River Voice – April

A true conservationist is a person who knows the world is not given by their fathers but borrowed from their children. – John James Audubon

With the arrival of Spring comes the desire to put our hands in the dirt and plant beautiful gardens. And so it’s appropriate for us to talk in this article about one of the goals of the Little River Waterkeeper organization, which is to prevent degradation in Little River and its tributaries. The most severe form of pollution in Little River watershed happens in the form of run-off. Spring and Winter rains bring torrents of water that carry loose soil into the river.

LRWK is proactively educating the community about the sensitive ecosystem and want to encourage landowners to help us protect and improve water quality. It can easily be accomplished by simply maintaining a healthy riverbank with native plants. Areas within the Little River Watershed are being developed at a high rate and we hope our appeal will convince landowners along the river to keep native, riparian vegetation intact, since it is an integral part of the local ecology. Native plants provide natural ecological services such as food and habitat for animals. Plant roots filter nutrients, sediments, and other pollutants from runoffs and minimize riverbank erosion(muddy water), especially after heavy rain events. Greenery from native plants also provides shade and cover for fish and contributes to aesthetics along the river corridor.

If you own a home on Little River and want to improve your riverbank this spring season, consider planting native perennials that not only protect Little River from degradation but gives you a beautiful show throughout the year. You can visit the Alabama Plant Atlas online to learn more at https://www.floraofalabama.org. You can purchase native plants at the Dekalb County Master Gardeners annual plant sale at the Fort Payne VFW or take a worthwhile drive to Petals of the Past in Jemison, Alabama for an amazing variety of natives.

Here are some of my favorite native plants to see along the banks of Little River.
Small flowering natives: Dwarf Crested Iris, Joe Pye Weed, Cardinal Flower and Wild Columbine, Spiderwort.
Blooming Shrubs: Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, and Viburnum, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Elderberry, Spicebush and Strawberry bush.
Groundcovers: Partridge Berry, Wood Sorrel, Maidenhair Fern, Purple Phlox and Green and Gold.

For the river, Angie

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Angie Shugart