Buck Creek

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Wading in Buck Creek below the Davidson Dam in 2010

Buck Creek is a major tributary of the Cahaba River, flowing north and west through Shelby County, connecting the communities of Saginaw, Siluria, Alabaster, Pelham and Helena.

The stream was used by pioneers to supply water power for grist mills. In 1865 a rolling mill, the Central Iron Works, was erected on the creek's bank, drawing water for industrial use. It is currently used primarily for recreation, and as an outlet for treated municipal waste water.

Helena organizes an annual Buck Creek Festival at the park. In Alabaster, the Buck Creek Greenway was developed in 2008, linking Warrior Park and Buck Creek Park.

In June 2016 Cahaba Riverkeeper David Butler reported caustic milky discharge into Buck Creek from Carmeuse Lime & Stone's Longview Operation (formerly Longview Lime Works) near Saginaw. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management conducted sampling that September and found high pH levels and virtually no aquatic life. The company determined that the discharges originated as runoff from old waste lime storage areas which filtered into groundwater that then found its way into the creek. Carmeuse negotiated a "consent order" with ADEM in June 2017 in which it paid a $32,000 fine and submitted a written plan to achieve compliance with environmental laws. The company has invested $1.25 million to study the problem and to design and install a site drainage system that captures runoff for treatment before it is discharged. The regrading also improved access to the creek bank from the company's plant, which will make it easier to monitor any future problems.

Route

Buck Creek originates with the confluence of several smaller streams in Saginaw. From there it flows westward, under I-65, and bends northward as it enters the Cahaba Valley just south of Siluria. It proceeds north on the western edge of Siluria, and vaguely parallels U. S. Highway 31 through Alabaster and into Pelham. It is joined by Peavine Creek just south before passing under Shelby County Road 52 and past the discharge for the Pelham Waste Water Treatment Plant. The creek is joined by Cahaba Valley Creek as it bends to the west, toward Helena. Both Peavine Creek and Cahaba Valley Creek originate in Oak Mountain State Park.

As it approaches Old Town Helena at Alabama State Highway 261, the creek is widened by Davidson Dam (1915) to form Lake Davidson, formerly the centerpiece of a recreational resort developed by Tom Davidson, and now a recreational spot just below the discharge from the Helena Waste Water Treatment Plant. The creek spills over the concrete dam, providing a waterfall that is illuminated at night and visible from the decks of nearby restaurants. The area below the dam, part of Buck Creek Park, is a popular spot for wading and picnicking. The creek continues past the Helena Amphitheatre, then bends northwest before spilling into the Cahaba River under the CSX Transportation S&NA South Subdivision railroad bridge.

References

External links

Cahaba River
Dams & Reservoirs

Lake Purdy Dam, Lake Purdy, Birmingham Water Works Dam

Tributaries

Buck Creek, Little Cahaba River, Little Shades Creek, Patton Creek, Shades Creek

Other topics

Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge, Cahaba River Society, List of access locations
Cahaba lily, Cahaba Pump Station, Riverview Wastewater Treatment Plant, Trussville Wastewater Treatment Plant