CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman residents have the opportunity to participate in researching Alabama’s abundant biodiversity and water resources at the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s (ACES) upcoming Alabama Water Watch (AWW) Monitoring Training Wednesday, April 5, from 12:30-6:30 p.m. at Camp Meadowbrook. The hybrid online/in-person class allows volunteers to participate in monitoring local water chemistry, bacteria and more to protect Cullman’s water health. The deadline to register is March 21.
“Alabama Water Watch is a great opportunity for citizens in and around Cullman County to help monitor the water resources we have that flow through our county – and we have many of them,” Cullman County Extension Coordinator Kira Sims shared.
Alabama is home to over 130,000 miles of streams and rivers, making up a vast water network that supports our freshwater biodiversity, which is ranked first in the country. Our 3.6 million acres of wetland companied with over 550,000 acres of lakes make protecting Alabama’s aquatic life and their homes a priority.
“For comparison purposes, consider that Alabama contains 332 species of freshwater species while California, a much larger state, has 41,” AWW Program Director Mona Dominguez said.
It is reported pollution and the demise of habitat has put 19% of Alabama freshwater fish species at risk. Locating and monitoring polluted water is of critical importance, and the AWW training empowers volunteers to help in the solution.
Once training is complete, volunteers will choose a water site to visit regularly to collect samples and submit to AWW; the results will be uploaded to the database on the AWW website. In doing so, the information gleaned from the samples will be available for everyone in the local community and statewide to see.
AWW has trained and certified more than 8,700 volunteers since its inception, and over 100,000 water records are already available from 2,500 water sites in the AWW database. Every collection was obtained by volunteers certified through this training.
Local students will be joining in as well in April as 4-H youth in Cullman will participate in their AWW training and field days to become certified in monitoring the waterways.
To register for AWW, visit www.aces.edu/event/alabama-water-watch-monitoring-training-5. Registration is due by March 21 to allow for online coursework to be completed before the in-person class on April 5. Camp Meadowbrook is located at 2344 County Road 747, Cullman, AL 35058.
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