Tag Archives: Georgia

Solar power would bring more jobs than toll roads –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2019-05-22

In the Gainesville Sun, yesterday, May 22, 2019:

Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the toll road bill, SB 7068, Suwannee Riverkeeper — which was among the 90 organizations throughout Florida that asked him to veto it — continues to oppose that boondoggle and propose actual benefits to Florida’s economy and waters.

Aerial Google map, Crystal River to Monticello and Thomasville
Google map of one likely route of the Suncoast Connector.

One of these three unneeded turnpikes would have to cross the Suwannee River, plowing through counties where we have many members. All this very poorly written bill says about its route is: “Suncoast Connector, extending from Citrus County to 164 Jefferson County.” Apparently that means from Crystal River to Monticello, and on to Thomasville, Georgia, through farms, forests and swamps. If this toll road builds its bypasses, bye-bye local businesses in Chiefland, Fanning Springs, Old Town and Cross City.

Yes, the turnpike bill has a “project development phase” for $45 million and increasing each year, with a Continue reading

Naylor Boat Ramp Park is not Lola VMA 2019-05-19

If you’re down at the beach on the Alapaha River, just upstream from US 84, in the new Lowndes County Naylor Boat Ramp Park, and a game warden should happen to say you need a WMA pass, please tell him you’re in a public park owned by Lowndes County, and if there’s any doubt about that, please consult the Lowndes County Tax Assessors online map, or call Lowndes County, or call me.

[Beach]
Beach, Lowndes County Tax Commission Map, Parcel 0259 030B.

There seems to be some confusion, possibly because the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) map for the Lola Tract WMA does not show any sign of a park.

[ESRI]
Map: ESRI, of the Lola Tract Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

I would imagine this is because, even though Lowndes County bought the park land in late 2015 and the WMA did not appear until late 2017, most likely the WMA agreement was in the works for some time before it was publicly announced, quite possibly from back before the park land sale to the county. So the WMA map is probably just old.

But if you look in the Lowndes County Tax Commissioner online maps, while the land surrounding the park away from the river and the highway is indeed owned by Acree Investments, the park is clearly visible as a carve-out in the lower right corner.

[VMA]
Map: Lowndes County Tax Commissioner, Acree Investments parcel 0259 030A.

How can private land be a WMA patroled by Georgia state game wardens? According to its state web page:

“Lola Tract is a Voluntary Public Access (VPA) property. Since 2014 through a USDA grant, the Wildlife Resources Division has been able to enhance and add to its WMA program through additional temporary agreements with private landowners for public hunting opportunities.”

So Acree Investments owns the WMA land, but the state runs it as Lola Tract VPA.

But the park is not part of the VPA. The VPA access road starts just north of the Naylor Boat Ramp:

[New entrance to Lola Tract VPA]
New entrance to Lola Tract VPA

Unless you go up that road beyond the boat ramp, you are still in the park. Where you do not owe the state anything to picnic, fish, swim, paddle, etc. on the beach.

Seems like Georgia DNR should fix their map for Lola Tract WMA.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Georgia water data online portal: GOMAS 2019-05-16

Thanks, GA-EPD, for another very useful online dataset: GOMAS, the Georgia Environmental Monitoring and Assessment System, with a plethora of water data.

[Front page]
Front page of GOMAS.

GOMAS seems to have all the water quality data reported by permitted wastewater facilities throughout the state, including some not required, apparently including at least some of Valdosta’s creek monitoring data.

GOMAS lets you find locations with data either Continue reading

SRWMD Water Quality Monitoring 2019-04-25

Confirmed today by telephone: FDEP is analyzing DNA and human tracers such as sucralose monthly at at least three stations: on the Withlacoochee and Alapahoochee Rivers at the Georgia-Florida line, and at the Withlacoochee River Confluence with the Suwannee River at Ellaville. Those are the top center left blue stars on this map.

[Surface water Trend Stations]
Surface water Trend Stations

Confirmed by: Darlene Velez, Water Resources Chief, Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).

