NHLA Members:

Please mark your calendars for the upcoming Neely Henry Lake Association meeting! The meeting will be held at 6:30 pm, Thursday, September 1, 2022, at the Rainbow City Community Center, next to the library.

We are pleased and excited to have as our speaker Ms. Nicole Marbut Cotton from Alabama Power. Ms. Cotton is part of the Shorelines management team and will speak to us about current regulations concerning permitting, regulation changes and other items of interest. We will also have a Q&A session.

Since it has been a number of years since we had a representative from Shorelines speak with us, and with a lot of new members and residents, I'm sure there are a lot of questions.

We will also provide updates on other items of interest such as the Poker Run, Christmas Boat Parade, etc.

Feel free to share with your friends and neighbors on the Lake and encourage them to attend and become members.

I look forward to seeing y'all this Thursday!

Dave Tumlin

Pres., NHLA 

Greater Gadsden Area Tourism

Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series 2022 Season Debuts on Neely Henry Lake February 19, 2022

GADSDEN, AL---February 17, 2022--- The Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series (ABTTS) is starting off their 2022 fishing season on the waters of Neely Henry Lake. Hosted by the City of Gadsden Parks and Recreation Department and Greater Gadsden Area Tourism, the tournament is attracting 225 boats and 550 amateur anglers from across the southeastern United States.

Take-off is set for approximately 630 am on Saturday and weigh-in begins at 230 pm at Coosa Landing. Take-off and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. 

According to Alabama Bass Trail’s Program Director Kay Donaldson, the tournament is expected to pump an estimated $450,000 into the local economy through revenue generated by anglers and their family members via dining, shopping, and overnighting in local hotels and motels.

Greater Gadsden Area Tourism credits tournaments like the ABTTS with helping the local economy. “While the anglers are in town, many with family members, they are buying fuel for their boat and tow vehicle, tackle and supplies, lodging, food, and other products and services,” says Greater Gadsden Area Tourism Director Hugh Stump III. Many anglers come to town in the days before the tournament to pre-fish and work out patterns for the tournament day. A study in 2019 by Jacksonville State University determined that tournament bass fishing on Neely Henry Lake was worth over $10,000,000 in yearly economic impact to Etowah County.

Sanctioned by BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society,) the tournament trail features two divisions: Northern and Southern. Each division is made up of five tournaments on five different lakes. Maximum number of boats is 225 and each tournament will have a $10,000 guaranteed first place prize and will pay 40 places.

For more information: Program Director Kay Donaldson at 855.934.7425 or visit  

(Updated 7/2/21)

Below are the responses we received from Deputy Chief Matt Brooks of ALEA Marine Patrol Division. This is encouraging news and marine patrol on Neely Henry Lake may be coming soon!!

Date: 06/18/2021 1:59 PM

Subject: RE: Neely Henry Lake

Good Afternoon Mr. Tumlin: 

Since I last wrote you, the transfer we were seeking has been approved and Neely Henry now has a full-time MP Trooper assigned to it. He will need a few weeks to get moved and begin working his new post, but hopefully he will be working the lake by the 4th. If not, we’ll cover it as we have been until he can take up the post full-time. 

Thank you again for your letter, and I look forward to seeing you folks soon.


Matt Brooks

Deputy Chief Matt Brooks

ALEA Marine Patrol Division

Office:  (334) 517-2941

On 06/10/2021 2:45 PM Brooks, Matt wrote: 

Good Afternoon Mr. Tumlin:

Chief Thompson forwarded your letter to me for reply because I serve as both of Chief of Operations and Patrol for the Marine Patrol Division – and personnel and staffing are within my areas of responsibility.

