Bham metro is now home to 7 “litter gitter” devices thanks to the Freshwater Land Trust and partners

Rusha Smith (in grey) with the Freshwater Land Trust addresses Project Litter Gitter launch at McCallum Park in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Last week, the Freshwater Land Trust officially launched Project Litter Gitter, installing five new litter gitter devices in Birmingham (2), Bessemer Homewood and Vestavia Hills.   

The project was made possible by a EPA’s Trash-Free Waters grant, that was recently awarded to Freshwater Land Trust and partners.

Project Litter Gitter

Project Litter Gitter launch at McCallum Park in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

According to the Freshwater Land Trust, Litter gitters are in-stream trash collection devices used to intercept floating litter from stormwater runoff. Osprey Initiative, creator of the litter gitter, empties the devices on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and recycles as much of the trash as possible.

The major goals of Project Litter Gitter are to remove trash in or about to enter local waterways, to reduce future litter, and to educate the community about the importance of trash abatement and clean water. 

“We are extremely excited about this project and glad to participate,” stated Ashley Curry, Mayor of Vestavia Hills at the McCallum Park launch. “Sometimes I joke about stormwater in Vestavia. They don’t call us Vestavia Hills for nothing. When water hits somewhere on Shades Mountain it is coming through Vestavia. We take it seriously.”

7 Litter Gitters

There are now a total of seven litter gitters join an existing device in the Cahaba River and Black Warrior River watersheds. The litter gitters collect on average about 50 pounds of trash a month. The recently installed devices will remain in area creeks and streams for about three years.

Myra Crawford with the Cahaba Riverkeeper added, “We are delighted to be a part of this day. We believe it will be much better to collect the garbage up here (McCallum Park in Vestavia) before it makes its way down to the Cahaba river refuge where we usually have to pick it up.”

Along with the Freshwater Land Trust, Project Litter Gitter partners include: Cahaba Riverkeeper; Black Warrior Riverkeeper; the Cities of Birmingham, Bessemer, Homewood, and Vestavia Hills; Village Creek Society; the Jefferson County Department of Health; and the Jefferson County Department of Development Services

True Partnership

Project Litter Gitter in 2019. Photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust

“This is a game-changing project and a tremendous opportunity to clean up our waterways and emphasize the importance of litter control,” said Rusha Smith, Freshwater Land Trust Executive Director.  “This effort has been a true partnership.”

Want to learn more about Project Litter Gitter? Visit the Freshwater Land Trust website.

  • 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.