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Example of a watershed in northern Alabama

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Alabama’s rich water resources range from rushing mountain streams to the relaxing, sugar sand beaches of the coast. It is not always clear, however, what the connection is between our everyday tasks and the quality of our water. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, in making an effort to better connect members of local communities with their water resources, presents the Alabama Watershed Stewards (AWS) workshop series.

Auburn University’s Water Resource Center, in connection with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the Alabama Water Watch and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is working to provide water resources across the state. AWS, an educational science-based program, promotes healthy watersheds, increases understanding of water pollution and provides the knowledge and tools necessary to prevent and resolve local water quality issues.

Alabama Watershed Stewards

A watershed is an area of land through which rainwater drains by flowing across, through or under the surface of the soil to a common low point. These low points are typically lakes, oceans, rivers or streams. Eve Brantley, an Alabama Extension water quality specialist, said all are welcome to participate in watershed stewardship.

“All of us live in a watershed and depend on it for valuable resources,” Brantley said. “Everyday activities influence the health of watersheds, so everyone has the power to make a difference. Protecting Alabama’s abundant resources can be done by all of us through acts of conserving water, reducing erosion and pollution.”

Upcoming Workshops

The AWS workshops kick off in Birmingham Thursday, March 5 at the Birmingham Business Alliance: Financial Center Building from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost to attend the workshop is $25. Registration is done online on the Auburn University website.

Other AWS workshop location include:

  • Enterprise, March 19
  • Hartselle, April 16
  • Spanish Fort, June 5

Registration and information for these workshops is also available through the Auburn University website.

Workshop Topics

AWS workshops cover a variety of information about water quality. These topics provide participants with necessary tools to engage in improvement of water quality in their region.

“Have you ever wondered what a storm drain has to do with the water that you swim in, or how healthy your local waters are?,” Brantley said. “You might even have wondered what can be done to protect and improve your water sources.”

At these workshops, individuals will learn how to make a conscious effort to conserve and preserve Alabama’s natural resources. Topics will include:

  • evaluating the health of waterways
  • how land use impacts ecological health
  • uses and management of water in Alabama
  • where to find resources to help you make a difference in your community
  • specific steps you can take to improve water quality

“To begin working to reduce pollution and protect out waterways is important so we can continue to have an abundance of clean water,” she said. “This is important for so many things, including clean water for drinking, creeks and lakes that support swimming and recreation and provide habitat for wildlife.”

More Information

This year, the AWS program will also include supplemental, on the ground workshops that will dive into specific topics. These workshops will focus on topics such as rainwater harvesting, backyard steam repair, how to design a rain garden and how to organize litter pickups. Watch for more information about these workshops on the Alabama Extension website.

Find more information about the Alabama Watershed Steward workshops by visiting the event page at www.aces.edu.

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