The Marine Patrol Division has been able to add a number of patrol personnel to its ranks in the past few years under the leadership of Secretary Hal Taylor and are currently at our highest staffing level in a number of years. Unfortunately, there are still a number of vacancies that we need to fill and the Neely Henry Lake post is at the top of our priority list. With our particular brand of law enforcement, it can take approximately 1 year to hire, equip and train a single Marine Patrol Trooper for solo patrol duties. We have addressed this issue to a degree by hiring APOST-certified law enforcement personnel, but that can still take 6-7 months to put them through the a slightly different hiring, equipping and training process. We are currently in the process of reviewing applications for transfer both within the Marine Patrol Division and from other ALEA Divisions. We do have someone interested in the Neely Henry Lake post and if things work out with that individual we may have a full-time Trooper back on Neely Henry by the end of July. 

As you know, I’m a Gadsden native and spent 10 years assigned to Neely Henry. The area and lake are very near and dear to me we have done everything necessary to make sure that it does receive attention from the Marine Patrol. We have been covering it in recent months and will continue to cover it by sending Troopers from adjacent posts to patrol the lake until we are able to fill the vacancy.

Our 5-year plan is to expand the overall Division strength to approximately 75 full-time Troopers, which will allow us to fill every single vacancy and hopefully add a second Trooper to certain posts, including Neely Henry. That may be a tall order for such a short time, but it is what we are planning for and working toward.

I appreciate you taking the time to write us, and you now have my E-mail address and phone numbers. If you have any questions or if there is anything I can help with, please let me know. I always enjoyed attending Association meetings in the past – if you would like to have me come to speak at any future meetings, I would be more than happy to do so.

I hope you have a safe and happy summer.


Matt Brooks

Deputy Chief Matt Brooks

ALEA Marine Patrol Division

Office:  (334) 517-2941

(Updated 6/10/21)

Dear members,

We recently sent the following letter to Chief Steve Thompson.  We wanted you to to know that we are working hard to get full-time water patrol officers back on our lake. We will keep you informed of our progress!


Dave Tumlin, President

Date:   June 8, 2021

Chief Steve Thompson

ALEA-Water Patrol 

301 Ripley Street

Montgomery, AL 36104

RE:       Water Patrol

I am writing to you on behalf of the Neely Henry Lake Association Board and our nearly 200 members with our concern over the lack of sufficient Water Patrol coverage on our lake. As I am sure is the case with other lakes, we have seen a significant growth in boaters over the last couple of years. This exponential growth in watercraft, especially personal watercraft, without adequate Patrol coverage, has our membership asking why this is the case.

Our membership is also wondering why it has been years since Neely Henry Lake has had any kind of consistent and regular patrolling? It seems we have coverage, then part-time, then none, then some, etc.

Ideally, we feel that two full-time officers during the boating season would be able to manage the increased traffic and provide the visibility on the lake as a reminder to boaters of the need for caution and safety. If two officers are not possible, then possibly one full-time with an additional officer on weekends and holidays.

As I'm sure you are aware, we recently had a fatality on our lake, in addition to a child being injured. I'm not saying that the accident could have been prevented had an officer been patrolling the lake, but for many boaters, just knowing that an officer is out there can have a positive effect.

I know that budgets have been set, but it appears to me that this is a unique situation that needs to be addressed due to the increased number of watercraft and the safety implications. To that end, I have copied our local elected officials in order that they be aware of the request to your department.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of our request. I am available to discuss the issue at your convenience, either by phone or at your office. My contact numbers are: 256.442.5131(H), 817.875.0000(C).

Dave Tumlin

President, Neely Henry Lake Association 


on proposed animal rendering plant in Gadsden re: wastewater


SUPPORT SB 246 & SB 131!


Let your voice be heard about the proposed rendering plant in Etowah County. Please take a moment and send an email voicing your support of these two bills by 5 PM TODAY! Let them know why you care about Etowah County and the Coosa River.


Senator Andrew Jones has introduced two bills which would prevent the rendering plant from locating there. The Alabama Senate has established a public comment period for the legislation before they will vote.  


*SB 131 seeks to prevent the rendering plant from locating in Etowah County by requiring bad actor (fined in excess of 50M) rendering plants located within three (3) miles to compensate property owners for any decrease in their property values.  It also places fees and other economic obligations on such plants to dissuade them from locating in the county.  


