Category Archives: Politics

Coal Ash, Trust Funds, and Water Quality Testing at Lowndes County Bird Supper in Atlanta 2019-02-13

Last night Georgia legislators from all over the state, including numerous committee chairs, feasted on quail supplied by Lowndes County and Valdosta in the annual Bird Supper, a six-decade tradition of local lobbying in the Georgia state capitol.

Packed house, Inside

I thanked Jeff Jones (District 167) for his new coal ash bills, and reminded other legislators to vote for them this year, like they did his earlier ones last year: Continue reading

Florida Waterkeepers at PIEC 25 in Gainesville, FL 2019-02-08

Matanzas Riverkeeper Jen Lomberk, St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, Miami Waterkeeper Staff Attorney Kelly Cox presented a panel on Keeping Watch Over Our Waters: Florida’s Riverkeepers, on the agenda for PIEC 25.

[Miami Waterkeeper attorney Kelly Cox]
Miami Waterkeeper attorney Kelly Cox

Also in the room were Continue reading

Waterkeepers Florida in Gainesville, FL 2019-02-08-09

Update 2019-02-09: Pictures.

All the Waterkeepers of Florida are gathered today and tomorrow at the 25th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference (PIEC) at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

PIEC 25 banner

On the agenda in the afternoon 2PM session today:

Keeping Watch Over Our Waters: Florida’s Riverkeepers Location: MLAC Courtroom Continue reading

Videos: All Georgia Riverkeepers speak to American Fisheries Society 2019-02-06

Possibly for the first time ever, all of the Riverkeepers of Georgia spoke at the same event.

[All Georgia Riverkeepers]
All Georgia Riverkeepers: Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers, Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus, Ogeechee Riverkeeper Damon Mullis, Altamaha Riverkeeper Jen Hilburn, Upper Coosa Riverkeeper Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman, St Marys Riverkeeper Anna Laws, Satilla Riverkeeper Laura Early, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (Chattahoochee had already left).

Below are links to the WWALS video of each talk, followed by a WWALS video playlist. See also the program, and a few more pictures.

All Georgia Riverkeepers speak Wednesday to American Fisheries Society 2019-02-06

Update 2019-02-08: Video.

Apparently for the first time ever, all the Riverkeepers of Georgia will be speaking at the same event. Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers passed on the invitation from the Georgia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (GA-AFS) to speak at their annual conference.

When: Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Where: Lake Blackshear Resort, 2459-H US Highway 280 West Cordele, GA 31015

What: 2019 GA-AFS Chapter Annual Meeting

Lake Blackshear Resort

Continue reading
Wednesday (continued), February 6, 2019
SESSION 3: GEORGIA’S RIVERKEEPERS (SYMPOSIA)

John S. Quarterman: Sewage spills in Georgia affecting Suwannee River basin, Gainesville Sun, 2019-01-31

Online today and in the paper Gainesville Sun this coming Sunday. To paddle the most-affected stretch of the Withlacoochee River, join us this Saturday morning.


A December upsurge of raw sewage spills from the city of Valdosta, Georgia, has a dozen downstream counties organized into a task force, demanding action from Florida state legislators. But what action?

I recommend first getting a grip on the extent of the problem, keeping that picture up to date and then funding fixes.

[Water]
Photo: John S. Quarterman of Sara Jay, Water Temperature, TGroupville Boat Ramp, Little River, 2019-01-06

Valdosta spilled not just twice, but two dozen times in December, totaling more than 6 million gallons of raw sewage. Spills also happened in Tifton, Quitman and Lowndes County, Georgia.

We know this because Continue reading

Wastewater at Valdosta City Council, Winter 2018-2019

While the Rivers Task Force of the dozen downstream Florida counties is looking for something to do to help, Valdosta clearly hasn’t yet done enough to stop its sewage spills, but they are doing more. Here’s some context that may indicate what might help. Spoiler: water quality monitoring, funding for further fixes, and enforcement if necessary. Unless raw sewage spills really are what Valdosta wants to be known for in Tallahassee and Atlanta.

Totals, Table
See Valdosta December 2018 sewage and Hamilton County, FL legislative delegation 2019-01-16″>

Also: come on up and talk to the Valdosta City Council. Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson did, and it got their attention. They keep hearing from me for years now, and it helps to see somebody directly affected downstream come up and speak.

This post is mostly about two Valdosta City Council meetings, that included much discussion of the recent Valdosta wastewater spills, on on Continue reading

Florida counties Task Force about Valdosta Sewage meeting in Lake City 2019-01-24

Received via email today. Most recipients got this notice Friday, but NCFRPC had a typo in my address. Yes, this is 4PM the same day as the 5:30 PM Valdosta City Council meeting. Each county has only one delegate to the Task Force, so maybe they can also send somebody to the City Council meeting.

MEETING NOTICE

MIDDLE AND LOWER SUWANNEE RIVER
AND WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER
TASK FORCE

There will be a meeting of the Middle and Lower Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River Task Force on January 24, 2019, The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 213 Southwest Commerce Boulevard, Lake City, Florida, at 4:00 p.m.

[Holiday Inn, Lake City, FL]
Holiday Inn, Lake City, FL
PDF

A rather vague agenda is included, as well as minutes and slides from the previous meeting.

The only item I don’t recall from the previous meeting is this table, which appears to be Continue reading

WWALS invites downstream counties to Valdosta City Council meeting 2019-01-16

Update 2019-01-22: Yes, that’s the same day as the 4PM meeting in Lake City, Florida of the Task Force of the downstream counties. Since each county only has one Task Force delegate, maybe they can send other people to the Valdosta City Council meeting. Or, if Valdosta is too far for you, maybe you’d like to go to Lake City Thursday.

WWALS Watershed Coalition board member Eileen Box invited downstream counties and residents to come speak to the Valdosta City Council this Thursday. Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman added, “Every Valdosta City Council agenda has Citizens to be Heard. They’re tired of hearing from me about sewage spills. Maybe if some of the affected parties downstream spoke to them directly they would notice. Come on up and give it a try!“

Eileen Box, WWALS Board Member, Suwannee Democrat
Photo: Jamie Wachter, Suwannee Democrat, Youtube video, 2019-01-14.

Jamie Wachter, Suwannee Democrat, January 16, 2019, ‘IT’S A SHAME’ Residents, officials share wastewater spill concerns with legislative delegation,

[Eileen] Box, who is a board member of the Suwannee Riverkeeper, said North Florida residents may need to expand the reach of their complaints. She said those concerns need to be directed at the people who can do something about it — the Valdosta City Council.

“If they start hearing from Suwannee County and Hamilton and Madison and all these counties that are affected, when you come and talk, it does have an effect, she said. That may be one little thing that we can do.”

The next Valdosta City Council meeting is this Thursday:

When: 5:30 PM, Thursday, January 24, 2019

Where: Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
Valdosta City Hall
216 East Central Avenue, Valdosta, GA 31601

What: Agenda Item 5. Citizens to be Heard Continue reading

Water amendments passed 2018-11-06

The obvious water constitutional amendments passed resoundingly in both Florida and Georgia.

FL 9 and GA 1, Water Amendments

By well more than the required 60%, Continue reading