Tag Archives: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Current Situation of Water Quality Testing, Suwannee River Basin 2020-08-02

People mostly don’t know about all the additional testing, nor the cows, nor the new Consent Order on Valdosta.

Even if you’ve been following the Withlacoochee River water quality situation, some of what has happened and has been discovered is probably not obvious. Here is an attempt to describe the current situation, many of the people and organizations involved, and some things you can do to help. See also printable PDF.

[Page 01]

August 2, 2020

To: Potential Partners in helping clean up the Withlacoochee River

Re: Current Situation of Water Quality Testing, Suwannee River Basin

Dear Potential Partner,

Trudy Cole wrote about water quality testing for WWALS:

“We do this so not just our grandchildren,
but your grandchildren have clean water to drink, fish, and swim in.

“Clean water, it’s not just important,
it is vital.”

We’ve never found anyone who wants to swim, boat, or fish in dirty water, much less drink it. Continue reading

Florida clean? Withlacoochee River 2020-07-30

Where is that E. coli going once it crosses the state line on the Withlacoochee River?

We don’t know, but at 4:39 PM Friday FDEP updated its online spreadsheet to contain very good results for Thursday at GA 31 (State Line), CR 150 (Sullivan Launch), and FL 6 (just above Madison Blue Spring).

[Swim Guide green for Florida]
Swim Guide green for Florida

Accordingly, we have set all the Florida “beaches” green on Swim Guide.

Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramps remain red.

[How green in Florida?]
How green in Florida?
For the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results, and further context, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Thanks to Madison Health for continuing to test downstream in Florida.

What’s happening farther downstream on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers? We don’t know: nobody is testing down there.

Floridians: maybe you’d like to ask your statehouse elected officials to fund FDEP to implement regular river testing all the way from the state line to the Gulf. If Valdosta can do it, the great state of Florida can do it. For that matter, FDEP told us last November that they already had money for that and were allocating it regionally. Maybe you’d like to ask FDEP to allocate some of it to the Suwannee River Basin.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Suwannee Springs work in progress 2020-07-22

The Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) is removing the debris from Suwannee Springs that was left by recent flooding of the Suwannee River.

[Four views of Suwannee Springs]
Four views of Suwannee Springs

When I spoke to Edwin McCook, SRWMD Sr. Land Management Specialist, yesterday, he mentioned that SRWMD is looking into further improvements beyond just the debris removal and fixing the staircase mentioned in the SRWMD PR below. It will probably take a few weeks to decide what more can be done. When we know more, I’ll post more. Continue reading

Excellent water quality, Withlacoochee River, but raining now 2020-07-22

Update 2020-07-27: Alert bacteria level at GA 133, Withlacoochee River, Friday 2020-07-24.

Valdosta already reported downstream Withlacoochee River results for Wednesday! They are excellent: 30 cfu/100 mL E. coli for Okapilco Creek @ US 84, same for Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramps, and 40 for State Line: all well below the 126 longterm average limit. Valdosta results for Friday and Monday were similar, so the longterm average is in fact excellent. Plus we have Thursday and Tuesday Florida results, none higher than 10 for any of GA 31 (State Line), CR 150 (Sullivan Launch), or FL 6 (Madison Blue Spring). All that backs up the zero WWALS tester Suzy Hall got at State Line Boat Ramp Saturday.

Upstream, the most recent results from Valdosta are 30 for US 41, 140 for GA 133, and 0 (zero) for US 84, which is as good as it gets.

However, the UGA station for Dixie, GA, on the west side of Brooks County, already reported more than an inch of rain. Not so much rain anywhere else, so we don’t know what that rain will wash to the waterways. WWALS will be testing this weekend.

[Accuweather Radar]
Accuweather Radar Map.

Here’s the data: Continue reading

Bad Friday and Saturday water quality results, Withlacoochee River 2020-07-11

Update 2020-07-14: Bad Friday and Saturday water quality results, Withlacoochee River 2020-07-11.

Not looking good downstream on the Withlacoochee River. Madison Health unusually tested on a Friday, and found too-high E. coli results at Florida 6, just above Madison Blue Spring: 414 cfu/100 mL. Saturday, WWALS results at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp were horrible: 5,233. Nankin Boat Ramp results were merely too high: 600. State Line Boat Ramp was within acceptable limits Saturday, but that contamination probably washed down that far by Sunday and well into Florida by this morning.

[Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for collecting those downstream Withlacoochee River samples, and to Suzy Hall for providing the results. See also What do these numbers mean?

[Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6]
Dirty Knights Ferry, Nankin, FL 6
For the complete WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results and other context, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Friday Conn got 2,100 on Crooked Creek at Devane Road. Remember, Crooked Creek runs into Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84. That 2,100 is actually lower than many results we’ve seen at that location, and Crooked Creek has much less flow than Okapilco Creek. So that number is not enough to account for the 5,233 downstream of Okapilco Creek on the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp the next day. Did it come from somewhere else, such as upstream on Okapilco Creek?

This map may help with understanding where all these places are.

