BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER INC

Birmingham, AL   |  www.blackwarriorriver.org

Mission

Black Warrior Riverkeeper's mission is to protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries.

Ruling year info

2003

Principal Officer

Mr. Charles Scribner

Main address

712 37th St South

Birmingham, AL 35222 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

72-1537394

NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Alabama's Black Warrior River and its vital tributaries face substantial pollution threats including dams, coal mining, coalbed methane extraction, quarries, industrial discharges, sewage, industrial chicken farms, clearcutting, irresponsible development and road building, urban stormwater runoff, and more. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management's tendency to turn a blind eye to these problems poses another major threat to the river and those who rely on it – the public. Black Warrior Riverkeeper advocates for cleaner water, serving the needs of over a million people throughout 17 Alabama counties.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Riverkeeper Patrol Program

Our 2021 budget for the Riverkeeper Patrol Program is $171,294, including salary for our Riverkeeper and Staff Scientist, plus patrol-related expenses -- scientific consultants, laboratory analysis fees, patrol boat/truck fuel, maintenance, and equipment. As both the functional and symbolic centerpiece of our organization’s services, the Riverkeeper Patrol Program is a continuous and primary focus for the organization. We are set apart from many other watershed advocacy groups by following the "Waterkeeper Model" of on-water vigilance. Over 350 Waterkeeper groups worldwide follow Hudson Riverkeeper's historic model for watershed protection. Black Warrior Riverkeeper follows this Waterkeeper blueprint through Nelson's frequent patrols by canoe, boat, foot, and plane. When Nelson finds problems during a patrol, he decides whether to take water samples for analysis at an EPA certified laboratory and then contacts facility representatives if needed. Nelson is frequently assisted on patrols by volunteers and staff. He is also accompanied by reporters, scientists, and/or Riverkeeper supporters on certain patrols. During his frequent presentations to schools, clubs, and civic organizations, as well as through newsletters we mail to members and share through our award-winning online outreach, Nelson informs the public of problems he finds. Full of photographs from patrols, Nelson’s presentation also promotes the watershed’s pristine and popular recreation areas, such as the Sipsey Wilderness, Smith Lake, Lake Tuscaloosa, and Forever Wild tracts.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

blackwarriorriver.org/volunteer/

Number of briefings or presentations held

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

blackwarriorriver.org/schedule-a-presentation/

Number of facilities' Discharge Monitoring Reports reviewed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Riverkeeper Patrol Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

blackwarriorriver.org/john-f-kinney/

Number of comment letters to government agencies

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Riverkeeper Patrol Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Enforcement Coordinator John Kinney writes pollution permit comments to government agencies so that permit modifications may result at problematic facilities, potentially preventing future pollution.

Number of volunteer hours

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

blackwarriorriver.org/volunteer/

Number of facilities monitored in the field

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Riverkeeper Patrol Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

blackwarriorriver.org/nelson-brooke/

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Black Warrior Riverkeeper's mission is to protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. Our goal is improve water quality, wildlife habitat, public health, and recreation through our our service area, the Black Warrior River watershed. Flowing for roughly 300 miles, the Black Warrior drains portions of seventeen counties in Alabama. The watershed has over one million residents, contains 16,145.89 miles of mapped water, and covers 6,276 square miles. It supplies roughly half of Birmingham's drinking water and all of the water for cities such as Bessemer, Cullman, Jasper, Oneonta, and Tuscaloosa. Thousands of residents and tourists enjoy the watershed for recreation. People fish, swim, boat, paddle, ski, and hike along the Black Warrior and its tributaries. In additional to our focus on protecting human uses, we also protect the watershed for the sake of Alabama's unrivaled freshwater biodiversity. The watershed is home to 127 freshwater species of fish, 36 species of mussels, 15 turtle species, and numerous other aquatic animals. There are 10 federally listed endangered species of aquatic animals in the watershed, and many more listed as threatened.

The organization uses a watershed approach to ensure clean water, a healthy aquatic environment, and the recreational and aesthetic values of the river. We have several methods to reach our goals of a cleaner watershed, such as educational outreach, online advocacy, public events and presentations, environmental litigation, and more. However, the centerpiece of our organization's services is the Riverkeeper Patrol Program.