*SB 246 is a local constitutional amendment which mirrors SB 131 but expands the radius to 10 miles and would ultimately be voted on by the citizens of Etowah County.  

Update on Gadsden Wastewater Permit

Gadsden Water Works & Sewer Board submitted a letter dated February 26, 2021 to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management suspending their October 22, 2020 "Permission to Discharge" letter provided to Pilgrim's Pride for the proposed rendering plant at 3900 Steele Station Road in Gadsden. This letter accompanied the State Indirect Discharge (SID) permit to allow Pilgrim's Pride to discharge their pre-treated wastewater into the municipal sewer system.


The letter from Gadsden Water that was submitted to ADEM on February 26, 2021 is attached below, as well as correspondence from ADEM to Pilgrim's Pride stating that they will NOT issue the SID Permit without a letter of acceptance from the receiving publicly owned treatment works (Gadsden West Wastewater Treatment Plant).


The letter from Gadsden Water to ADEM acknowledges that Pilgrim's Pride hasn't received approval to locate or operate on Steele Station Road. Gadsden Water also admits they do not have the sewage infrastructure in-place to serve that address as well as the many uncertainties surrounding the proposed plant.


Although this is a NO from Gadsden Water for now, this is encouraging and we must stay vigilant! This letter does not change the pre-existing issues we've discovered with bypasses in the system nor the impact of their permit limitations on Neely Henry Lake, which is an impaired waterway.


If you are unclear on the impacts of the SID permit and how the wastewater impacts the lake, see read the technical comments  Coosa Riverkeeper and the Center for Biological Diversity sent to ADEM.


Check out the documents from ADEM and Gadsden Water.... 

Coosa Riverkeeper

102 B Croft Street
Birmingham, AL 35242

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Gadsden Water suspends letter of acceptance for proposed rendering plant's wastewater

Donna Thornton

The Gadsden Times

Scroll down to see the letter from Gadsden Water Works to ADEM.

Gadsden Water Works and Sewer Board has suspended its letter saying it could accept wastewater from the proposed Pilgrim's Pride rendering plant.

The decision was announced in another letter sent Feb. 26 to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. That letter, provided by General Manager Chad Hare, said that since the board's original letter to ADEM in October, "Pilgrim's has not received approval to locate or operate at the referenced address."

"Currently, Gadsden Water does not have sewer collection infrastructure in place to serve that address and given the absence of approval of the location and the ever-increasing uncertainty regarding the operation of the facility, and the undefined timeframe for such approvals, it cannot be reasonably expected to commit public funds to expand its infrastructure to that location at this time," the letter continued.

"Furthermore, continuing forward without these determinations would require Gadsden Water to commit resources including system capacity to this proposes industry, limiting our ability to evaluate other potential growth for an indeterminate time," it said.

"Because of these uncertainties' impact on our ability to adequately evaluate and prepare to service this location at this time, Gadsden Water is suspending the October 22, 2020, 'Permission to discharge' letter provided to Pilgrim's Pride and we respectfully request the issuance of the draft SID permit be delayed until these matters have been resolved."

Rendering plant: Zoning challenge sent back to state court

Lawsuit: Proposed Pilgrim's Pride rendering plant opponents file suit claiming records are being withheld

Benefits of Pilgrim's Pride plant: IDA attorney says rendering plant would carry benefits for city

Also provided was an email from ADEM to Barry Glover of Pilgrim's Pride, stating ADEM could not issue an indirect discharge permit for the proposed plant without a letter from a facility that would accept wastewater from the plant.

Coosa Riverkeeper Director Justin Overton was pleased.

"This is 'no' for now," said Overton, whose organization has been heavily involved in opposition to the proposed plant.

However, other sources close to the project categorized it more as a delay than a derailment.

And Pilgrim's Pride representatives say the company is still committed to the project.

