban­doned rail line that is 16 ft below street level plagued by crumb­ing con­crete and graf­fiti. Although mostly hid­den from view, this site was a for­got­ten part of Birm­ing­ham, rel­a­tively unknown to most observers. The cen­tury old “cut” only served as a water waste land, drain­ing non­point source pol­lu­tion from the streets of Birm­ing­ham directly into Val­ley Creek.

The trail’s new design raises the grade of the cut to approx­i­mately 6 feet. The new trail, along with the green veg­e­ta­tion located along its cor­ri­dor, will now allow for the fil­tra­tion of sed­i­ment, oil, pol­lu­tion and other storm water runoff before it flows into Val­ley Creek and even­tu­ally into one of our pri­mary drink­ing water sources, the Black War­rior River. The new Rotary Trail is help­ing to make one of the largest pos­i­tive impacts on our community’s water qual­ity in recent history.

To cel­e­brate our part­ners bring­ing home these two awards, FWLT Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Wendy Jack­son and Cheryl Mor­gan were asked to speak to the Rotary Club the fol­low­ing week. Gov­er­nor Bent­ley was in atten­dance as well as Attor­ney Gen­eral Luther Strange, while Wendy and Cheryl dis­cussed the Rotary Trail project and their recent hon­ors at the Governor’s Con­ser­va­tion Achieve­ment Awards.

We’re proud to share this suc­cess story with the Rotary Club of Birm­ing­ham and all our part­ners and sup­port­ers who are help­ing bring the Rotary Trail to Birmingham!

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