The Riverkeeper Patrol Program is a continuous and primary focus for the organization. We follow the proven Waterkeeper Model of patrolling through Riverkeeper Nelson Brooke's frequent patrols by canoe, boat, foot, and plane (provided free by SouthWings). When Nelson finds significant problems during a patrol, he decides whether to take water samples for analysis at a certified laboratory and then contacts facility representatives if needed. Nelson is frequently assisted on patrols and analysis by John Kinney, Staff Scientist. John regularly reviews facilities' monthly discharge monitoring reports to help prioritize patrol destinations and to provide more data about facilities of concern. John also writes pollution permit comments to government agencies so that permit modifications may result at problematic facilities, potentially preventing future pollution and the need for litigation.

This program primarily offers Nelson's patrols, and John's discharge report reviews and permit letters. We increasingly succeed in these areas because we have trusted relationships with organizations, schools, media, and pollution informants. We have 4 experienced staff and hundreds of volunteers. Our tools include a patrol boat, canoe, truck, patrol budget, and a nearby lab.

Nelson Brooke graduated from the University of Colorado with an anthropology degree. Nelson is an Eagle Scout and outdoor enthusiast who has enjoyed fishing and hunting along the banks of the Black Warrior River since he was seven years old. Nelson has been staff Riverkeeper since January of 2004. Nelson was named "2010 Alabama River Hero" by the Alabama Rivers Alliance. Nelson patrols and photographs the river and its tributaries from the land, water, and air, looks for pollution problems, responds to citizen complaints, researches and analyzes polluters' permits, collects pollution samples for laboratory analysis, educates the public about the beauty of the river and threats to it, works to empower stakeholders throughout the watershed, advocates compliance with environmental laws, works on finding solutions to pollution problems, and is a spokesman for the watershed. Nelson also gives educational presentations to schools and other groups.

John Kinney graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies in 2002. He is attending classes at UAB pursuing a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering. John has worked at Black Warrior Riverkeeper since 2006. As Staff Scientist, John investigates facilities' compliance with environmental laws, provides permit suggestions to government agencies, and assists Nelson with patrolling. He and Nelson are experienced in collecting pollution samples for laboratory analysis.

Patrol partners include concerned citizens that call or email us with pollution tips and/or assist on patrol. We also have a "report pollution" form on our website. Valued partners include several smaller environmental groups that work on sub-watersheds of the Black Warrior, such as the Friends of the Locust Fork River, the Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee, UA Environmental Council, Green Initiative at UAB, and Hurricane Creekkeeper, as well as state and regional organizations such as the Alabama Rivers Alliance and the Southern Environmental Law Center. They often notify us of pollution, provide evidence, and/or join Nelson on patrol.

2020 Riverkeeper Patrol Program Statistics and Related Accomplishments

• Relayed frequent updates on how our members and the public can promote clean water during the pandemic.
• Hired our first AmeriCorps Member, Katie Fagan, to engage more partners and volunteers in litter cleanups.
• Promoted the installation of 8 Litter Gitter trash collection traps in urban streams across Greater Birmingham.
• Launched WaterkeepersAlabama.org with an interactive map of 10 Waterkeepers’ patrol areas in Alabama.
• Sued MCoal for 2,789 Clean Water Act permit violations at Rosa Mine on the Locust Fork in Blount County.
• Challenged, with SELC, new ADEM biosolids rules allowing land application of municipal/industrial waste.
• Published a report and summary on the dangers of coal ash at Alabama Power’s 3 power plants on our river.
• Created AlabamaCoalAsh.org with allies to help the public learn more and take action regarding coal ash.
• Partnered with ARA, FLFR, and more for key upgrades to Tyson's Clean Water Act permit in Blountsville.
• Fielded pollution complaints, documented problems, and reported to government agencies and the media.
• Made 54 educational presentations to business, government, nonprofit, religious, and scholastic groups.
• Wrote comment letters to government agencies, requesting upgrades to 44 permits and/or water rules.
• Monitored 81 facilities across our 17-county basin through patrols by foot, truck, canoe, boat, and plane.
• Reviewed 226 facilities’ Discharge Monitoring Reports to record the number and nature of violations.
• Collected and analyzed 643 water samples, regularly publishing ambient water quality data on our website.
• Engaged hundreds of volunteers of all ages who donated thousands of community service hours.
• Retained our Platinum (top) rating on GuideStar, the leading source of information on nonprofits.

Financials

BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER INC

Board of directors
as of 6/21/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Chuck Rabolli

Chuck Rabolli

Kenya Goodson

Jayne Pool

Heather Elliott

Kirk Mitchell

Bob Greene

Jim Colby

Ellyn Grady

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/18/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability