Stormwater runoff includes everything the rain picks up and carries down the drains, including oil and grease from cars, mud from construction, litter from parking lots, etc. Construction stormwater runoff, widely regarded as a top threat to water quality nationwide, is one of the most significant sources of pollution impacting Coastal Alabama’s waterways. As growth and development accelerates near the coast, irresponsible construction practices, inadequate drainage infrastructure, poor planning, and imperfect policies challenge the health of local waterways. The cumulative impacts of construction stormwater pollution (both rural and urban) are threatening our communities’ ability to have clean water that is swimmable, fishable, and drinkable.
Mobile Baykeeper’s goals are to:
Ensure permitted construction sites comply with the law and protect waterways to the maximum extent possible; and
Enact strong ordinances that protect against irresponsible growth.
To achieve these goals we use a three pronged approach: public education, monitoring and inspection, and advocacy. These three avenues enable us to address construction stormwater runoff from a site-specific level by providing a level playing field for all contractors to do the right thing to protect area waterways from breaking ground to ribbon cutting.
We educate citizens on construction stormwater impacts through SWAMP and Muddy Water Watch citizen education program. Muddy Water Watch teaches volunteers how to identify when construction sites are following good practices and how to report problems to contractors and enforcement agencies when they aren't. By learning about this serious pollution issue, citizens can also advocate to their municipalities and the state for improved monitoring, enforcement, and policies.
Inspection, Collaboration, and Enforcement
We identify issues with construction stormwater practices locally by reviewing permits and monitoring sites. When we observe documented issues or note problems with sites through our inspections we first reach out to the contractor. It is always our goal to collaborate for solutions. If developers respond to our reports, we support them in resolving the problem.
If the contractor ignores the problem, we reach out to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to ensure the polluter is held accountable.
Early Engagement and Advocacy
On the policy level we work to ensure strong support for stormwater infrastructure improvements. We advocate to have codes and ordinances developed or amended to require these infrastructure improvements and improve water quality through the use of Low Impact Development (LID), green infrastructure techniques, and other relevant means.
Our AmeriCorps Patrol Members conduct stormwater inspections throughout their term. This work would not be possible without them.