Alan Cressler Upper Paint Rock River Jackson Cty Al Copy

Paint Rock River Watershed

One of the most biologically diverse rivers in the world, the Paint Rock River flows through three counties in northeastern Alabama and one county in southeastern Tennessee. With a watershed encompassing about 460 square miles, the Paint Rock and its tributaries support some 50 state- or federally-listed species, including the American Hart’s tongue fern and the cerulean warbler.

As one of the Southeast's last free-flowing rivers, the Paint Rock stands out as one of the only places in the region relatively untouched by logging and development. From satellites, the Paint Rock Watershed stands out as a big swatch of green, with verdant forests standing guard along the riverbank.

While development does not bear down on the Paint Rock as intensely as in other regions, large parcel sizes and wary landowners are the hurdles to conserving this important landscape. In this environment, our grants and loans help local land trusts leverage scarce local and state resources to secure the vast tracts of wilderness necessary to protecting the Paint Rock. 

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