Forging swamps future

We applaud the University of Montevallo&8217;s efforts to protect the Ebenezer Swamp wetland habitat and to make it both an educational opportunity and research facility.

Shelby County and the University of Montevallo dodged a major bullet to the environment when Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Hub Harrington ruled against Middle Tennessee&8217;s Land Development&8217;s plans to dig a limestone quarry off County Road 12 in Alabaster.

Herrington ruled, however, the limestone quarry could operate should further development degrade the value of the Ebenezer Swamp.

Owned by the University of Montevallo, Ebenezer is a 65-acre hardwood swamp located on Spring Creek.

A recently completed boardwalk allows guides to lead small groups safely into the heart of the swamp, minimizing impact, maximizing safety and opening a whole new world to visitors who would never otherwise venture into such a place.

The boardwalk is also an integral part of UM&8217;s plans for an Ebenezer Swamp Wetlands Interpretive and Research Center.

When funds become available, plans call for the construction of a teaching and research facility/visitor&8217;s center. This will allow the examination of living and preserved specimens.

It would be a shame to see such a beautiful learning opportunity die while industry grinds on. It should be noted, however, that Middle Tennessee has not announced whether they plan to appeal the decision by Herrington to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

It is our hope UM&8217;s plans for Ebenezer Swamp will help protect it from future degradation by making it a valuable teaching and research facility regarding key biological and ecological issues of the Ebenezer Swamp and wetlands in general