Volunteers prepare to clean up local lakes this fall as part of Renew Our Rivers

BIRMINGHAM- Renew Our Rivers, Alabama Power’s environmental river cleanup program, has surpassed collecting 8.94 million pounds of trash and debris from Alabama and Southeast rivers since it began in 2000. This year, volunteers participated in 19 spring and summer cleanups with six scheduled this fall. So far more than 4,700 volunteers have rolled up their sleeves to collect 704,000 pounds of trash from along Alabama’s lakes and rivers in 2007.

“Renew Our Rivers is evidence of what is possible when people come together with a common mission and vision,” said Alabama Power President and CEO Charles McCrary. “We are proud that it began at Alabama Power, but Renew Our Rivers has endured because of the thousands of volunteers from across the Southeast who share our commitment to protect our waterways.”

“As we strive to reach this year’s cumulative goal of 11 million pounds of trash, I am proud to say that Renew Our Rivers works and is an effective grassroots program,“ said Willard Bowers, Alabama Power’s vice president of Environmental Affairs.

The cleanup program was started in Gadsden on Lake Neely Henry by an Alabama Power employee and was originally known as Renew the Coosa. It was later expanded and renamed Renew Our Rivers. Annually Alabama cleanups are held on the Black Warrior, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Chattahoochee, Mobile and Cahaba rivers and Village Creek.

Renew Our Rivers has become the Southeast’s largest organized river-system cleanup, thanks to the efforts of more than 10,000 volunteers in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida with support from the media and community partners around the region.

The fall Renew Our Rivers schedule is listed below.

September 6-7 Smith Lake (Cullman County)

This cleanup will concentrate on large blocks of Styrofoam from abandoned and damaged piers.

Contact: Debbie Berry, Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee,

(205) 823-0015

September 15 Village Creek (Birmingham area)

The community cleanup will be Saturday, Sept. 15 from 8 a.m. to noon.

Contact: Dr. Mabel Anderson, Village Creek Society, (205) 798-0087

October 1-6 R.L. Harris (Lake Wedowee)

Volunteers during the week should contact organizers. The Saturday cleanup on Oct. 6 will be at Highway 48 boat ramp from 8 a.m. to noon.

Contact: Bob May, Lake Wedowee Property Owners Association, (256) 357-2656, or Shelia Smith, Alabama Power, (256) 396-5093

October 12 Locust Fork (Black Warrior River)

Miller Steam Plant will host its cleanup with assistance from community volunteers. Sites to cleanup include Birmingham Port and Plant Miller Holding Pond.

Contact: Eddie Borders, Plant Miller, (205) 488-2106

October 13 Lake Mitchell (Coosa River)

The cleanup will be held at Higgins Ferry Park, near Clanton from 8 a.m. to noon followed by a picnic lunch.

Contact: Doug Martin, (205) 755-0863, Lake Mitchell Homeowners and Boat Owners Association or Larry Waldron, (205) 987-7217.

October 22-24 Smith Lake (Walker County)

Volunteers will meet at Smith Lake Dam boat launch at 8 a.m. This cleanup will target large blocks of Styrofoam from abandoned and damaged piers.

Contact: Jim Beason, (205) 387-2654, or Charles Boyd (205) 221-2183, cbboyd@bellsouth.net, Smith Lake Civic Association.

Nationally, Renew Our Rivers has been recognized by or won awards from the National Hydropower Association, Keep America Beautiful and the Alabama Wildlife Federation.

For more information about Renew Our Rivers and details about Alabama Power’s environmental initiatives, please visit www.alabamapower.com.

Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), owns and operates 14 hydroelectric generating plants in Alabama, providing clean, low-cost electricity. The facilities also provide more than 157,000 acres of water and more than 4,000 miles of shoreline for the public's use and enjoyment.