Alabama landowners partner to keep water unpolluted | al.com

Alabama landowners partner to keep water unpolluted | al.com: When a small army of state and federal agents show up at a rural Alabama farm, you might expect a confrontation. But Bryan Burgess of Ashville has welcomed them.

Running through Burgess' farm is Big Canoe Creek, a relatively pristine Coosa River tributary that's home to more than 50 species of fish and an array of freshwater mussel species.
The government agents -- representing the Geological Survey of Alabama, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources -- have identified Big Canoe as one of the 50 best remaining aquatic habitats in the state. They'll need allies such as Burgess in the battle to preserve and improve water quality.
"It's the landowners that are key," said the GSA's Patrick O'Neil, who is leading a multi-agency effort to enlist public cooperation in protecting the 50 targeted watersheds ...
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