At our Christmas annual meeting, FRCA awarded 3 members of the development community River Guardian Awards for their efforts to do Best Management Practices (BMP’s) to control erosion. Our River Guardians have seen very little of good BMP’s anywhere in Huntsville. These honorees put up sturdy silt fences to prevent mud from oozing off construction sites. Most developers use the fences, but they are often installed incorrectly and not maintained for the duration of construction activity, and sediment is the numero uno pollutant of our streams. FRCA hopes that those that get the awards will brag about it to the rest of the development community, so there will be the opportunity for dozens of awards at this December’s meeting. The Board of FRCA hopes that all those that have been trained to look for both good and bad BMP’s. We may be giving out some “most improved” awards to those developers that come around from their current practices of allowing tons of mud from moving from their home sites into nearby creeks and rivers.
Jeff Benton Homes, Kenneth McCrary of Smith Engineering, and Cove Storage Center owner Brad White received the Flint River Conservation Association’s first-ever River Guardian awards for helping to protect wetlands and endangered species habitat.
Jeff Benton Homes, one of the area’s biggest subdivision developers, was honored for their work in the Liberty Park neighborhood off Taylor Road. Silt fences kept mud out of the adjacent 400 acre Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary, the company also gave the city about 10 acres of wetlands to add to the Sanctuary. They could have filled them in, and gone to a Wetland Mitigation Bank to buy credits to do it, but Jeff Benton chose not to.
Kenneth McCrary, a licensed surveyor with Smith Engineering, was honored for keeping sediment runoff from the Grand Lakes subdivision out of Muddy Cave, one of the last remaining habitats for the endangered Alabama Cave Shrimp. McCrary is in charge of inspecting the silt fences at Grand Lakes, being built off Green Cove Road in south Huntsville. The rare shrimp are very small and restricted to small pools inside the few caves that constitute their habitat. Runoff loaded with sediment would smother the population in Muddy Cave. Dick Holloway and Gene Sapp, the actual developers of this property, will receive awards for eliminating several home sites to help protect the cave.
During construction of his storage business on Taylor Lane and US 431, Cove Storage Center owner Brad White planted grass to keep loose soil from washing into a nearby wetland area. He later installed sod to further limit runoff. One hardly ever sees developers, whether commercial like Brad White or in subdivisions, as in Benton, Sapp, and Holloway, plant grass seed or use hydroseeding, but it is the best thing to do to stabilize the soil, aside from leaving areas green until they need to be developed.