Category Archives: Springs

Waterkeepers Florida for home rule, against state pre-emption of environmental ordinances 2020-02-14

On Friday, February 14, 2020, Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) passed this valentine in support of local environmental measures and in opposition to statewide pre-emption:

WKFL to take a position in opposition to state preemption of local governments’ ability to regulate local environmental protections, including, but not limited to, those related to Rights of Nature, single-use plastics or polystyrene, fertilizers, and sunscreens.

[Announce]
Announce

This motion was partly provoked by two bills in the Florida legislature right now that would pre-empt the rapidly growing Florida Rights of Nature movement. You can help stop the bad parts of those bills; follow the link.

But the motion goes beyond that, to other topics, and any pre-emption part of any bill.

Waterkeepers Florida represents all the Waterkeepers of Florida. Continue reading

Florida Sen. Bill Montford hosting Valdosta sewage public meeting in Madison, FL 2020-01-08

Update 2020-01-06: Well testing results, Madison County, FL, after Valdosta sewage spill 2020-01-03.

Florida state Senator Bill Montford has scheduled “a meeting concerning the Valdosta sewage spill issue” this Wednesday afternoon, the same day and before the meeting of the Florida Counties Rivers Task Force with the Valdosta City Council. We have some questions (see below). You probably do too, and you can ask them at one or both of these Wednesday public meetings.

When: 1 PM, Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Where: Madison County University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Office
184 Northwest College Loop, Madison, FL 32340

Event: facebook

Table, Committee

I have confirmed that this Madison meeting is a public meeting. The venue is small, but that’s no reason for the public not to come.

Sen. Montford held a Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper asks Georgia EPD to require Valdosta to do better about its record sewage spill 2019-12-17

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, December 19, 2019 — Compelled by the severity of Valdosta’s record raw sewage spill and the expenses and stigma incurred nearby and downstream, Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS Watershed Coalition has sent a letter requesting ten enforcment actions to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD). WWALS member Deanna Mericle of Hamilton County, Florida, summed it up: “As a person living downstream on the Withlacoochee River in Florida, I feel shat upon by Valdosta over and over. I cannot drink the water from my well. I worry about the health of the river itself and the animals that live in it and drink from it. We in Florida were patient while Valdosta was improving their wastewater plant, which apparently was not adequate since we still have spills when it rains heavily. But this time it was not a rain event. It was gross negligence. I am out of patience. I believe it is time for legal action.”

The Suwannee Riverkeeper letter notes GA-EPD already has a legal action against Valdosta, a Consent Order. WWALS asks GA-EPD to use its enforcement power to require notification, water quality testing, education, and plans and procedures not only for preventing such spills but also for tracking them as they travel down our creeks and rivers and for remediation of effects on wells and reputation.

[2019-12-17--WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001]
2019-12-17–WWALS-GA-EPD-Valdosta-sewage-0001

“Valdosta says it does what GA-EPD tells it to do, so we’re asking GA-EPD to tell them,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Today we’re forwarding the letter to Continue reading

Pothole Spring, Suwannee River, Dixie County, Florida 2019-11-13

SRWMD checked on Pothole Spring, found it normal, and asks everyone to send in pictures of how they have seen it. This is on the Suwannee River in Dixie County, Florida.

[Looking out to the Suwannee River]
Looking out to the Suwannee River
Photo by Marc Minno, Suwannee River Water Management District on November 13, 2019.

Received November 13, 2019 from Marc Minno, Water Resource Coordinator, Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD):

I visited Pothole Spring today with colleagues to see if there is some problem. The spring is located on the west side of the Suwannee River at the southern end of the Suwannee River Water Management District’s Booker Springs Tract in Dixie County, Florida. Following is a description from Springs of Florida, Continue reading

Santa Fe Gilchrist Blue Springs Hopping and Camping 2019-02-01-02 2020-02-01-02

Spring Hopping and overnight camping on the newest addition to the Suwannee Riverkeeper: the Santa Fe River. Includes Ginnie Springs, where Nestlé wants still more water, and you can still comment to SRWMD against Nestlé water withdrawals there and elsewhere.

One night of camping at Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park and two days of spring hopping on the Santa Fe River. We will meet at 10 a.m. at the Santa Fe Public Boat Ramp and drop kayaks and gear. Then we will shuttle to the takeout at Gilchrist County Santa Fe River Park on SR 47. We will explore the many beautiful springs along the river and stop at Gilchrist Blue Springs for overnight camping. State park rates apply. Campers will need to bring all their camping equipment and food in their kayaks. Sunday morning we will pack up and launch at 10 a.m. and continue downstream, exploring more springs along the way to the takeout.

