Tag Archives: Florida

Training, Water Quality Testing, Pictures 2018-09-16

Thanks to Julie Shutters of Golden Triangle R&D for coming down from Sylvester to Valdosta, GA to do Georgia Adopt-A-Stream training for WWALS.

(No, we haven’t forgotten about Florida. We’re just starting with the biggest problem area.)

Class

[Julie Shutters, Ronnie Thomas, Erica McLelland, Shirley Kokidko, Joanne A. Wardell, Gretchen Quarterman, Bobby McKenzie, John S. Quarterman (hat)]
Julie Shutters, Ronnie Thomas, Erica McLelland, Shirley Kokidko, Joanne A. Wardell, Gretchen Quarterman, Bobby McKenzie, John S. Quarterman (hat)

Continue reading

Karen and Tom Johnson Collage

Karen and Tom Johnson travelled many a time three or four hours from Pine Mountain, Georgia, to paddle with WWALS on our outings. Some of us are planning to go to Pine Mountain this Saturday:

HEAR YE! HEAR YE!
Memorial Service/Funeral for Karen Toms Johnson:

11:00 A.M., Saturday, September 22, 2018.
1st UMC Pine Mountain, Georgia.
Rev. Liza Marler, officiating pastor.
Luncheon to follow with Karen Storytelling emcee’d by T3.
Memorial Service attendees are STRONGLY encouraged to attend the luncheon.

When: Tuesday-Friday 18-21 September 2018

Where: Post your pictures online here.

Event: facebook, meetup

Here is the obituary Tom wrote for Karen.

We would like to take with us a collage of pictures of Karen and Tom on WWALS outings (or elsewhere). Please post your pictures here (on this blog post, facebook event, etc.) or email them to wwalswatershed@gmail.com.

Here are some examples:


Photo: Bret Wagenhorst, of Tom and Karen Johnson, winners, farthest, BIG Little River Paddle Race 29 April 2017.

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Cyanobacteria infecting Florida political races

We are fortunate in the Suwannee River Basin in not having this bad a problem, but are similarities. Greg Allen, NPR, 7 September 2018, Toxic Algae Seeps Into Florida Congressional Races,

For months now, mats of algae from Lake Okeechobee have been flowing down the river, bringing toxins that can affect people and animals. In beach communities east of the lake, the algae have had a big impact on tourism and businesses.

With more toxic algae blooms on Florida’s west coast and a red tide algae bloom causing massive fish kills in the Gulf of Mexico, water quality is increasingly having a big impact on key midterm races in Florida. While Democrats tend to be more outspoken on environmental issues, Republican candidates are also speaking up because they’re feeling the heat.

Outflows from Lake Okeechobee

Seems to me all the candidates are dancing around the real issue, which is Continue reading

Bradford BOCC 2018-09-04

All the public speakers were against the phosphate mine. Before the Commissioners decided, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson spoke about rain, the Chemours mine, and how what Bradford County does affects her business downstream. (I think Stasia Rudolph also spoke before I got there.) After some confusion on timing, afterwards Marc Lyons reminded them Citizens Against Phosphate Mines (CAPM) is ready to sue, and Kate Ellison said she hopes this means we will all see the consultant’s report before the public hearings. I sent a letter and a resolution the previous day and gave them paper copies.

The actual decision was much better than expected. While some Commissioners wanted to hold Continue reading

Four Three Sabal Trail Jury Trials in Valdosta, GA 2018-09-10

Update 2018-09-13: The outcome.

Update 2018-09-12: The second day.

Update 2018-09-10: Gretchen Quarterman and Janet Barrow attended the jury selection this morning, and will report in detail this afternoon. One difference from last time is this time jurors were asked if they knew Randy Dowdy, Wavel Robinson, or Sandra Jones. Perhaps not coincidentally, FERC required Sabal Trail to report on topsoil mixing for all three. Jones is also the remaining eminent domain case not being tried this week. The other three actual trials, yes, all with the same jury, start this afternoon at 1:30 PM.

Update 2018-09-05: According to a usually reliable source the Jones trial will be in January, so that’s three trials next week. Also, all three trials will be heard by the same jury. Given that each of the defendants has a different kind of property, that sounds to me like the circus come to town.

You can come see four more eminent domain jury trials start next week in Valdosta, after Sabal Trail lost the first one. Jury selection will start 9AM Monday morning, September 10, 2018. The actual trials could start that afternoon, and may run all week. You can’t take much into the courtroom, but there’s a public sidewalk out front, and there will probably be a TV reporter there part of the time.

Cases No. 4:16-cv-092 (Jones), -104 (Isaacs), -107 (GBA Ass.), -113 (Bell), Federal Building, Valdosta, GA

When: Jury selection 9AM Monday morning, September 10, 2018.
Trials could start that afternoon, and may run all week.

Where: Main Courtroom, Second Floor, U.S. District Court
401 N Patterson St., Valdosta, GA 31601

Event: facebook, meetup

The first case was for W. Lynn Lasseter of Moultrie, to whom the jury awarded five times what Sabal Trail offered. So apparently these trials will be for landowners all of whom, Continue reading

Bradford BOCC to schedule phosphate hearing, and economic development 2018-09-04

This Tuesday, Bradford County Commissioners will schedule a public hearing on the phosphate mine application by HPS II. You can go speak or write them a letter.

If the creek don’t rise, I will be there with a video camera. Meanwhile, I have sent them a letter in PDF and an updated copy of the Resolution Against Phosphate Mines in Florida. That Resolution only had five signatures when I last sent it to Bradford BOCC in May, but now 11 of the 14 Waterkeepers of Florida have signed it, and seven of us delivered it to FDEP Secretary Noah Valenstein at the end of July.

