Adel spilled ten days ago; did not show up in downstream water quality data 2020-10-10

Adel, Georgia, spilled 7,500 gallons of raw sewage from its West Ninth Street lift station ten days ago, according to GA-EPD’s Sewage Spills Report today.

The spill occured on Saturday, October 10, 2020. Apparently there were no detectable effects downstream at Valdosta and below, but we’d still prefer Adel not to spill raw sewage.

[Adel spill]
Adel spill

It’s about 34 waterway miles downstream to US 41 on the Withlacoochee River, which is the first place for which we have data. On the Monday two days after the spill, Valdosta did see elevated Fecal coliform at that North Valdosta Road location, but E. coli was within limits. Those US 41 readings were actually lower than for the Friday the day before the Adel spill. Same story farther downstream at GA 133 and US 84: lower Valdosta test results Monday than Friday.

Downstream from US 84, all results by Valdosta and Madison Health into Florida were good for Monday and the rest of that week. So apparently the Adel spill had no detectable effect downstream at Valdosta and farther. See the WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida water quality results.

[Maps, spill, West Ninth Street, Adel, GA]
Maps, spill, West Ninth Street, Adel, GA

We don’t know exactly where on West Ninth Street that lift station is.

[West Ninth Street, Adel, GA]
West Ninth Street, Adel, GA
on the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

Probably it is somewhere near this house you can see on West Ninth Street, in a picture I took looking north from Tony Street on September 8, 2020, looking across Del Cook Lumber land.

[Pool or foundations]

The GA-EPD report does not give a name for an affected waterway. USGS doesn’t know the name, either, but there’s a little creek that runs through more of Del Cook’s disused land, east of Tony Street, MLK Jr. Drive, and Pine Street. That creek starts about where MLK meets Pine Street, so I’m calling it MLK Pine Creek.

[MLK Pine Creek]
MLK Pine Creek

That creek runs into Bear Creek downstream of where Adel had its two previous spills, on April 23 and 24, 2020.

[Bear Creek]
Bear Creek

It’s about 75 miles from this new Ninth Street Spill site to the GA-FL line, or about 103 miles to the Suwannee River.

[Adel to the Suwannee River]
Adel to the Suwannee River

Chances are this new Adel spill, like the two in April, had little effect on the Withlacoochee River, and none on the Suwannee River.

We’d still like Adel to stop spilling sewage. Probably the people who live around West Ninth Street would agree on that point.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

This Saturday, with more sponsors and higher water: WWALS Boomerang paddle race into Florida and back to Georgia 2020-10-24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, September 4, 2020 — The water’s up, and we’ve added sponsors at State Line Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River 9 AM this Saturday, October 24, 2020. For the WWALS Boomerang paddle race you can choose 1, 2, or 3 miles downstream into Florida, and then back up. There will be food, drink, prizes, and an online silent auction.

[WWALS Boomerang 2020]
WWALS Boomerang 2020
PDF

Tickets are on sale now, $20 online or at the event.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wwals-boomerang-paddle-race-2020-tickets-118844038719

Boomerang mastermind Bobby McKenzie says, “There is plenty of room for distancing at the boat ramp, and even more room on the water. We will have someone at the one big shoals to direct you.”

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman said, “Thanks to Bobby for getting Olympia Bend Shooting Range as a sponsor! There’s no need to be shooting up our water trail signs. And let’s not forget Life Outdoors, who are supplying two archery packages in the online auction, along SBMS Crossfit, NWXpeditions, and others.”
https://www.betterunite.com/WWALS-wwalsboomerang2020

Bobby McKenzie added, “With Madison Outpost Adventures we now have four outfitter sponsors, adding to VSU CORE, NWXpeditions, and Banks Lake Outdoors. Thanks to Carter & Sons for cooking barbecue that WWALS will serve for purchase. Drinks will be available from Kona Ice, and we will have water dispensers. In addition to the $100 First Prize, each of the many winners will get a Boomerang tumbler!”

Canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards are welcome to register starting at 9 AM, Saturday, October 24, 2020, with the race to begin at 11 AM.

Come early if you want to help clean up at the boat ramp. We’ll give you a spiffy Georgia Rivers Alive bandana facemask.

[Open containers of alcohol prohibited]
Open containers of alcohol prohibited

State Line Boat Ramp is at 6461 Madison Highway, Valdosta, GA 31601. If online maps misdirect you, try 6600 Madison Highway. You may also know it as Mozell Spells, or Madison Highway Boat Ramp; it’s at Horn Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, just north of the GA-FL line on Madison Highway, also known as GA 31 and Madison County CR 150.

