Tag Archives: basin

Help upgrade our Suwannee River Basins in Georgia

We asked the state of Georgia to upgrede our main Suwannee River Basin rivers (and some lakes and swamps) from their current lowest water quality classification as Fishing to what they really are: Recreational Use. You can help!

[Georgia landings in Suwannee River Basin]

Every three years, federal law requires each state to review its water quality standards. 2019 is such a year for Georgia, so the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) is conducting a Triennial Review. The request WWALS sent to GA-EPD, background, and their response are all on the WWALS website. Our request was rather long, with 23 pages asking for reclassification of the Suwannee River, the Okefenokee Swamp, the Alapaha River, Lake Irma, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, the Withlacoochee River, the Little River, and Reed Bingham State Park Lake, all from Fishing to Recreational Use. The WWALS cover letter is included at the end of this blog post. For the rest, see the WWALS website.

The response thus far from GA-EPD has some good news: Continue reading

Paddle Georgia, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers, into Florida 2019-06-15-21

Update 2019-06-08: Reroute due to lack of rain.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, February 13, 2019 — From next to the largest Suwannee River Basin city, Valdosta, to between some of the smallest, Mayo and Luraville, Paddle Georgia brings 300 people this summer to venture for the first time across the state line from Georgia to Florida, on the Little, Withlacoochee, and Suwannee Rivers, June 15 through 21, 2019.

Banners picture,
WWALS Withlacoochee River outing 2017-06-24

“Five years ago I suggested our Withlacoochee River to Joe Cook for Paddle Georgia, and he went one better, adding the Suwannee River, past two of the few second-magnitude springs in Georgia, McIntyre and Arnold, and two of the famous first-magnitude Florida Springs: Madison Blue and Lafayette,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Plus Spook Bridge and the orphaned railroad trestle near Madison, with many shoals and rapids at the GA-FL line! Special thanks to The Langdale Company for permission to take out just below Spook Bridge. Personally, I like that this paddle starts at my birthplace in Valdosta, Georgia and ends at my grandmother’s birthplace at the ferry site for Luraville, Florida.”

This event is organized by Paddle Georgia, with catered dinners and buses to and from the rivers. WWALS is assisting, for example by organizing the Spook Bridge takeout, and by pointing out many sites that non-locals might miss, ranging from springs, and Withlacoochee River agates, and the halberd-leaf rosemallow, whose blooms last only one day, to perpetual bothers such as Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Continue reading

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

Spills reported to GA-EPD Atlanta, 2018-11-13 through 2018-12-03

Thanks again to GA-EPD Atlanta for rapid response to a request for an update on spills reported to them. They note that some spills due to the recent rains, including Valdosta’s weekend multi-million-gallon spill, have not yet been reported to Atlanta.

This update does include a spill of raw sewage by the city of Quitman. I wonder, though, was it really 2 gallons? Or did they mean in units of thousands or millions? Also, Quitman is in the Suwannee River Basin, not the Ochlockonee River Basin.

Last two weeks, Spreadsheet
The past two weeks extracted from the GA-EPD update, sorted by begin date, and with the River Basin column shifted left for visibility.

Posting this data enables some debugging of the data such as Continue reading

Low water in Suwannee River Basin with Hurricane Michael 2018-10-11

Thursday morning, the day after Hurricane Michael passed by to the west and north of the Suwannee River Basin, only Gopher River and the New River gauge near Lake Butler were in Action Stage.

Gulf to Atlantic, After Gauges

Does a place that nearly floods even when a hurricane is a hundred miles west of it seem like a good location for the HPS II phosphate mine, in Union and Bradford Counties, Florida ? Continue reading

Videos: Tour of Valdosta WTPs 2018-10-03

Thanks to Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse and staff for the Tour of Valdosta wastewater treatment plants Wednesday. Afterwards, I got them to sit down in a conference room and say again the most important points. They said what they had done to prevent future spills like the big ones this year.

Valdosta staff,
Counterclockwise from front: Utilities Director Darryl Muse, Public Information Officer Ashlyn Becton, Environmental Manager Scott Fowler, Mud Creek WTP Superintendent Mud Creek Stanley K. Martin.

We also elicited Valdosta Utilities’ view on the letter establishing the Middle and Lower Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River Task Force, which was mainly Continue reading

Committee meeting in Valdosta and draft sponsor banners: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2018-03-14

Last week the Committee met by telephone. This week it will meet in person, tomorrow, in Valdosta for the first time.

When: 1PM Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Where: Michael’s Deli, 1307 N Ashley St, Valdosta, GA 31601-4017
To attend by telephone, contact us for the number.

Event: facebook, meetup

What: Finishing up contest rules, entry form, scorecards for selecting finalists and winners, sponsor application form, and banners for sponsors. Oh, and a date to start accepting submissions and a budget.

Draft sponsor banners: Which one do you like? Here are five sketches: mix and match what you would like to see flying over sponsor businesses and festival booths.

Banner 1: music and long SuwRK banner, Draft Banners

The Contest

Continue reading

Hahira passed resolution supporting Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail 2018-02-01

Many thanks to the Hahira Mayor and Council for passing a resolution in support of the water trail for the rivers that run less than six miles west (the Little River) and east (the Withlacoochee River) of the Hahira Courthouse where they met.

Clear view, City Council
Left to right: Council Patrick Warren (District 3) Mayor Pro Tem Kenneth Davis (District 2), Mayor Bruce Cain, Empty Chair for City Attorney Rob Plumb, City Manager Jonathan Sumner, Council Terry Benjamin (District 1), Council Mason Barfield (District 4), City Clerk Lisa Mashburn.

I spoke briefly at their Work Session, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, outlining the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) and the resolution, and I invited them to upcoming WWALS outings. Several of the Council had positive comments.

Council Patrick Warren also mentioned his fear of Continue reading

Hahira is sixth resolution supporting GA HR 158, now in statehouse 2018-02-01

HR 158 may be scheduled for a vote in the Georgia House as soon as tomorrow. Help dedicate state fees to their intended purposes: please contact your Georgia House Representative or Georgia State Senator (follow the links for contact information) and ask them to pass HR 158. If you don’t know who your Georgia Representative or Senator are, see Georgia My Voter Page.

Hahira is the most recent of six local governments representing the majority of the population in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia, in five Georgia House districts and two Senate districts, that have passed a resolution supporting Georgia HR 158 against state fee diversions, with five stories and an editorial in the biggest circulation newspaper in the Basin. More local resolutions passed elsewhere in the state, but that ain’t bad for the Suwannee River Basin.

Camera, City Council

  1. 2018-01-08 Lanier County, House District 176 (Jason Shaw), Senate District 8 (Ellis Black) Continue reading

Georgia Adopt-A-Stream

First in a series of Where is the existing water quality data? In Georgia, it’s in Georgia Adopt-A-Stream’s database, online maps, charts, etc. And Adopt-A-Stream is not just for Georgia anymore.

Suwannee River Basin, Maps

The data record for the Suwannee River Basin is embarrassingly empty.

Suwannee River Basin, Maps

TN, SC, GA, FL, Maps

However, it turns out there’s data in Tennessee, South Carolina, and in Florida way down to Key West. So Georgia Adopt-A-Stream is a candidate for keeping Suwannee Riverkeeper data. Of which there turns out to be quite a bit already for Florida, Continue reading