For Immediate Release: April 2, 2019
Contact: Cade Kistler, Program Director to tour SWIM sites
Council Plans to Add Additional Mobile Baykeeper SWIM Testing Site in 2019
(Mobile, Ala.) - The Town of Magnolia Springs is clearly happy with Mobile Baykeeper: they are renewing and expanding their partnership this year with an additional SWIM site. Swim Where It's Monitored (SWIM) is a water quality monitoring program that informs citizens of the safety of their favorite swimming and fishing spots. In 2018, Magnolia Springs became the first municipality to sponsor a site to inform and protect their citizens.
Cade Kistler, Mobile Baykeeper’s Program Director, told the council, “I applaud the mayor and council for their sponsorship and commitment to protecting Magnolia River.”
Through the SWIM program, Mobile Baykeeper takes samples from six sponsored sites, tests them for enterococcus (a bacteria indicating the presence of fecal matter), then publishes the results for the public via the SWIM guide. Any organization, group, or individual can sponsor a test site of their choice. ADEM, Alabama’s state environmental agency, routinely monitors 25 locations throughout Coastal Alabama and Baykeeper posts those results through the Swim Guide app.
Mobile Baykeeper works to test water, inform the public, and solve any water quality problems discovered. In 2018, the Magnolia River site's bacteria levels exceeded EPA standards 22% of the time, often right after heavy rain. Informing the public of when it’s safe to swim is vital to community health.
“This process helps the River Committee, and it shows that we’re committed,” says Mayor Bob Holk. Continuously collecting this data can indicate trends in community health risks.
The Magnolia Springs partnership marks the first of what Mobile Baykeeper hopes will be many in the Bay area, as the organization strives to raise awareness about local water issues—including sewage spills that threaten our way of life. In 2017, Mobile Baykeeper was forced to file a lawsuit against Daphne Utilities for releasing bacteria 4000% over the legal limit into Mobile Bay. Their efforts have had a positive effect: the number of sewage spills in 2018 was down 86% from 2017. This highlights how important it is for collaborators like Mobile Baykeeper to continue monitoring.
Casi Callaway, Executive Director of Mobile Baykeeper, is impressed with the Magnolia Springs City Council’s decision to step up. “We encourage other municipalities, businesses, civic organizations, or individuals to do the same at waterfront locations important to them. By becoming a sponsor, Magnolia Springs is making an investment in the health and protection of Magnolia River and Mobile Bay, allowing Mobile Baykeeper to inform the public about risks to their health and gain a better understanding about threats to the Bay.”
The next site’s location has yet to be determined. In selecting the new location Mobile Baykeeper will review the Weeks Bay Watershed Management Plan and collaborate with Casey Fulford, the Weeks Bay Watershed Coordinator, to determine the most beneficial site.
“We’re protecting Magnolia River for a long time,” Kistler said. “That’s our plan.”
To learn more about Mobile Baykeeper’s work and events, http://www.mobilebaykeeper.org/ or call 251-433-4229.
The best Way to Support our work is by becoming a member.
Mobile Baykeeper is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization working to provide citizens a means to protect the beauty, health and heritage of the Mobile Bay Watershed and our coastal communities. To learn more about Mobile Baykeeper, please visit our website. To begin SWIM sponsorship please contact Justine Herlihy – firstname.lastname@example.org – or Cade Kistler – email@example.com – at 251-433-4229.