September is shaping up to be an exciting month for FLT. This month holds in store a couple of cleanups, a staff anniversary and birthday, and our 14th annual Land Aid fundraising concert which comes on perhaps one of the most welcome days of the year- the first day of fall.
In addition, FLT is happy to be hosting one of our favorite events of the year at the end of this month: the Endangered Species Tour (EST) returns on Friday, September 29th! This event was first held in 2018 to highlight three very small, very special fish that call Jefferson County home—the Rush, Watercress, and Vermilion darters. These tiny freshwater fish are all federally listed and exist solely in a select few Jefferson County spring runs.
The EST offers participants a chance to see these fish up close at five sites scattered throughout Birmingham and Pinson. The sites on the Tour illustrate examples of ideal darter habitat as well as some more surprising locations. For example, one stop on the EST has the guests gather in a grassy patch between a parking lot and Highway 79. This year, FLT is adding a new site to the schedule; Turkey Creek CU1 is one of FLT’s conservation properties where we undertook a streambank stabilization project last year. Information about the restoration and how it benefits the darters will be presented by the lead engineer of the project, Zack Wilbanks of Wilbanks Engineering and Environmental Solutions.
We are thrilled to once again have the inimitable Dr. Bernie Kuhajda, Aquatic Conservation Biologist with the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute joining us to safely seine (net) for the fish along with Jeffrey Drummond, long-time friend of FLT and Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Also joining us as presenters are representatives from several partner organizations and groups we work with regularly, including Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Alabama Power Company.
Interested in spending a day with the darters? Join us on September 29th! It’s free to attend, but registration is required. Transportation and lunch, provided by our friends at the Alabama Forestry Foundation, is included with registration, and our lovely lunch setting comes courtesy of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.
We hope you’ll visit Jefferson County’s darters with us this September at EST 2023!
Register for free here: https://form.jotform.com/FreshwaterLT/2023-endangered-species-tour