According to the text of the Forever Wild nomination submitted by Black Warrior Riverkeeper Executive Director Nelson Brooke, the purchase of this acreage by the state would help protect the river's watershed, thereby benefiting water quality, riparian habitat and species diversity. The Locust Fork is home to numerous rare species of fish, mussels, snails, turtles and salamanders. The land is presently owned by the Birmingham Water Works Board, which decided recently to sell it after shelving plans to dam the Locust Fork in order to create a reservoir. "I think it's good news in and of itself that the Water Works Board is selling the property, because they are not going on with the dam they've discussed for over a decade," says Charles Scribner, director of development for Black Warrior Riverkeeper. "That dam would have been a huge blow to the biodiversity of the Locust Fork."
The river is also a popular spot for recreation, including boating and fishing, despite the fact that access to the river is limited. According to Brooke, the inclusion of the land in Forever Wild would allow more people in the area to appreciate what the river has to offer. "I don't think enough people know about it," he says. "This is because there's no public access. This is a great opportunity to open it up. It would allow the Locust Fork to become more of a resource for the surrounding communities." He notes that the area nominated for protection is close to Birmingham, Oneonta, Cullman and Jasper.
Forever Wild is administered by the the State Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.