Meet Alabama River Alliance’s award winning champions for clean water

Rivers Alabama
Alabama Rivers Alliance Water Rally River Celebration Awards Banquet was held on March 16th in Montgomery. Photo via Facebook

Last week, the Alabama Rivers Alliance honored several “river heroes” at their annual Alabama Water Rally conference in Montgomery.

The River Celebration Awards Banquet recognized those special organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions toward river protection in our state.

“Much of the work of these individuals and organizations goes largely unrecognized except in our own circles,” Cindy Lowry, executive director of Alabama Rivers Alliance, said. “We cherish the opportunity to honor their work and service with our River Celebration Awards and are proud to work alongside them defending our rivers throughout Alabama.”

The recipients of the River Celebration Awards were:

Emerging Leader of the Year – Charles Miller, ARA Junior Board Co-Chair, for his above and beyond dedication to Alabama Rivers Alliance and many other groups throughout Alabama.

Volunteer of the Year – Shelly Taliaferro, professor at Auburn University of Montgomery, for her dedication to connecting students to the Alabama Rivers Alliance.

Outstanding Group of the Year – Waterkeeper Alabama for their outstanding work collaborating together on issues impacting all of Alabama like sewage issues, coal ash and more.

Alabama rivers
Waterkeeper Alabama named organization of the year by the Alabama Rivers Alliance. Photo from Facebook

Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year – Sierra Club Mobile Bay for their tireless work to engage and mobilize citizens about important environmental issues, such as the impacts of dredging on Dauphin Island.

Business Partner of the Year – Robert & Susan Tate at PROForma for their dedication to giving back to their community and deserving groups throughout Birmingham.

In addition to these awards, three individuals were also recognized with the lifetime achievement award of RIVER HERO. This award is given to individuals who have spent the better part of their lives working to protect and defend Alabama’s waterways. They go above and beyond the average calling to ensure that all Alabamians can enjoy clean and heathy water.

The 2018 RIVER HEROS were:​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • Stephen Guesman – The Friends of the Locust Fork River and Alabama Cup Racing Association
  • Dr. Betsy Dobbins – Samford University, Friends of Shades Creek, and Cahaba River Society
Alabama rivers
Alabama Rivers Alliance Cindy Lowry, Betsy Dobbins and Henry Hughes
  • Eric Reutebuch  – Alabama Water Watch and Lake Watch of Lake Martin

To learn more about the Alabama Rivers Alliance, visit

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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