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2 of Alabama’s Rivers among most endangered

The Coosa and Mobile rivers are on the endangered list. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 4:12 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Two of Alabama’s rivers are ranked among the top 5 most endangered rivers in the country. The Mobile River is ranked second due to coal ash contamination, and the Coosa River is ranked fifth because of agricultural pollution.

This Earth Day, river keepers say people also need to be aware of the pollution that could threaten our food and drinking water.

“The Coosa River of the anglers we interviewed which was over 400 about 477 to be exact,” said Victoria Miller, a Fish Guide Coordinator for the Coosa Riverkeeper. “About 65% of those anglers are out there eating fish at least some of the time.”

“Our status as the fifth most endangered river is really pointing towards the pollution coming from industrial agriculture,” said Justinn Overton, a riverkeeper and executive director for the Coosa Riverkeeper.

Overton says this pollution includes mercury which also affects the fish in the water who live and could be consumed. With help from the state, fish advisory signs were put up at public boat ramps in order for people to be more aware of what they consume.

“I think of the fish advisories are more like the toxicity sort of public health angle,” said Overton. “And the endangered river status is really about nutrients and like harmful algal blooms, which also affect fish.”

But even if you don’t fish, there are other ways to be aware of the waters.

“If you see something that’s fishy, or if you see a pipe that the water coming out, looks discolored, or if you smell anything sewage like. Report that to your local waterkeeper, and you can report that anonymously,” said Overton.

Overton says at the end of the day the best way to protect and celebrate the state’s rivers is by getting outside and spending a moment by the water.

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