Campers should reserve their sites at ReserveAmerica.com. If you want to share a site, leave a comment below. Eight people and two vehicles are allowed at each site.

Those who don’t want to camp are still welcomed to come for the day paddle for a total of 10 miles.

When: Gather 10 AM, launch 11 AM, Saturday, February 1, 2020
Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, Sunday, Febuary 2, 2020

Put In: River Rise Ramp @ US 27. From High Springs, travel north on US 27 crossing the Santa Fe River and the boat ramp is on the right, in Columbia County.

GPS: 29.844121, -82.6309

Camping: Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park first day.

Take Out: Santa Fe River County Park Ramp @ FL 47. From Ft. White, travel south on SR 47; cross the Santa Fe River and the boat ramp is on the left in the county park in Gilchrist County.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) per day for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

Gilghrist Blue Springs
Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park.

Continue reading

Cindy Leighton with Paddle Georgia on the Withlacoochee River –Herald-Leader 2019-08-28

The story begins, “When Cindy Leighton set out on the 2019 Paddle Georgia trip on June 15, putting her kayak into the waters of the Little River, she was taking part in something Paddle Georgia hasn’t done before — heading to Florida.”

WWALS member Cindy Leighton sent us images of this story by Sherri Butler, Herald-Leader, Fitzgerald, Ben Hill County, Georgia, Section B Feature Front, August 28, 2019, Paddle Georgia crosses the line for a river journey spotlighting lue springs of Florida, which goes beyond Paddle Georgia into Water Trails and River Camps.

[Front page]
Front page

On the feature front page, Continue reading

Two thirds of SRWMD Board half there 2019-09-18

It was surprisingly interactive meeting, with the Board members repeatedly questioning staff about multiple projects, sometimes taking up points raised from the audience. One Board Member even stopped a project. Yet half the rump board was not visible, being on the telephone, and the Budget Public Hearing may or may not have been legal.

Nestlé Water Withdrawal Permits

At the rescheduled September SRWMD Board meeting, OSFR President Mike Roth questioned the validity of the permitting process for Nestlé’s proposed 1.2 million gallon per day water withdrawal from Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, since the actual application is from Seven Springs, which proposes to sell the water to Nestlé, which is not a use authorized by Florida Statutes.

[OSFR President]
OSFR President

I seconded that, and added that the SRWMD Board should revisit Nestlé’s permit for water withdrawal at Madison Blue Springs on the Withlacoochee River, since Florida Statutes to authorize them to do that.

You can comment to SRWMD about Nestlé’s permits.

Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR, of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman
Photo: Jim Tatum for OSFR, of Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman

Afterwards, SRWMD’s Tom Mirti told me the $70,000 contract with SRWMD for Nestlé to support springs water quality monitoring is required by the Nestlé permit for Madison Blue Spring, even though it has to be negotiated separately. Apparently yet another open records request is needed.

Invisible and Missing Board Members

Continue reading

WWALS at South Georgia Pride Saturday 2019-09-21

Come on down to the South Georgia Pride Festival in Saunders Park in Valdosta this Saturday. At the WWALS booth you can play the froggy toss game and talk about our outings and advocacy, including how you can volunteer to help keep our waters clean!

When: Noon-5PM, Saturday, September 21, 2019

Where: John W. Saunders Park, 1151 River Street, Valdosta, Georgia

Event: facebook

[Froggy Toss]
Froggy Toss

Maybe we’ll do water quality tests on Sugar Creek. Continue reading

Pictures: WWALS at South Georgia Pride 2018-09-15

It was a fun time last year at South Georgia Pride. Join us at Saunders Park again this Saturday!

[Gretchen at the booth]
Gretchen at the booth

Maybe Barber Spring will be running. Maybe we’ll do water quality tests on Sugar Creek. Continue reading

Two reappointed to SRWMD so quorum for Wednesday Budget Public Hearing 2019-09-18

Sudden quorum for Budget Public Hearing, Pilgrim’s Pride withdrawal as Renewal rather than Modification, and Nestlé still not on the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) agenda for this Wednesday afternoon at 3PM. But don’t let that stop you from asking SRWMD to deny Nestlé’s application for more water from Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, and to revisit Nestlé’s withdrawal permit from Madison Blue Spring on the Withlacoochee River.

[Apparently two have been reappointed]
Apparently two have been reappointed

Apparently the Florida Governor has reappointed two SRWMD board members, Charles Keith and Richard Schwab, since they show up again on the SRWMD Current Governing Board Members web page.

I don’t know whether they were reappointed to the same slots or not, since there was no announcement that I have found. Charles Keith was At Large and Richard Schwab was Coastal River Basin.

So they’re back up to Continue reading