Heading south down I-75, take Exit 11, turn west, and keep going until you see the boat ramp sign, then turn right. From Madison, Florida, head up CR 150 until you cross the river, make a U-turn, and head down to the ramp.

Everything about WWALS Boomerang 2020 is here:
wwals.net/pictures/2020-10-24–boomerang Continue reading

Sign up for final toll road Task Force meetings 2020-10-19

Please register today to comment with in the last M-CORES Task Force meetings Tuesday (Suncoast Corridor) and Wednesday (Northern Turnpike Corridor). You must register online by 5PM the day before each meeting.
https://floridamcores.com/calendar-of-events/

Previous public comments overwhelmingly oppose these toll roads, but we need still more comments.

[Pie-chart 93-percent-AGAINST 10 14 20-0001]
Pie-chart 93-percent-AGAINST 10 14 20-0001
PDF

Please tell the Task Forces to reject their Final Report, because it established no need, yet left it possible for FDOT to continue preparing to build these toll roads. Ask the Task Force to outright reject the Report and instead to report No Build.

After the Florida Governor cut $1 billion from the budget is no time to be wasting tax dollars on toll roads for which their own Task Forces can find no need. In addition to all the damage these toll roads would do to our rivers, springs, and swamps, without need, these Florida toll roads would be broke from the start, just like Texas SH 130.

Yes, this is yet another deadline after the report comment deadline. But please do also comment to the Task Force.

Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS is a signatory of the Join Comment Letter by members of No Roads to Ruin (NRTR), and Suwannee Riverkeeper voted in the unanimous Waterkeepers Florida approval to sign that letter.

NRTR has released a Press Release with analysis showing 93% of public comments so far oppose the toll roads, with only 4% for and 3% unclear. That puts numbers on the massive public opposition that was visible even in the Suncoast Connector Task Force report “summary of the most common comments/themes received from the public”.

[Graph 93-percent-AGAINST 10 14 20-0001]
Graph 93-percent-AGAINST 10 14 20-0001
PDF

Rural Florida needs fast Internet service, but no new roads are needed to do that. For hurricanes, better shelters and rural solar and batteries for power afterwards would cost much less and be much more effective than these toll roads.

Please add your comment to the Task Force saying No Build! Continue reading

Suwannee paddle for Visit Suwannee County + FL 6 & State Line 2020-10-16

The movie extras took a side trip up Sugar Creek on a 1.5 mile paddle down the Suwannee River from Suwannee Springs, after the old 93rd Drive bridge, pursued by the Suwannee County Sheriff, to the Suwannee Canoe Outpost at the Music Park.

[Sheriff, Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Gretchen]
Sheriff, Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Gretchen, departing Suwannee Springs beach

Thanks to Charissa Setzer of Visit Suwannee County, Florida for the invitation for paddlers to be videoed for a tourism advertisement.

Thanks to Bret Miller of NWXpeditions and Mylinda Greene for the mini-distanced-shuttle. Thanks to Dawn and Lisa of Madison Outpost Adventures for joining us, along with Steven E. Scott of Luxury Lawns, Gretchen Quarterman, and John S. Quarterman.

NWX and MOA along with VSU CORE are outfitter sponsors of the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back, coming up next Saturday, October 24, 2020, at State Line Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.

[Third Annual WWALS Boomerang]
Third Annual WWALS Boomerang

Thanks to Steve of Suwannee Canoe Outpost for the take-out hospitality.

Also thanks to the Sheriff’s deputy for helping carry my boat up at Suwannee Canoe Outpost.

See also facebook pictures by

All us paddlers are now officially models, since we each signed a model release.

Suwannee Springs

Click on any small picture to see a larger one. Continue reading

Agenda: WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting 2020-10-18

Here is the agenda for today’s 2PM WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting. The public is invited. We will be meeting online by zoom, so you don’t even have to go anywhere.

When: 2PM, Sunday, October 18, 2020

Where: Online: see below for the zoom parameters and the agenda.

Event: facebook

Much of the work of WWALS is done by committees of members, and many of them have some good results to report. If you’d like to join a committee, please fill out the application.

[Agenda]
Agenda pages (follow the link to read the agenda)

The board itself does most of its business online via email, but it’s good to have these gatherings once a quarter.

