Planned Retreat on the Cahaba River Living River, a tree-covered point nestled in a deep bend in the river, preserves a mix of hardwoods and older trees that were once typical of Alabama’s river bottoms but elsewhere have been logged and replaced with faster-growing pines. The site is 440 acres in size, and because of its unique location, fronts four miles of the river.
In this significant and beautiful place, the Central Alabama Presbytery will build Living River, a retreat where young people will continue to discover the awakening power of an outdoor camping experience with a Christ-centered message. Where adults, families, and congregations can also step away from the demands of their everyday lives and make space to listen to God’s voice.
We have come to recognize that the renewal of faith we hope will take place at Living River is more than incidentally related to the opportunity and responsibility placed in our hands through ownership of this special piece of property. In return for what Living River gives to us, we will also pledge to be good stewards of the land and the river.
The Cahaba River in Smithsonian Magazine The Cahaba boasts the longest free-flowing stretch of river in Alabama—140 miles— and one of the longest in the Southeast. Biologists have found that it shelters more fish species per mile than any other river in the country. Its floral attractions range from a spectacularly showy lily to a low, unassuming prairie clover, one of several local plant species that, until recently, were entirely unknown to science.
The Cahaba, too, has suffered casualties. Because of water pollution and other stresses such as sediment from erosion, almost a quarter of its original complement of mussel species has disappeared, and snails and fish are thought to have experienced similar declines. But the Cahaba, only 190 miles long, has also held on to a remarkable number of its native plants and animals—including 13 species of snails found nowhere else in the world, among them the humble Cahaba pebblesnail. In 2004, a visiting Australian biologist discovered that the snail thought to be extinct was simply hiding on the underside of rocks, where no one had bothered to look.
Several years ago, a Georgia botanist named Jim Allison identified eight previously unknown flower species along the river, an almost unheard-of haul in contemporary North America. The plants grow on a rare type of magnesium-rich rocky soil. Further investigation turned up eight more species never before found in the state, including one not seen anywhere since the 1830s. The Cahaba River’s allies feel certain that more biological treasures lie in the glades, oxbows and shoals—all just waiting for someone to study them.
Read more here.
Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge Cahaba River NWR is one of nation’s newest National Wildlife Refuges, the 540th in fact. Established September 25, 2002 for the purpose of protecting and managing a unique section of the Cahaba River and land adjacent to it. Cahaba River NWR is home to five federally listed species including the Cahaba shiner, goldline darter, round rocksnail, and cylindrical lioplax snail.
Sharks feeding on migratory birds in Alabama Gulf Feathers of woodland birds found in tiger shark bellies this fall bolster the theory that the Gulf ’s offshore oil and gas platforms pose a fatal danger to migrating birds, according to scientists from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
Birding Trails Upper Cahaba River Birding Trail – Hoover/ Birmingham. See Alabama’s state bird, the Yellowhammer, and other birds along the Upper Cahaba River Birding Trail. Hoover Chamber of Commerce www. hooverchamber.org or 205-988-5672. Greater Birmingham CVB www.birminghamal.org or 800- 458-8085.
Birding in Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge One of the nation’s newest national wildlife refuges is in West Blocton. The refuge attracts many migratory birds, including Kentucky, hooded, and prairie warblers in the uplands adjacent to the Cahaba River and prothonotary and yellow-throated warblers in the hardwood forests. The largest known stand of the Imperiled Shoals Lily – known locally as the Cahaba Lily – is also here. Visit during the summer months for a spectacular display. Public use is still limited, but you can access the refuge to watch and photograph wildlife from the land as well as the river. www.fws.gov/southeast/ or 256-848-7085.
Rare Bird Alerts To report a rare bird sighting submit a form or contact the AOS Rare Bird Alert hotline at (256) 773-8560.