MAGNOLIA SPRINGS – The town of Magnolia Springs has voted to make a three-year commitment of $2,000 per year to the Weeks Bay Watershed Coordinator position.
“There was a Weeks Bay Watershed Committee that worked on drainage and identifying the source of sediment that was coming into Weeks Bay through Magnolia River and Fish River,” said Mayor Bob Holk. “What was determined after much research was that you can get as many volunteers together as often as you can, but unless you have somebody driving the train then it’s not going to lead to the station.”
It was decided that a coordinator was needed to work with the volunteers and their activities and also to contact the right people to handle issues when they arise. In order to employ the position, the Weeks Bay Watershed Committee is trying to raise $60,000. The county has contributed $41,500, along with contributions from Robertsdale and Loxley, and now, Magnolia Springs has put in their contribution as well.
“I think that between this contribution and the Mobile Baykeeper affiliation, it’s really showing that Magnolia Springs is serious about trying to do something about what’s happening to our river,” said Holk.
The position has gone to Casey Fulford, Baldwin County Conservation District Watershed Management Coordinator. Fulford has been in the position for a couple of months, and while she’s starting with Weeks Bay, there are plans to move forward with other waterways throughout Baldwin County. She recently attended a County Commission meeting concerning the paving of dirt roads to reduce erosion throughout the county, and she also focuses on finding grants for the nonprofit organization.
“Some of the things that we’re looking at right now are the pathogens in the water,” said Fulford. “Unfortunately there’s not a lot we can do about the mercury in the water as that comes from the atmosphere and we don’t really contribute much to that, it’s a world problem, but we’re definitely looking at pathogens.”
Fulford states that the Conservation District hopes to reduce the human added pathogens to waterways, and Fulford recently applied for a grant that would help to keep domesticated animals kept back from streams.
“Also on erosion, I know some farmers have streams that come on their lands,” Fulford said. “There are some farmers that use heavy equipment that goes through the streams, so we would help make a hardened structure so that sediment wouldn’t be displaced.”
Fulford stated that she’d like to work with landowners to solve any problems that the Watershed Committee might find.
“We would find the necessary agencies who would need to be looking into the problem,” said Fulford. “We just have to identify what the best way to go about addressing the problem is, but the first step is to go to the landowner and see if there’s any way we can work through the issue before having to go to other authorities … There’s definitely a lot of agencies to navigate and that’s the good thing about having a coordinator to bring them all together to the table and to identify what’s in whose jurisdiction.”
To learn more about the Weeks Bay Watershed Program, visit their website at www.mobilebaynep.com/the_watersheds/weeks_bay_watershed.