The current board members, officers, and staff are listed on the Board web page.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Agenda

See also PDF. Continue reading

Very clean Withlacoochee River 2020-10-15

Water quality results from WWALS and Madison Health for Thursday and from Valdosta for Wednesday concur: happy boating, swimming, and fishing on the Withlacoochee River this weekend!

While all such results are merely advisory, because conditions can change very quickly, also there has been very little rain to wash anything into the river, and no reported sewage spills.

[KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate]
KF, Nankin, State Line, Results, Swim Guide, plate

WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach got 33 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp for Thursday, October 15, 2020, and zero for Nankin and State Line Boat Ramps. Continue reading

Ashburn spilled sewage three times in September 2020-09-27

Update 2020-10-17: Very clean Withlacoochee River 2020-10-15.

Ashburn, Georgia, spilled 210,000 gallons of raw sewage spread over three times in September and the public only got notified Wednesday, four weeks after the first spill. There’s not enough water quality testing data downstream from those spills to know what effects they may have had for example on Reed Bingham State Park.

[Charts and Map: Ashburn spills to GA-FL line]
Charts and Map: Ashburn spills to GA-FL line

Ashburn spilled once into Hat Creek, which runs into the Alapaha River, and twice from its MLK Lift Station into a tributary of Ashburn Branch, which runs into the Little River. We don’t have any data downstream on the Alapaha for that time period, so we don’t know anything about downstream effects. We do have quite a bit of downstream data for the other two spills, but so far downstream and with so many other things going on that it’s hard to tell if there were any effects showing up in that data.

About the only thing we know for sure is it would be great for Ashburn to get a grip on its chronic sewage spill problem, starting by at least reporting spills in a timely manner. That and it would be great if the state of Georgia or the federal government would resume testing on the Little and Alapaha Rivers as they apparently used to do up until about 1998, so we would know, for example, did this spill affect Reed Bingham State Park.

These are the spills, as reported in the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) Sewage Spills Report. WWALS commends GA-EPD for those online reports. GA-EPD can’t publish spills until it receives reports from the spilling organizaiton. Maybe Ashburn could be a bit more timely in reporting. Continue reading

Last day to comment against M-CORES, and NRTR publishes analysis of comments 2020-10-14

Florida has a billion-dollar budget shortfall, yet the toll road task forces are still reporting go-aheads while finding no need for their destructive projects. Today is the last comment day to tell the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) what you think about that. Plus today you can listen to the No Roads to Ruin Coalition spell out the overwhelming public opposition to this toll roads boondoggle.

How to comment to FDOT about M-CORES:

  1. FDOT.Listens@dot.state.fl.us
  2. or use this comment form:
    https://floridamcores.com/#contact-us

Just like SH 130 in Texas, these Florida toll roads would be broke from the start, while sucking up funds that should go to pandemic relief and to conserving Florida’s natural environment, including regular, frequent, closely-spaced water quality testing on all of Florida’s rivers. Florida should be doing those things, not risking the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers, their springs, agriculture, forests, swamps, and the Floridan Aquifer for unnecessary toll roads.

[Florida Suncoast Conector and Texas SH 130: broke from the start]
Florida Suncoast Conector and Texas SH 130: broke from the start

Also today, the No Roads To Ruin (NRTR) coalition, of which Suwannee Riverkeeper is a charter member, will release an analysis of public comments.

After 15 months of public meetings and collecting public comment in multiple formats for the three M-CORES task forces, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has yet to provide, to the task force members or the public, a complete record and accounting of public comment submissions.

To rectify this situation, the No Roads to Ruin Coalition has gathered, categorized, and will share and summarize those public comments, along with the obvious probable reasons for FDOT’s lack of transparency.

WHAT: No Roads to Ruin Coalition Zoom press conference and Facebook Live event

WHEN: October 14, 2020 at 10:30 to 11:00 a.m.

WHO: Jon Bleyer, Progress Florida Online Communications Specialist, Ryan Smart, Florida Springs Council Executive Director, and volunteer “comment counters” from across the state

WHERE: Facebook Live: www.facebook.com/noroadstoruin

Suwannee Riverkeeper has signed on to an NRTR letter against M-CORES, as has Waterkeepers Florida on behalf of all 14 Waterkeepers of Florida.