"Pilgrim's remains absolutely committed to building a state-of-the-art pet food ingredient plant in Gadsden, which would create great-paying jobs and bring millions in economic activity to Etowah County," Mark Glover, head of Pilgrim's Pride protein conversion division, said.

"We agree with Mr. Hare that all parties involved would benefit from a defined project timeline," he said in a statement. "We are confident that Gadsden Water authority has the capacity and Pilgrim's has the right water treatment technology to create a sustainable operation of which all Gadsden can be proud."

Glover said the City of Gadsden and its residents will benefit from "increased funding for its water and sewer system through significant rates paid by Pilgrim's for water and sewer service."

He said Pilgrim's welcomes the opportunity to "have dialogue with Mr. Hare, the City Council and local leaders to determine a viable timeline to build the pet food ingredient plant" which will bring "great-paying jobs" and a $70 million investment to Gadsden.

Overton said she's pleased that Gadsden Water has acknowledged issues with capacity at its Gadsden West treatment plant where the proposed rendering plant is concerned. She said the underlying issues with current capacity at the plant remain.

Overton said she believed detailed information provided to ADEM from Coosa Riverkeeper, and experts it sought out for input, played a role in this decision — along with the public pressure exerted in opposition to the plant.

Overton said the exchanges did not spell out a "no" to the project. She said she believed information from Coosa Riverkeeper and the Center for Biological Diversity about the existing issues with the daily maximum load going into Neely Henry Lake from the water treatment plant, and the additional load the rendering plant would bring to the facility has been noted.

She said details of the letter — references to the uncertainty project's timeline, and the lack of approvals for the plant — should be noted.

Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or


As we have done in previous years, the NHLA will be partnering with APCO and ADNR to construct and install fish habitat in our lake. Dates are set, weather permitting: Feb 4th and 11th, 9:00 am. Both are Tuesdays.

We will again be making "spider buckets" and deploying them in various locations. This year, we will be working out of the River Rocks Landing (former campground facility below I759 bridge). The new manager, Carson Dabbs, has been kind enough to allow us to use an area as a construct/laydown location.
We will be assembling the blocks next to the large storage buildings that are to the right after passing through the entrance gate to River Rocks.

We will construct on the 4th, then deploy on the 11th. This new location provides us an opportunity to put new habitat in the upper part of the lake, which we haven't done in a number of years.  
We need plenty of volunteers, so mark your calendars, get some buddies and come on out! Hope to see you there!

1 River Road Gadsden, AL 35901 (Phone) 256-543-7111

 2019 Coosa Christmas Boat Parade Winners 

Listed below, in order of finish, are the judged winners for the 3rd annual Coosa Christmas Boat Parade. We had a total of 10 entries this year!
1st Place: Shannon Campbell
2nd Place: Steve Higdon
3rd Place: Thomas Russell
​Congratulations to the winners and a big THANK YOU to all who participated!!!!

We will be soliciting members to participate on various committees for the coming year. If you want to get more involved in NHLA activities, there is a spot for you on any number of committees! Some don't require a lot of time, some perhaps a bit more, but it is a great way to help the organization, get to know people with the same love of our lake and to contribute to the community.
Some of the "standing" committees are : election, speakers, welcome, membership/sponsor acquisition, events(poker run, parade, etc.), partnerships (fish habitat, ROR, etc), lake issues (safety markers, litter control, etc.) and others. 
If you have an interest to get more involved, please contact Dave Tumlin or an officer or board member. Thanks!!

​See info on latest ADPH Fish Advisory for 2019 in the Water Quality page. Good news, again!! 

Become a member

The Neely Henry Lake Association was formed as an all volunteer, tax-exempt organization representing all counties along Neely Henry Lake. We welcome as members all who live on, fish in, boat on, swim in, ski on or in any way enjoy Neely Henry Lake. 

Join us

"Neely Henry Lake Association" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Neely Henry Lake Association, 90 Walnut Street, Gadsden, AL 35901. 

1-888-565-0411 ( 1-256-549-0351

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