Category Archives: Quality

Pilgrim’s Pride to pay $1.43 million Suwannee River pollution to settle lawsuit by Environment Florida and Sierra Club 2017-11-14

Despite what we heard at the BMAP meeting Tuesday, it turns out Best Management Practices (BMP) are not all that can be done to fix fertilizer nitrate runoff in the Suwannee Rier Basin. “More than $1 million of the Pilgrim’s penalty would fund a program to help nearby farmers reduce their pollution as well.” The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS) could also ask the legislature for further such funding, in addition to recommending BMPs. Congratulations, Environment Florida and Sierra Club, for doing what the state of Florida has not!

Pilgrims Pride, US 90,
Photo: Dominic Gheesling for WWALS on Southwings flight 22 October 2016, Pilgrims Pride, US 90, 30.3648380, -83.1636130

Another chicken breeder is setting up in the Suwannee River Basin, near Quitman in Brooks County Georgia, next to Okapilco Creek, which flows into the Withlacoochee River and then the Suwannee River. We’ll be watching.

Drains south, Piscola Creek

  • Video by Environment Florida, starring Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson (Sierra Club), Jeniffer Rubiello (Environment Florida), and Heather Govern (attorney, National Environmental Law Center), and Whitey Markle (Suwannee-St Johns Group, Sierra Club Florida). Continue reading

Draft Suwannee River Basin Management Action Plan 2017-11-14

Today, 6PM, in Live Oak, now with draft plan:

To: Suwannee River Basin BMAP Stakeholders
From: Terry Hansen, Basin Coordinator

The Draft BMAP for the Lower and Middle Suwannee River, Withlacoochee River, and associated springs to be discussed at the November 14th, 2017 meeting has been posted to:.

Figure ES-1. Suwannee River BMAP and PFA boundaries

http://publicfiles.dep.state.fl.us/DEAR/BMAP/Suwannee/DRAFT BMAP/

The Department requests that you please submit any comments on the draft document by COB Thursday, November 30th, 2017.

Meeting Reminder:

November 14, 2017, 6:00 PM,
Suwannee River Water Management District,
9225 CR49 Live Oak, FL 32060 Continue reading

SRWMD BMAP meeting, Live Oak, FL 2017-11-14

Next Tuesday in Live Oak, the latest on BMAPs.

To: Suwannee River Basin BMAP Stakeholders
From: Terry Hansen, Basin Coordinator

Reminder: A meeting for the Lower and Middle Suwannee River, Withlacoochee River, and associated springs Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) is scheduled for November 14th, 2017. Note that everyone is welcome to attend. The primary purpose of this meeting is to discuss and receive comments on the draft BMAP document. The Department requests that you please submit any comments on the draft document by COB Thursday, November 30th, 2017.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
6:00 PM,
Suwannee River Water Management District
9225 CR49
Live Oak, FL 32060

BMAP Area Map
Photo: John S. Quarterman, from BMAPs: Agriculture and water at the Suwannee River Basin crossroads 2017-04-13

A meeting agenda Continue reading

Eric Draper from Audubon Florida to FL State Parks

Noah Valenstein, formerly SRWMD, now FDEP Secretary, has appointed Eric Draper of Audubon Florida to head Florida State Parks. The same Eric Draper who twice endorsed Sabal Trail in writing, and did nothing to stop Sabal Trail from drilling under the Suwannee, Santa Fe, or Withlacoochee (South) Rivers, nor under the Suwannee River State Park that he will now oversee.

Walton Outdoors, Blog, 2 November 2017, Audubon Florida’s former executive director Eric Draper now director of Florida State Parks,

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein today announced three key appointments to DEP’s leadership team, as part of its continued focus on the protection of Florida’s prized properties through the management of Florida’s world-renowned state park system and land acquisition and conservation. Eric Draper will join the DEP team as the Director of Florida State Parks, effective Nov. 28, and Callie DeHaven will serve as Interim Director of the Division of State Lands effective Nov. 27, subject to Governor and Cabinet confirmation. David Clark, who has previously served as Director of State Lands and has been acting Deputy Secretary of Land and Recreation, has officially been appointed Deputy Secretary.

4593 E Spruce Dr, Dunnellon, FL 34434,
Aerial west across FL 200, down Withlacoochee (South) River, across Sabal Trail Marion County drill site, and Halpata Tastanaki Preserve. Photo by Jim Tatum on WWALS Southwings flight 7 February 2017.

As Florida State Parks Director, Draper will Continue reading

Heavy manufacturing near chemical leak, upstream from Knights Creek 2017-11-03

It’s not near any hazardous site on GA-EPD’s inventory, but it is right next to multiple heavy manufacturing companies and two railroads, in an area full of wetlands, upstream from Knights Creek, which runs into Mud Swamp Creek, then the Alapahoochee River, then the Alapaha River, then the Suwannee River: last night’s chemical leak on Clay Road next to the Lowndes County Schools Transportation Center on Howell Road.

Valorgis: heavy manufacturing, Clay Road
Valorgis: Clay Road, dark grey is zoned heavy manufacturing

According to the Lowndes County Tax Assessors maps, north up Clay Road are Steeda Autosports, Letica, Archer Daniels Midland, and other heavy manufacturing sites. Maybe the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department and Valdosta Police should be asking them Continue reading

Dust storm in Hamilton County, FL 2017-10-29

Pesticide dust blew across the road between the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers just the other day:

Dust storm hiding power line pylons, On SW 69th Drive
Photo: WWALS member Chris Mericle, looking north from SW 69th Drive

Nearby resident and WWALS member Brit McClung says:

“A good portion the chemicals that are applied to that field wind up on my front porch, on me and in my lungs with the dirt.”

His land is just northeast and a church is southeast of Continue reading

Valdosta Wastewater Signals Uncrossed

Thanks to new Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse, we think we have communication channels clarified between Valdosta and WWALS, and we have a proposal for the state of Georgia to do what Florida and Alabama are already doing to prevent communication issues in the future.

Especially since we expected paddlers from Atlanta and Gainesville, Florida, at the Saturday October 14 Withlacoochee outing and Rivers Alive Nankin Landing Cleanup in conjunction witih KLVB, I called upstream the Thursday before to check with Valdosta Utilities, and was told no spills in October.

Much to our surprise after the outing, WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman noticed this online: Thomas Lynn, Valdosta Daily Times, 13 October 2017, Sewer blockage causes city pill,

A sewer line blockage caused nearly 4,000 gallons of sewage to spill earlier in the week.

The City of Valdosta Utilities Department staff responded to a sanitary sewer spill at the 400 block of Connell Road around noon Thursday, according to city officials Friday.

Map: Hydrologic Unit Boundaries, Overview
Hydrologic Unit Boundaries, Two Mile Branch Sub-Basin, Valdosta Master Stormwater Management Plan.

That’s in the top center edge of the Two Mile Branch watershed.

Noon was an hour before I called; keep reading for what happened.

The VDT story continues: Continue reading