For why, you need go no farther than The Suncoast Corridor Task Force’s own Study Area Overview:

[SCC MCORES-Draft-Task-Force-Report-Sections-9.28.20-0009]
SCC MCORES-Draft-Task-Force-Report-Sections-9.28.20-0009
PDF

The predominately rural counties located within the Suncoast Corridor study area contain natural resources, landscapes, and public lands that have been highly attractive to residents and year-round visitors for decades. This area has many unique features and natural resources including rivers, springs, wetlands, aquifer recharge areas, coastal areas, conservation areas, state parks, and agricultural lands. Some notable resources include the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve, the Flint Rock and Aucilla Wildlife Management Areas, the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers, Blue Springs, Fanning Springs, Crystal River, and the Goethe State Forest. The study area also contains numerous large acreage conservation easements. These areas support significant fish, wildlife, and plant populations including threatened and endangered species such as the West Indian manatee, the Florida scrub-jay, and the gopher tortoise. The study area also includes an abundance of prime farmlands and agricultural properties that serve both economic and environmental functions in addition to Spring Protection and Recharge Areas, prospective Florida Forever Lands on the current priority lists for acquisition, and Florida Ecological Greenways Network critical linkages.

Why would we want to risk all that for an unnecessary toll road?

Even the Suncoast Connector Task Force’s own report admits that the public comments were overwhelmingly against that toll road:

A summary of the most common comments/themes received from the public are included below.

  • Concern for impacts to wildlife habitat (946 comments)
  • Concern for impacts to property and rural quality of life (783 comments)
  • Support to expand, improve, and maintain existing roads (421 comments)
  • Need to improve and protect water resources and the aquifer (421 comments)
  • Concern over project cost (367 comments)
  • Need for protection and enhancement of conservation lands (356 comments)
  • Support the need for jobs, economic development and business enhancements; but concern over potential negative economic impacts (269 comments)
  • Concern over the cost of tolls (256 comments)
  • Concern for impacts to wetlands (169 comments)
  • Concern for increased water, ground, and air pollution (147 comments)
  • Need for hurricane evacuation (144 comments)
  • Concern over location/project alignment or route (137 comments)
  • Support for multi-modal/mass transit (144 comments)
  • Need for broadband (117 comments)

As many of us have pointed out, you don’t need a toll road to distribute broadband to rural areas.

Local solar panels with battery backup and more hurricane shelters make a lot more sense and would be far less expensive than a toll road encouraging mass evacuation.

Also remember the Northern Turnpike Connector toll road boondoggle overlaps the Suwannee River Basin in Levy County.

Please comment today!

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Video: WWALS Boomerang on Scott James Radio 2020-10-13

It was amusing and useful to talk with Scott James on his radio show this morning, about the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back (tickets still $20 through Thursday, then $30), about cleanups and please vote Yes on Georgia Amendment 1 to stop state fee trust fund diversions, about the Halloween Blue Hunter’s Moon paddle on Banks Lake (wear your costume), and about water quality testing and Eco-Tourism.


[WWALS Boomerang]
WWALS Boomerang

Here are links to videos of each topic, reorganized a bit, plus some explanations. Continue reading

Who’s the Chair and the Board? Land purchase and toll roads @ SRWMD 2020-10-13

On tomorrow morning’s 9AM Board Consent Agenda is acquisition of ten acres on the Withlacoochee River in Hamilton County near Georgia. The toll roads (M-CORES) are on the Workshop agenda for after the board meeting, along with Water Quality Review, Poe Springs, and Rum Island Park. There’s nothing about Nestlé, but that doesn’t have to stop you talking about it in Public Comments.

News reports say seven of nine positions have been filled, but their own Current Governing Board Members web page only shows five for the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board. That page says Virginia H. Johns is still the Chair, but last month she handed the gavel to Richard Schwab, even though he is still listead as the Vice Chair.

[Board, Drufner Tract]
Board, Drufner Tract

You can attend tomorrow morning’s meeting from anyway. If you want to speak, you must sign up on the public comment form as well as for the webinar and the voice call-in number.

The Meeting will be conducted via GoTo Webinar for Presentations Only

GoTo Webinar Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6241426543382591502

Separate Call-In Number for Audio

Toll Free 1-888-585-9008 – Conference Room Number: 704-019-452 #

Public Comment Form Link: www.MySuwanneeRiver.com/Comments

Who’s the Chair? Who’s the Board?

Interesting note in the minutes from the 3PM September 8, 2020, meeting: Continue reading