Springs, shoals, and pipeline: Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 21 Sep 2014

Update 5 September 2014: Join us on the rivers even if you’re not yet a member, and many things have happened in the past few weeks: see new post.

Update 25 August 2014: Chris Mericle, our local host for this outing, spoke to the Hamilton County Commission Tuesday 19 August 2014 about what he’s trying to protect from the pipeline.

Paddle past springs, shoals, sinkholes, and where Sabal Trail proposes a fracked methane pipeline to cross the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers in Florida: the WWALS September Outing. Spend five Sunday hours on about ten miles of two of our fabulous southern blackwater rivers.

Meet 10AM Sunday September 21st at the CR 143 Ramp at mile 8 on the Withlacoochee River, 30.449111, -83.221352 or 30° 26′ 56.796″ N 83° 13′ 16.8666″ W. Take out at Anderson Spring, just past I-10, 30° 21′ 10.6806″ N 83° 11′ 21.7314″ S

This event is FREE! All we ask is that you are a current member of WWALS Watershed Coalition. If not, its easy to join online today at http://wwals.com/blog/donations/. Also you can join the facebook event so people can see you’re coming.

And don’t forget the WWALS August Outing on the Alapaha River.

Start: Put In at CR 143

Deposit your boat at the put in (see directions), drive to the take out (see directions), and we’ll shuttle people back to the put in, aiming to be on the water by 11 AM.

Springs and Sinkholes

We will see some of the springs in this excellent video Chris and Deanna Mericle made of springs and sinkholes near where the pipeline would cross the Withlacoochee River:

Sabal Trail crossing the Withlacoochee River

Sabal Trail has filed for an Environmental Resource Permit Exemption for the Withlacoochee and Santa Fe Rivers with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FL-DEP).

The pipeline would cross the Withlacoochee River just east (upstream) (downstream) of the existing pipeline, at about mile 3.8 on this map by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD):

You can see both river crossings on this map Sabal Trail submitted to FERC, the pipeline-permitting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:

All the proposed right of way between the rivers is owned by SRWMD, and here’s what they had to say about the pipeline, Avoid highly sensitive water resource features –SRWMD to FERC.

Shoals on the Withlacoochee River

There are minor shoals on the Withlacoochee River just upstream of FL 141, about mile 2.2 on the SRWMD map.

Sabal Trail crossing the Suwannee River

300x324 Duke Suwannee Plant, in Duke Energy Center, by John S. Quarterman, for WWALS.net, 16 August 2014 On the Suwannee River we will paddle past the Duke Energy Suwannee Plant on the left.

The pipeline would cross the river onto Duke’s property, just east (upstream) of the existing pipeline. See map from Suwannee County Property Appraiser Duke has asked the Florida Public Service Commission (FL PSC) to use Sabal Trail methane for this plant, as well as ones in Polk County and Citrus County. However, Duke says it doesn’t need Sabal Trail for its proposed Citrus County plant.

Sabal Trail has filed an application for an “HDD Crossing” of the Suwannee River with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FL-DEP).

Shoals on the Withlacoochee Suwannee River

Just downstream of the proposed pipeline path there are minor rapids on the Suwannee River.

Take Out at Anderson Spring

Then we pass under I-10, and come to Anderson Spring.

The bank is kind of steep at Anderson Spring, but since we have people who can help others lift boats, it should be no problem.

Why WWALS Opposes the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline

Here’s a WWALS op-ed in the Ocala StarBanner 3 August 2014, Water, property rights over pipeline profits.

Directions from put in to take out:

Drive 11.7 miles, 21 min

  • Head east on SW 64 Way toward SW Co Rd 143
    1.0 mi
  • Turn right onto SW Co Rd 143
    0.6 mi
  • Slight left to stay on SW Co Rd 143
    2.4 mi
  • Turn right onto State Hwy 141/SW Co Rd 141
    Continue to follow State Hwy 141
    The pipeline path crosses FL 141 east of the existing pipeline.
    2.7 mi
  • Turn left onto US-90 E (FL 10)
    2.7 mi
    The pipeline path crosses US-90 just east of the existing pipeline.
  • Turn right onto River Rd
  • Entrance to Anderson Springs will be on your right.

Directions to the put in at CR 143 boatramp:

From Tifton, Adel, or Valdosta, Georgia:

  • Head south on I-75
  • Take exit 467 from I-75 S
    64.1 mi / 53 min
  • Continue on NW Co Rd 143. Drive to SW 64 Way
    14.9 mi / 23 min
  • Merge onto NW Co Rd 143/Hamilton Ave
    Continue to follow NW Co Rd 143
    10.1 mi
  • Turn left onto FL-6 E
    0.8 mi
  • Take the 2nd right onto SW Co Rd 143
    1.8 mi
  • Turn left to stay on SW Co Rd 143
    0.5 mi
  • Turn right to stay on SW Co Rd 143
    0.7 mi
  • Take the 2nd right onto SW 64 Way
    Continue to the boat ramp.

From Jasper, Hamilton County, Florida:

Drive 20.3 miles, 30 min

  • Travel north on US 41 to SR 6
  • turn left on SR 6
  • travel south on SW CR 141 to SW CR 143
  • turn right and follow SW CR 143 to SW 64 Way and follow to ramp

From Madison, Madison County, Florida:

Drive 16.8 miles, 25 min

  • Take FL-6 E to SW Co Rd 143 in Hamilton County
    12.5 mi / 14 min
  • Follow SW Co Rd 143 to SW 64 Way
    4.3 mi / 11 min
  • Turn right onto SW Co Rd 143
    1.8 mi
  • Turn left to stay on SW Co Rd 143
    0.5 mi
  • Turn right to stay on SW Co Rd 143
    0.7 mi
  • Take the 2nd right onto SW 64 Way
    Continue to the boat ramp.

From Gainesville, Alachua, Fort White, or Lake City, Florida:

  • Head north on I-75
  • Take exit 460 from I-75 N
    37.5 mi / 31 min
  • Continue on FL-6 W. Drive to SW 64 Way
    12.8 mi / 19 min
  • Turn left onto FL-6 W
    9.2 mi
  • Turn left onto SW 35th Ave
    1.4 mi
  • Turn right onto SW 59th Pl
    0.3 mi
  • Take the 1st left to stay on SW 59th Pl
    0.3 mi
  • Continue straight onto SW Co Rd 143
    0.7 mi
  • Turn right onto SW 64 Way
    Continue to the boat ramp.