Heron Johnson

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Bishop Heron Johnson (born April 1920 in El Dorado, Arkansas; died November 23, 2015) was the pastor of Faith Apostolic Church in Powderly. He served a major role in establishing the Seven Springs EcoScape along Nabors Branch on church property, which helps preserve the rare watercress darter.

Johnson grew up in Arkansas. He was drafted into the Army shortly after graduating high school and served in World War II. After three years in the service, he moved to Flint Michigan and worked for General Motors for 18 years. He then decided to become a minister and evangelized throughout the Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania areas.

In 1969, Johnson was invited to conduct a revival in Birmingham. He subsequently moved his family to Birmingham to become pastor of Emmanuel Temple Holiness Church, which was renamed Faith Apostolic Church in 1972. He went on to start churches in Alabaster, Selma, Anniston, and Tuscaloosa. He also served on several ministerial advisory boards. In 1986 he was made a Bishop and became head of the Ninth Episcopal District, which covers Alabama and portions of Florida and Mississippi.

Johnson knew nothing about watercress darter when he was made aware of the fish after its discovery in the stream adjacent to the church in 2001, but he became a major advocate for the species and has led clean up efforts along the creek.

To honor Johnson for his efforts in both community leadership and protecting the darter, the City of Birmingham renamed the former Cleburn Avenue, the residential street both the church and EcoScape are on, as Heron Johnson Drive in a ceremony on January 11, 2015.

Johnson was married to Dr. Zholia Johnson, who died after 60 years of marriage. Together, they had five daughters and a son.

Watercress darter (Etheostoma nuchale)
Habitats Glenn Springs · Nabors Branch · Roebuck Spring · Tapawingo Springs · Thomas Spring · Turkey Creek
Preserves Seven Springs Ecoscape · Turkey Creek Nature Preserve · Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge
People R. D. Caldwell (co-discoverer) · Larry Davenport · Mike Howell (co-discoverer) · Heron Johnson