New conservation easement protects Birmingham’s rare watercress darter

watercress darter conservation
The endangered Alabama watercress darter. Photo via USFWS.

Attention nature conservationists! Freshwater Land Trust (FLT) has closed on 26.1 acres in Birmingham’s Powderly neighborhood. Why Powderly? It’s home to the watercress darter, a federally endangered and state-protected fish species native to Jefferson County. Read more to see why this matters.

Save the watercress darter

Birmingham Alabama
Watercress darter mural in East Lake. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Did you know the watercress darter is native to Jefferson County? In fact, there are only six known habitats in the world and they’re all here in Birmingham.

FUN FACT: These fish are only 5.4 cm—that’s smaller than your pinky.

Just last year, FLT restored Roebuck Springs, a crucial habitat for the native fish. For more info on conserving land and the watercress darter, visit the Freshwater Land Trust website.

About the property

the river on the property
Spring into action! Photo via Sam McCoy for Freshwater Land Trust

This easement is possible thanks to Emily Godsey, who donated the property, and Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s partnership. But what will come out of this easement? Basically, this means Godsey will maintain ownership of the property while FLT protects the land from development.

“I want to make sure this land is protected forever regardless of who holds it. It’s highly important to me to pass it on to my kids and make sure it’s conserved as it moves across generations.”

Emily Godsey, owner of the property in Powerdly

Since 228 feet of Seven Springs—a watercress darter habitat—is located on the property, Godsey and FLT wanted to make conservation a top priority. One of FLT’s goals is reducing future erosion and sedimentation of the waterways. All of this work will benefit watercress darters!


the fish sign
Seven Springs at Faith Apostolic Church. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

We’re also looking forward to Godsey, Black Warrior Riverkeeper and FLT’s partnership with Faith Apostolic Church. They own an adjacent property upstream. Ultimately, Birmingham can say with pride that we’re protecting the watercress darter habitats thanks to this easement.

BONUS: Help us protect the Earth—check out these three ways you can do so in Alabama.

Have you been keeping up with the watercress darter habitat restoration? Let us know @bhamnow.

Summer Guffey
Summer Guffey

Art enthusiast and expert on all things tea.

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