Beth K. Stewart
Cahaba River Society is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Cahaba River watershed and its rich diversity of life.We are an educator, expert resource, and collaborative partner for science-based and practical solutions.
We impact our central Alabama watershed, the Birmingham metro area, and policy at the state, regional, and national level. Our programs achieve three goals:1. Inspire River Stewardship2. Restore the River3. Build Our Impact
The Cahaba River Society is recognized nationally as a leader in river stewardship. In addition to our Water-Smart Growth program and CLEAN Environmental Education program, we work to improve local, state and federal water quality protections; restore freshwater habitat; and promote recreation, greenways and economic growth from tourism.
Our approach is based on sound science and practical methodologies that produce impactful and sustainable results. We build partnerships bridging government, business, environmental, and civic interests to work towards collaborative solutions. Cahaba River Society employs a full range of strategies: education, collaboration, policy advocacy, and, only three (3) times in our 30 year history, legal action when absolutely necessary.
Because of Cahaba River Society, our region is becoming better prepared for growth that can sustain our water resources. Cahaba River Society helped bring water sustainability into the region’s green building movement, working since the mid-90’s to improve state and local stormwater regulation and implementation.
We have influenced improved stormwater codes in upper Cahaba cities, supported Birmingham to develop a Model Green Infrastructure Code, trained 1,600 development professionals in better stormwater design, collaborated on development projects that prove the feasibility of river-protective design, and aided ALDOT to improve stormwater design of highways in our region and statewide.
We’ve connected 37,000 students and teachers with the Cahaba since 1996 and helped launch the Cahaba Blueway water trail. Within the Collaborative Environmental Network of Alabama, Cahaba River Society has co-led collaboration training among unlikely partners from business, industry, environment, faith and utilities.
Additional highlights of our major accomplishments include bringing water sustainability into the region’s green building movement, working since the mid-90’s to improve state and local stormwater regulation and implementation, and supporting many partners to remove the Marvel slab and restore Cahaba freshwater wildlife habitat.
We have also ended crisis-level raw sewage dumping throughout the Birmingham area through a Clean Water Act lawsuit in concert with U.S. EPA, created a Supplemental Environmental Project that secured $30 million to acquire stream buffers in Jefferson County and established the regional Freshwater Land Trust, and ended chicken waste dumping in the Cahaba.
Cahaba River Society has also secured upgrades to statewide and Cahaba water use designations and protections; and inspired local, state, national and international recognition, and support for the Cahaba’s very special human and ecological values.