[Landings, Suwannee River Basin, WWALS Map]
Landings in Suwannee River Basin, WWALS Map

However many places the E. coli came from, there is reason to believe that the most likely sources are cattle.

[Little River, Swim Guide]
Little River, Swim Guide

Meanwhile on Saturday, upstream WWALS testers Conn Cole and John S. Quarterman found good results on the Little River at GA 76 (Cook County Boat Ramp) and GA 122 (Folsom Bridge Landing), as well as at GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River (Hagan Bridge Landing). Friday Conn Cole aso got good results on Okapilco Creek at US 84.

Plus, Valdosta’s Friday results for US 41, GA 133, and US 84 are all good. Valdosta did get a high Fecal coliform result for US 41, but we go by E. coli. Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for getting these Valdosta Friday results published this morning.

Back downstream, you don’t even have to count the blue-with-bubbles colonies to see Continue reading

Central Florida Water Initiative Rulemaking Workshop 2020-07-09

Whatever happens in this workshop will no doubt be used as a precedent later for rules affecting the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

[CFWI Workshop scheduled for July 9, 2020]
CFWI Workshop scheduled for July 9, 2020
PDF

The three water management districts not named in that announcement are Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).

SRWMD is not among the three. But remember, SJRWMD and SRWMD in 2017 jointly approved a North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan back in 2017.

Text of the Notice

Continue reading

Florida lifts Withlacoochee River advisory; more rain could mean more contamination 2020-06-11

Update 2020-06-16: All eight Withlacoochee River landings green 2020-06-14

Valdosta’s Wednesday Knights Ferry result is not pretty: 2,300 cfu/100 mL E. coli, far over the 1,000 alert limit. Previously, I said we wouldn’t turn Swim Guide green until we saw that result. Plus, much more rain fell Friday on Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia. Also, Valdosta got 1,500 on Okapilco Creek at US 84, even worse than the 833 I got there that same Wednesday (see yellow highlighted area).

So, Swim Guide stays red for the Withlacoochee River in Georgia. But Swim Guide goes green for Florida; see below. See also below for the Little and Alapaha Rivers.

WWALS will test tomorrow. You can help.

[More rain means...?]
More rain means…?
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

After two consecutive days of good results from the state line downstream (see green highlighted area), the Florida Department of Health lifted yesterday, June 12, 2020, the Advisory they issued June 9, 2020. Continue reading

Florida, and Upstream water quality tests for Lowndes and Brooks Counties, GA 2020-06-10

Update 2020-06-13: Florida lifts Withlacoochee River advisory; more rain could mean more contamination 2020-06-11.

The Withlacoochee River from the state line to the Suwannee River looked much better Wednesday, according to FDEP results.

Upstream on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers and two out of three creeks in Brooks County, not so good, according to samples I took Wednesday.

Valdosta’s Wednesday results fill in US 41 (North Valdosta Road), GA 133, and US 84 on the Withlacoochee River. We await Valdosta’s Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramp results.

Meanwhile, you can help.

[Withlacoochee R. @ GA 122 to Suwannee R. @ US 90]
Withlacoochee R. @ GA 122 to Suwannee R. @ US 90
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Thanks to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for testing from GA 31 as far downstream as US 90.

[Horn Bridge, GA 31, Withlacoochee River]
Horn Bridge, GA 31, Withlacoochee River

But where did the contamination go? Did it get diluted? Or did it just wash farther downstream? Continue reading

Three Little River Landings in Swim Guide 2020-05-21

WWALS has added three more “beaches” on Swim Guide, this time on the Little River.

Our 300 closest friends from #PaddleGA2019 will recognize one of these, where they all put in for seven days on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers last summer: Cook County Boat Ramp (GA 76), Folsom Bridge Landing (GA 122), and Troupville Boat Ramp (GA 133).

[Laptop]
Laptop
In the app, these beaches will appear if you are near.
In the web interface, search for: georgia little river withlacoochee.

All are marked green for “Meets water quality standards” due to the zero (0) E. coli result I got at Cook County Boat Ramp Saturday, which is upstream on the Little River from the other two, combined with the zero result Suzy Hall got downstream on the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, and very low results a few days earlier from Continue reading

Clean weekend 2020-05-17

Update 2020-05-22: Good Withlacoochee River water quality 2020-05-20.

Update 2020-05-21: Three Little River Landings in Swim Guide 2020-05-21.

As clean as we’ve ever seen, this last weekend, on the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers.

This is from WWALS water quality testing. You can help.

Also note it is raining now in Georgia, and Tifton already got an inch of rain. So something will be coming down the rivers in the next few days. We shall see what.

[Russell Allen McBride recognizing Frank Gay, 10:08:19]
Russell Allen McBride recognizing Frank Gay, at Cook County Boat Ramp, Little River @ GA 76, 2020-05-16

We also have data from Madison Health for last Thursday, May 14, 2020, with 10 cfu/100 mL E. coli at the state line, and zero (0) at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch) and at FL 6 (just above Madison Blue Spring). Continue reading