When: 9:30 AM Tuesday September 4, 2018

Where: BRADFORD COUNTY COURTHOUSE
945 North Temple Avenue, Starke, Florida 32091

What: on the agenda:

  1. County Attorney’s Report’s — Will Sexton
    1. Schedule the Public Hearing on Application for Special Permit for Mining (Sec. 14.6, LDR’s) submitted on behalf of HPS Enterprise II, LLC.

Nfedp-map,

Also on the agenda is: Continue reading

Florida vote 2018-08-28

Floridians, please get out and vote today, and in November.

We are fortunate here in the Suwannee River Basin. We don’t have cyanobacteria blooming from glyphosate in our rivers with dead fish stinking tens of miles inland.

But we do have plenty of environmental problems. When you vote in the primary today (if you haven’t already voted early), and as you vote in the general election in November, you may want to ask yourself about each candidate, from city council to County Commissioner to school board to statehouse to statewide official to governor, and don’t forget judges:

Florida vote

  • Do they support banning fracking?
  • Do they oppose more phosphate mines?
  • Will they help stop fertilizer leaching into our springs and rivers, including getting financial and other support for the Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs)?
  • Will they help us all find out how E. coli and fecal coliform are getting into our rivers and wells, and from where, by assisting in water quality monitoring, and will they then do something about it?
  • Will they hold accountable those who produced coal ash and get them to dispose of it responsibly?
  • Will they oppose fossil fuel pipelines, and do something about the safety of those that exist?
  • Will they help rein in the rogue agency FERC, including about oversight of liquid natural gas (LNG) export?
  • Will they help the Sunshine State get on with solar power, so that nobody has to be without power for weeks after a hurricane, and we can shut down more fossil fuel power plants and close some pipelines?

These are just some of the issues WWALS deals with all the time. You don’t have to know about all these issues; every one of them is important. You may have other environmental issues.

If you don’t know how the candidates stand on these issues, maybe you’d like to ask them before November. Still, some of them must have stated positions before the primary today.

Sure, the economy matters, but how many jobs do polluted springs and rivers bring? Do people come to Florida to smell rotting fish from their vacation or permanent homes? There is no economy without an environment, and water is the basis of it all, including public health.

Seven of us Waterkeepers of Florida met with FDEP last month:

…to express serious concern and a sense of urgency to protect and restore Florida’s rivers, coast, bays, estuaries, lakes, springs, and aquifer.

As demonstrated by Hurricane Irma, major storms deteriorate water quality, threaten human health, and undermine Florida’s economy. Absent more proactive action and investment in becoming more resilient, water quality protection, and adaptation efforts, Florida’s economy, environment, and public health will suffer.

We should all care about what is happening in south Florida. Obviously because those are people just like us who live there, not to mention the wildlife and the rest of the ecology, and what happens there affects the economy of the rest of Florida and the nation.

After Hurricane Irma, Lowndes County, Georgia, where I live, gained 100 new residents from Florida. (That’s right: Suwannee Riverkeeper lives in Georgia. Rivers can’t read; they don’t know somebody drew a state line on a map.) If the south Florida situation continues or gets worse, people will move north. Many of them will move to north Florida or south Georgia, further affecting our waters.

So don’t forget about candidates:

  • Do they support stopping the destruction of south Florida’s lakes, rivers, and coasts by fertilizer and pesticides from big agriculture and lawns?

As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, WWALS cannot support or oppose any specific candidate for office. But we can bring issues to your attention.

And we can say, please go vote, today and in November!

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Video: Emmett Carlisle singing Suwannee Harmmony at SuwRK Songwriting Contest

Emmett Carlisle, from Gainesville, Florida, just outside the Suwannee River Basin, sang “Suwannee Harmony,” and won a prize for Best Florida Folk, at the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Saturday, June 23, 2018, at the Salty Snapper, Valdosta, GA.

Emmett Carlisle
Emmett Carlisle (Bret Wagenhorst)

As he sang, “just like the river, together we flow.”

Here’s the video: Continue reading

Video: Valdosta explains Mud Creek WTP spill 2018-08-21

Kenneth Lowe, Assistant Plant Superintendent of the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, explained that plant’s that recent spill to the organizational meeting of the WWALS Water Quality Testing Committee.

Tom Potter, Kenneth Lowe, Ronnie Thomas, Erica McLelland, Shirley Kokidko, student, Effluents
Tom Potter, Kenneth Lowe, Ronnie Thomas, Erica McLelland, Shirley Kokidko, student

He apologized profusely several times for the spill. Continue reading

Madison County meeting about Valdosta sewage, plus Tom Potter of WWALS 2018-08-21

Valdosta sewage discussed yesterday morning in Madison, and in the evening on TV and in the WWALS Water Quality Testing Committee meeting in Valdosta, and again this evening at the Madison BOCC. Emma Wheeler, WCTV Eyewitness News, 21 August 2018, Sewage spills prompt concern over Withlacoochee River safety,

Sewage spills in Valdosta polluting the Withlacoochee River, Screenshots

MADISON, Fla. (WCTV) — A North Florida community is fighting for cleaner water.

Community members in Madison are pushing for safer waterways. It stems from concerns over sewage spills at Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Treatment Plant. The most recent of the spills happened in June.

Many of those concerned said their goal is to have no sewage spill into the river.

“These are public resources, they belong to us,” said Thomas Potter with the WWALS Watershed Coalition. “It’s our duty and our responsibility to make sure that they remain clean.”…

Emma Wheeler shot some footage Continue reading