This is what Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) heard in Orlando on April 15th from Continue reading

Waterkeepers Florida met FDEP in Orlando about Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards 2019-04-15

FDEP is analyzing DNA and human tracers such as sucralose monthly at at least three stations: on the Withlacoochee and Alapahoochee Rivers at the Georgia-Florida line, and at the Withlacoochee River Confluence with the Suwannee River at Ellaville. This is what Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) heard in Orlando on April 15th from FDEP’s Tom Frick. I think he may have also said at the Alapaha Confluence with the Suwannee River.

Tom Frick (DEAR), Ken Weaver (Standards), Dave Whiting (Laboratory), Darryl Joyner (WQSP), FDEP
FDEP, left to right: Tom Frick (DEAR), Ken Weaver (Standards), Dave Whiting (Laboratory), Darryl Joyner (WQSP).

I asked Tom Frick about that at the meeting FDEP requested with Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) about the Florida Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards,

Unlike in Georgia, Continue reading

Naylor Boat Ramp framed 2019-05-08

Frame and concrete wire.

[Frame]
Frame

Lowndes County Project Manager Chad McLeod says they will probably pour the concrete Saturday. Then 10 to 14 days to set before pushing into the Alapaha River for Naylor Boat Ramp. Continue reading

Naylor Boat Ramp poured 2019-04-30

Update 2019-05-08: Now with framing and concrete wire.

Update 2019-05-06: OK, as April Huntley pointed out after went out there over the weekend, the concrete is not poured yet: what’s out there is the bed on which to put the concrete. I called Lowndes County Project Manager Chad McLeod, who said that’s right. Today the forms for the concrete are in place. Probably Wednesday they will pour the concrete. Then it has to set for 10-14 days. After that, they will pick a day with an appropriate river level (they need a couple of feet of water in the river), and they will slide the segments down the ramp into the river. So probably somewhere between 18 and 25 May 2019 the concrete ramp should be in the river.

Some of the concrete was still setting on the new Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River just upstream from US 84.

[From the top]
From the top

Lowndes County Commissioner Joyce Evans asked Gretchen Quarterman at the Monday Planning Commission meeting whether she had been to the new Naylor Boat Ramp. Continue reading

Water trails, agriculture, urban goals, pipelines, water quality monitoring –WWALS to GA-EPD 2019-04-26

Attendees from the Suwannee River Basin were the majority at the first public meeting about Georgia EPD’s revisions to its Nonpoint Source Management Plan. Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman attended, as did Erica McLelland and Julie Shutters.

[Timeline]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS (yes, I’ve ordered a new camera lens).

At the end of the public comment period, WWALS sent in the letter below (see also PDF), which brings in many issues, focusing them all on water quality testing.


April 26, 2019

Continue reading

WCTV on AGL pipeline Homerville coffee shop explosion and proposed GA-PSC fines 2019-04-04

How about some accountability for regulations already in place, starting with legally-required corporate policies and procedures?

Emma Wheeler, WCTV Eyewitness News, State: Gas company failures led up to Homerville explosion,

[Empty lot]
WCTV’s Emma Wheeler reporting from the empty lot where Coffee Corner used to be in Homverville, GA

The Public Service Commission is proposing a civil penalty of $2.3 million against Atlanta Gas Light for the violations.

[GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas]
GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas

Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman lives near the start of the pipeline. He said he was horrified by the report, and fears that this could happen anywhere along its path.

[

Continue reading

Tomorrow! BIG Little River Paddle Race 2019-04-27

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Valdosta, Georgia, April 26, 2019 — We’ll get a nice cool spring morning start Saturday, as paddlers from Georgia and Florida race (or saunter) down the tea-colored Little River through Reed Bingham State Park, in a friends and family fun event.

“Thanks to Georgia Beer Company for being a sponsor of this seventh annual BIG Little River Paddle Race!” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

Onwards (BW), Racing
Photo: Bret Wagenhorst, of BLRPR 2018.

Dianne Walters, president of Friends of Reed Bingham State Park (FORB), said, “This is a great community event, with volunteers from all around helping paddlers from everywhere.”

BLRPR mastermind, Tifton eye doctor Bret Wagenhorst, said, “Some come to try for the $100 cash prize for first boat to cross the finish in around 35-40 minutes. Others come to do a leisurely 1-2 hr paddle with friends or family and take in the incredible subtropical scenery. Some do it to support the Friends of Reed Bingham group and the WWALS Watershed Coalition.”

Many others win in categories: Continue reading