River Voice – February

I came to life in the cool winds and crystal clear waters of the mountains – John Muir

Hey all, happy February! The soaking rains have surely kept Little River churning! Riverbanks and waterfalls swelled between 1000 and 10,000 cubic feet per second (6’-9’ feet), during the months of December and January. This trend should continue throughout February and March and is an incredible opportunity for experienced whitewater boaters. Whitewater kayakers sometimes travel hundreds of miles to paddle here. THIS is what Little River is known for! The Canyon put Little River on the map. Because of Little River Canyon National Preserve and DeSoto State Park, we have been able to create better access for users, not only for whitewater boaters but for flatwater boaters as well. If you haven’t been on Little River in a kayak or canoe, check out our calendar. We have several opportunities for you to experience Lookout Mountain from the water. Little River is the life blood of this community and is for everyone.

The fact that Little River and Lookout Mountain are the areas greatest natural assets, along with the honor of living in such a prestigious location it is also our biggest priority to protect the ecological services the river provides. Native plants along the riverbank prevent erosion and provide wildlife refuge throughout the river corridor. By keeping the riverbank intact with native plant species such as Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel and Bearded Iris, you are helping maintain the health and integrity of the river for years to come. As stewards of the water, we do not recommend the use of herbicide because of the negative impact on water quality. Most herbicides are not water soluble and are a detriment to the wildlife that depend on the area for their habitat. Dekalb County Master Gardeners and Rhododendron Garden Club are happy to give tips about native landscaping.

This time of year, Little River Waterkeeper kicks off our annual anti-litter campaign, Erase the Waste. From January – April, we target areas around Little River and our drinking water reservoir in Fort Payne in order to prevent litter from entering our local waterways. This effort is to increase awareness around proper waste management in the community and encourage no littering and recycling. On MLK Day of Service, with the help of loyal volunteers who braved the bitter windchill of 10 degrees and gusts up to 30 mph, we cleaned up the West Fork of Little River above Desoto Falls. We also cleaned up County Road 85, a major thoroughfare between Sand Mountain and Fort Payne and runs along spring fed Smith Branch a tributary to Wills Creek. Over 40 bags of litter were removed within 2 miles. People, we have a problem. On February 15th we will get out on Lake Lahusage and March 21 will be the Fort Payne Reservoir Cleanup. Interested in helping? Contact Angie Shugart at 256-634-8370 or by email at angie@oneworldadventureco.org

Join the Little River Waterkeeper Movement
Becoming a member of Little River Waterkeeper comes with a number of benefits, such as the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping protect our clean water future. But it’s also more than a typical membership. We rely on our members to protect our ability to protect your right to clean water. Our members and their love of Little River, help us advocate for drinkable, swimmable, and fishable waters. Individual membership is $25 and business membership is $50. You can make your payment by going to PayPal.com/Little River Waterkeeper or mail a check with “membership” in the memo to Little River Waterkeeper 215 Grand Ave. SW. Ste. A Fort Payne, AL 35967

Fall in Love with Fun Little River Facts

The most popular section of Little River is the area that flows through Little River Canyon and is 27 miles long. The area around Little River includes major forks and tributaries and encompasses over 200 square miles.

Major Tributaries to Little River are the East Fork, West, Fork, Middle Fork, Laurel Creek, Armstrong Branch, Straight Creek, Hurricane Creek, Bear Creek, Johnnies Creek and Yellow Creek. Any impact on these tributaries could potentially impact flow and quality in Little River.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management designated Little River as an Outstanding National Resource Water in 1991, because of its outstanding use classification that includes Public Water Supply, Swimming and Fish & Wildlife.

Little River is home to 13 threatened, endangered or rare and protected plant and animal species. The Green Pitcher Plant, Kral’s Water Plantain and Harperella are federally listed endangered plants and the Blue Shiner fish, Gray Bat and the Rafinesque’s Big Eared Bat are animal species that carry state protection.

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Angie Shugart