NEW: Freshwater Land Trust installs 12th Litter Gitter in Greater Birmingham area

Partners installing Litter Gitter at unnamed tributary to Valley Creek in west Birmingham. (Freshwater Land Trust)

Freshwater Land Trust (FLT), Wells FargoBlack Warrior Riverkeeper, and other Project Litter Gitter partners installed their 12th Litter Gitter device this morning in a Valley Creek tributary in west Birmingham. 

What is a Litter Gitter?

Freshwater Land Trust Litter Gitter (Freshwater Land Trust)

A Litter Gitter is an in-stream floatation device that collects trash from stormwater runoff and prevents it from continuing further downstream. FLT has a longstanding partnership with Osprey Initiative, LLC, the Alabama-based contractor that installs and maintains these devices. Osprey monitors, collects and recycles litter from these devices on a bi-weekly basis.

“This is the fourth Litter Gitter in Valley Creek and the seventh in the Black Warrior River watershed,” said Rusha Smith, Executive Director at the Freshwater Land Trust. “Since December 2019, we’ve removed over 17,000 pounds of trash from our local waterways. This project has been a tremendous success and it is a real example of how partnerships work through organizations like Wells Fargo.”

Location, Location, Location

Installing Litter Gitter at unnamed tributary to Valley Creek in west Birmingham. (Freshwater Land Trust)

Overall, there are 12 Litter Gitters deployed throughout the Birmingham region. They reside at:

  • Valley Creek in Birmingham and Bessemer
  • Village Creek in Birmingham and Brighton 
  • Five Mile Creek in Tarrant
  • Pinchgut Creek in Trussville
  • Buck Creek in Alabaster
  • Shades Creek in Homewood
  • Griffin Creek in Homewood 

FLT received a $12,500 grant from Wells Fargo that will sponsor the Valley Creek Litter Gitter’s maintenance for six months. The Black Warrior Riverkeeper identified the 409 5th Street North site for the litter collection device.

“Wells Fargo is excited to support Freshwater Land Trust and their goal to create a greener Alabama for future generations,” said Wells Fargo Social Impact and Sustainability Specialist, Ruby Fenton. “It is our hope that this installation will help cultivate a cleaner, more sustainable Birmingham.”

Additional Partnerships

Installing Litter Gitter at unnamed tributary to Valley Creek in west Birmingham. (Freshwater Land Trust)

Along with Wells Fargo and the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, FLT appreciates the support the Litter Gitter program garners region-wide. Partners include the local municipalities, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), River NetworkCahaba Riverkeeper, the Jefferson County Department of HealthJefferson County CommissionVillage Creek Society, Coca-Cola Bottling Company and ABC Coke, a division of Drummond Company. The project also supports the Jefferson County Litter Quitters education program, led by the Jefferson County Conservation District.

“I really don’t know if we’re working anywhere that has this much involvement,” added Don Bates, the owner of  Osprey Initiative, the group that deploys Litter Gitters. “It’s been a great success story in this area. All the Litter Gitters are funded through different sources and ideas. It all comes back with passionate people.”

Want to learn more about Project Litter Gitter, including site locations and sponsorship information?  Visit

This story originally appeared on Bham Now by Pat Byington. View the original story here.


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The patented Litter Gitter is a tactical in-stream litter collection device used to intercept floating litter from stormwater runoff. The Osprey team handles all aspects of installing and maintaining these “trash traps” and compiles data on the items caught in them, recycling as much of the litter as possible.