Fishing in Shades Creek
Shades Creek is a small to medium size stream that runs through the southwest corner of Jefferson County and Bibb County, Alabama, before finally emptying into the Cahaba River. Its watershed extends roughly from Tannehill flowing northeast through Irondale. Portions of the watershed have experienced tremendous residential expansion and development in recent years, which has increased stormwater runoff. Stormwater drainage from urban areas results in more contaminants and pollutants entering this system, impacting both water quality and quantity. Jefferson County has developed a Comprehensive Plan (The Shades Creek Watershed Plan) that addresses many of these issues and focuses on road and sewer development in addition to economic and recreational issues.
As with many small streams and watersheds, sediment runoff from urban development has impacted Shades Creek over recent years, which has affected the natural diversity of aquatic resources in this small stream. Several federal and state agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Alabama Water Watch and others have a mission to preserve the biodiversity of the aquatic and wildlife resources within the watershed. In 2003, Samford University's Biology Department, designed a program using students to monitor and survey the stream using a variety of sampling and collection techniques. Findings indicated that Shades Creek had or was currently experiencing pollution problems. This conclusion was based upon low diversity, expanded urban construction, sedimentation problems, and channelization of the stream bed. New measures have since been developed by the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission to help reduce the unhealthy sediment discharge into this creek and to assist in recovery efforts.