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Let's Power Up to Beautify the Cahaba River Speech Setting: Renew our Rivers Bi-Annual Meeting at the Alabama Power Company's corporate headquarters, 600 North 18th St. Birmingham, AL 35203 on November 2, 2013 at 9 a.m. Purpose: To request that Alabama Power considers the Cahaba River as a regular cleanup site in its Renew Our Rivers program.

Good morning/afternoon/evening, Alabama Power. My name is Kaylyn Alexander and I’m speaking on behalf of the Cahaba River Society. Alabama Power’s Renew Our River program has truly made Alabama beautiful with its community efforts to revitalize and protect our rivers. It is a privilege for me to be here today to speak with an organization that values Alabama’s wildlife, natural resources and our community as much as the Cahaba River Society does. Today I would like to propose that Alabama Power consider the Cahaba River as one of its regular cleanup sites in its Renew Our Rivers program.

The Cahaba River has several significant roles in Alabama. The watershed flows through eight counties and is one of the many rivers that provides drinking water and recreation to Alabama residents. However the river is a necessity for more than just our community. The river is home to hundreds of freshwater fish, mussel and snail species, some of which are unique to the Cahaba. In the Cahaba’s diverse snail community, 13 snail species exist that are found nowhere else in the world. Smithsonian Magazine named it as “one of the most biologically diverse places in the nation” (Nijhuis). However the fate of these species lies in the hands of us as human beings. We have the ability to harm or help the Cahaba’s wildlife with every piece of litter we add to or remove from the river. This is why the Cahaba demonstrates a need for community assistance in cleaning up and safeguarding the river. The river exhibits extraordinary biodiversity, but endangered species still exist. The Cahaba is home to more fish species per mile than any other river its size in North America. Currently 10 freshwater fish species are listed on the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Mussels also comprise a portion of the Cahaba's abundant biodiversity. 44

mussel species have been recorded in the Cahaba River. 27 exist in the river today and 11 are endangered (BSC). The main causes for these species' endangerment are water quality degradation and habitat destruction. The endangerment of these species can be prevented with assistance from Renew Our Rivers. Alabama Power can keep the Cahaba River a major player as Alabama’s number 5 ranking in biodiversity by adding the watershed as a Renew Our Rivers site. The Cahaba and its wildlife’s well-being is threatened daily by debris, harmful runoff and shoreline development. Renew Our Rivers tackles all of these problems with its environmental efforts to protect water quality, wildlife and the shoreline. The program has the potential to improve the river’s water quality and protect the shoreline so that 106 miles of the watershed can once again meet water quality standards for habitat alteration. From there endangered species’ living conditions can be enhanced through habitat restoration. In turn existing Cahaba River volunteers can participate in Renew Our Rivers projects and become involved with other scheduled Renew Our Rivers cleanups.

Many Alabamians rely on the Cahaba as their water source, but most haven't hiked along its banks or canoed its free-flowing stream. When someone hikes, swims, canoes or generally interacts with the Cahaba, it becomes easier for them to consider what goes into the resource they're consuming. It would be a stepping-stone to improving our rivers in Alabama if citizens have the opportunity to visit the Cahaba with the Cahaba River Society and Alabama Power! Here's the advice I'd offer to anyone who hasn't visited the Cahaba: Experience the birds chirp harmonious melodies while delicate Cahaba Lilies sway in the misty wind. Catch turtles curiously raise their heads to glimpse above the water’s surface. Just a few moments at the Cahaba makes it easy to see why the Cahaba River Society is so dedicated to protecting the watershed and its wildlife. / Today we are asking for Alabama Power to share this sentiment with us. Together we can work towards keeping Alabama’s rivers beautiful. Please consider the Cahaba River as one of Alabama Power’s Renew Our Rivers sites. Thank you.

Annotated Bibliography "Cahaba Animals." Birmingham Southern College. Birmingham Southern College, n.p. Web. 26 Oct. 2013. This website page lists and describes some of the animals found in the Cahaba River. Mussels, fish and invertebrates are the three main aquatic groups and each group has several species that are endangered. The site also lists the animals' description, taxonomy, population status, habitat, reproduction, diet, growth and lifespan. “Cahaba River Society.” Cahaba River Society, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. This is the homepage of the website where other links, such as "about," "support CRS," "News," "Events," "Resources," "Contact us" and more are easily accessible. Nijhuis, Michelle. “The Cahaba: A River of Riches.” Smithsonian, Aug. 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2013.

 This Smithsonian article discusses the rich biodiversity found throughout the Cahaba River from flora to fauna. Nijhuis discusses the uniqueness of certain wildlife and emphasizes some species’ endangerment.

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