Natural Resources

Natural resources’ are minerals, forests, water, and fertile lands that occur in nature. At one time, they belonged to everyone. Now they belong to those who can afford them. ‘Resources’ are SOMETHING NEEDED IN ORDER TO FUNCTION EFFECTIVELY and that refers to LIFE – not just plants and animals, but humans as well. Exploited natural resources are difficult and timely, if not impossible, to replace. Once exhausted, you can’t get them back.

The City of Clay is fortunate to have natural resources but poorly located quarry sites threaten those resources. The runoff from Butler Mountain feeds numerous aquifers. There are lakes, streams, and rivers fed by runoff from mountains in the Clay area including but not limited to the following:

  • Turkey Creek
  • Hilldale Farm Lake
  • Emerald Lake
  • Jade Lake
  • Inland Lake
  • Cosby Lake
  • Shadow Lake
  • Locust Fork River
  • Warrior River
  • Cahaba River, which passes through Trussville
  • Big Canoe Creek
  • Self Creek
  • Dry Creek

Photo to left by Ross Hutto

All water sources underlying any quarry on Butler Mountain would be subject to mining runoff and particulates. Some of these lakes and rivers have well-documented and protected endangered species. These lakes and rivers are home to immense bird and fish life. Many species of duck (wood, teal, golden eye, mallard), Kingfisher, egret, geese, heron, and eagle choose to habitat in or near local lakes which give them a steady supply of fish.  Many migrating birds choose this area because the ecology meets their needs in a world of diminishing natural resources. Mine blasting would threaten to drive away both indigenous and migratory wildlife in this area, both in the air and on land. As the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2008 points out,

“There is also the land – the foothills of the Appalachians, the streams, the rock-outcroppings, and the forests. Yet this is one of the resources that uncontrolled development can take a great toll on. For example, the beautiful hills that characterize the region are being removed to create flat land . . . huge gashes are cut . . . parking lots pour pollutants into streams and rivers, and erosion and sedimentation threaten water life. The Mountaintops of Jefferson County are among the County’s most identifiable features and they are among the area’s most important wildlife habitat areas.”