Water Watcher wins 2012 W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Award

Dick Bronson received the 2012 W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Award at a surprise award ceremony during the Lake Watch of Lake Martin annual meeting at the Elk’s Lodge on Lake Martin on Sunday, February 19th, 2012.

Dick Bronson calls LWLM meeting to order

The award “seeks to publicly recognize achievements that have resulted in the wiser use of our renewable natural resources. The program is administered by Auburn University and was made possible by a gift from an Auburn alumnus, the late Dr. W. Kelly Mosley of Atlanta, Georgia, and from the John and Mary Franklin Foundation. The Achievement award is given for outstanding voluntary efforts in forestry, wildlife, fisheries, soil, water, air, wildflowers, non-game wildlife, environmental education, conservation and urban forestry” (from www.aces.edu/forestry/mosley). Dick was somewhat suspicious when several of his children and grandchildren, and Dr. David Rouse, Head of the Auburn University Fisheries Department arrived at the meeting. As Dr. Rouse, the award presenter, put it, the Mosely Award recognizes the significant achievements of ‘unsung heroes’ that have made major contributions to environmental stewardship in Alabama.

Dick receives Mosely Award (from left, Dr. David Rouse, Dick; Eric Reutebuch; and Bill Deutsch)

Dick’s list of environmental activities and achievements are both long and substantial. Since he moved to Lake Martin in 1979, Dick devoted himself to volunteer service in environmental stewardship. Dick founded Lake Watch of Lake Martin (LWLM) in 1991. As President of LWLM over the past 20 years, he worked for the preservation and enhancement of waters in the Tallapoosa Basin, and throughout Alabama. Under Dick’s leadership, the group’s list of accomplishments over the past two decades includes:

  • joining the then-newly formed Alabama Water Watch Program (AWW) in 1993, and having several members trained and certified in water monitoring – the first citizen volunteer group to do so,
  • establishing a network of water quality monitoring sites from headwater streams, through the lake, down to Martin Dam,
  • contributing over 1,600 water quality records from the Lake Martin Watershed to the statewide AWW online water quality database,
  • working at the local and state level to advocate for and help mitigate point source pollution problems in Lake Martin,
  • actively participating in supporting and developing policies to protect Lake Martin, and other public waters in Alabama,
  • partnering with Auburn University scientists in the drafting of various proposals to Alabama Power Company, USDA-CSREES, and World Wildlife Fund, and,
  • partnering with Auburn University scientist in various water quality/watershed studies in the Tallapoosa Basin that: 1) quantified pollutants and pathogens in the Tallapoosa Basin, and 2) initiated environmental-education workshops for youth, which led to the foundation of AWW’s AMSTI-endorsed Exploring Alabama’s Living Streams environmental education curriculum.

Dick personally spearheaded many significant efforts, including the following:

  • conducted an environmental education program, which Dick’s wife Mary Ann named ‘Living Streams’ for hundreds of school children, scouts and teachers yearly at Camp ASCCA over the past two decades, instilling an environmental ethic in thousands of our youth,
  • with his wife Mary Ann, hosted a dozen international groups, composed of educators, scientists, and fellow volunteer monitors from around the world at their home to socialize and exchange information on community based watershed stewardship,
  • was a leader in the establishment of a ‘State of Our Watershed Conference’ for the Tallapoosa River Basin, which continues as an annual forum for information exchange and stakeholder networking,
  • actively participated in the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) relicensing process over the past four years, advocating for environmentally sound management of Lake Martin and the Tallapoosa River over the coming decades,
  • advocated and defended water rights in interstate disputes know as ‘Water Wars’, helping to ensure that water quality and water quantity in the Tallapoosa River Basin are preserved, and,
  • established an environmental education program at the Radney Elementary School in Alexander City, linking local experts (AWW-certified water monitors) and AU scientists to the science curriculum of the school’s gifted program beginning in 2010, which resulted in Ms. Laurie Barrett’s gifted class winning the 2012 Environmental Education Association of Alabama’s BEEP Award (Best Environmental Education Program).

And in December 2010, Dick participated in the signing ceremony of Executive Order 52 by then-Governor Riley establishing the Treasured Alabama Lake (TAL) designation for lakes in Alabama. Dick had championed official recognition and protection for Lake Martin over the previous six years through a series of letters, meetings and discussions with ADEM and others that culminated in the establishment of this entirely new official designation, TAL, for reservoirs with outstanding water quality and recreational significance. This new designation will serve as a lasting legacy for the protectionof Lake Martin, which was officially designated as the state’s first Treasured Alabama Lake in the spring of 2011.

Dick has worked selflessly and tirelessly over the past 20 years, educating children, participating in water quality studies, and advocating for clean water and a healthy environment, to the benefit of us all. There are few people in this state that have given so much of their time and talent over the span of two decades for the protection of our environment.