Alabama Water Science Center
Rocky outcrops are a signature of Fivemile Creek
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Fivemile Creek - Brownfield Assessment
In June, 2004, the Black Warrior - Cahaba Rivers Land Trust (Land Trust) was awarded a Brownfield Grant from the Region 4 US Environmental Protection Agency for 2005. The Land Trust will utilize funding from the Brownfield Assessment Grant program to perform assessment of sites which may have handled hazardous substances from former industrial or commercial activities. The Land Trust is working closely with the Fivemile Creek Greenway Partnership to establish a 27 mile greenway along the banks of Fivemile Creek from Center Point through Tarrant, Birmingham, Fultondale, Republic, and Brookside down to Graysville at a point where the creek joins the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River. The Brownfield grant will assist the greenway development by prioritizing Brownfield sites for assessment in the Fivemile Creek watershed that may have the potential to have a negative impact on water quality in Fivemile Creek. Ultimately the information from these assessments will be used to provide for cleanup and reuse of these properties.
The Brownfield program is an EPA initiative that funds projects that provide for the environmental assessment of Brownfield property. A Brownfield property is an abandoned, idled or under-used industrial or commercial facility where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Because of USGS's earlier heavy involvement in this watershed, the Alabama District is assisting the Land Trust with this assessment.
Canoeing in July on Fivemile Creek between Republic and Brookside. Long stretches of the creek are secluded and provide a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with nature.
The Fivemile Creek watershed in northern Jefferson County has a rich history of industrial activity as well as unique beauty. The communities of Tarrant, Fultondale, Republic, Brookside and Graysville were part of the great pulse of activity that kept Birmingham's steel industry thriving. Industries, mines and railways were part of the communities that dot the banks of Fivemile Creek. As time has passed, some of these sites can be of greater use to these communities when land uses are changed. The Brownfield assessments will help insure that environmental issues that might be associated with the sites are met and that sites get ready for reuse.
Ultimately, a network of greenways and parks will line Fivemile Creek and provide the opportunity for outdoor recreation such as hiking, canoeing and bicycling. The Brownfield assessments will support this new use.
The Fivemile Creek Brownfield project is now underway and site prioritization will continue through the end of January of 2005. If you have a site in the Fivemile Creek watershed that may need consideration, you may contact Hilary Aten at 205- 264-8464 or Al.S.Notes@usgs.gov. At least 5 sites in the watershed will have Phase I assessments performed.
During the last quarter of 2004, public meetings are underway to determine which properties will be assessed. Ultimately the Fivemile Creek Greenway is expected to provide stellar recreational opportunities along Fivemile Creek, in part because of the incredible beauty of its environment and unique nature of this habitat.