Cahaba River Society launches largest Cahaba Cleanup ever - Cahaba River Society

Over 150 volunteers will work in teams to clean up to 50 river miles from Trussville to Helena

CONTACT:  Katie Shaddix, 205-322-5326 x 418, [email protected]

BIRMINGHAM, AL. On June 8, Cahaba River Society will launch the largest Cahaba Cleanup ever. The Big Cahaba Cleanup, sponsored by Alabama Outdoors, will clean up to 50 miles of the Cahaba River in stretches from Trussville to Helena, as water levels allow. Over 150 volunteers will work in teams, both in canoes and on foot, scouring trash from the river that provides drinking water to the Greater Birmingham area.“Since our beginning 30 years ago, Cahaba River Society has led teams of volunteers in cleaning trash from the River,” says Executive Director Beth Stewart.

“The goal of the Big Cahaba Cleanup is to condense and amplify these efforts into a one-day event that will both clean the River and bring awareness to the problem of litter in one of our most valuable natural resources.”

The Cahaba River is a main drinking water source for the Birmingham Water Works Board, which serves about one-fifth of Alabama residents. It is also a treasure trove of natural wonders, with more species of fish per mile than any other river in North America. Considered nationally and globally significant for freshwater biodiversity, it is a magnet for ecotourism, drawing visitors from around the globe to marvel at its natural wonders, such as the renowned Cahaba Lily.

However, the Cahaba is also one of the most threatened waterways in the US. Flowing through the heart of Alabama, the River passes through its most populated and developed areas, leaving it vulnerable to impacts from pollution.

“Plastic bags hanging from trees along the Cahaba River are our Spanish moss,” Stewart states. “But unlike the beauty of the natural landscape, trash signals a dirty river and discourages tourists, anglers, birders, boaters – the visitors to a healthy river that can bring economic gains to its communities. Plus, this trash breaks down and adds to the toxins in our drinking water and our environment.”

The Cahaba River Society wants to let citizens know how they can help solve this problem.

“The vast majority of litter in the river starts on land,” says Education Director Gordon Black.

“Wind and rain carry everything left in our yards, roadways, and parking lots into storm drains and ditches, where it washes straight into the river. When we reduce the amount of trash that we create by doing simple things like bringing reusable bags to the store or drinking from reusable bottles instead of disposable ones, we have a direct impact on the health of our environment.”

“The most important message that we want people to know, is simple,” Black states. “Don’t litter, it ends up in your River.”

In conjunction with the Big Cahaba Cleanup, Cahaba River Society is releasing a series of short videos to help spread the word about how trash ends up in the Cahaba.


To learn more about the cleanup, donate to the effort, or sign up to volunteer, go to To join or support Cahaba River Society, visit

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About the Cahaba River Society
The Cahaba River Society works to restore and protect the Cahaba River watershed and its rich diversity of life.  Cahaba River Society is an educator, expert resource, and collaborative partner for science-based and practical solutions. 

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