Tag Archives: Lafayette County

Judge rules Florida Amendment 1 funds must be used for land acquisition 2018-06-14

Acquiring lands in a springshed is one of the best ways to protect springs and rivers, and a judge just said the Florida legislature can’t divert funds from that purpose of Florida Amendment 1, which was passed by 75% of the people of Florida.

St. Johns Riverkeeper, blog, 14 June 2018, Legal Victory for Conservation Lands,

On June 15, 2018, Florida Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of environmental organizations that the land conservation constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2014 requires funding to be used for land acquisition, restoration and management, not for other purposes.

Map of county vote ranges on Florida Amendment 1

Earthjustice, Joe Litte of Florida Defenders of the Environment and the plaintiff organizations— Continue reading

A Resolution Against Phosphate Mines in Florida –Florida Waterkeepers 2017-12-18

Delivered via email as PDF to the Union BOCC before their phosphate mine workshop of Monday, December 18, 2017.


A Resolution
Against Phosphate Mines in Florida

WHEREAS, Waterkeeper Alliance Members are obligated and dedicated to protect the water resources, citizens’ interests, and related benefits in their jurisdictions; and

WHEREAS, Resolution WHEREAS, phosphate mines have been shown to threaten and cause actual harm to these resources, interest, and related benefits; and

WHEREAS, there are several phosphate mine projects in various stages of permitting in local, state, and federal agencies including county and city governments, Water Management Districts (WMDs), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE); and

WHEREAS, there seems to be no public list of current phosphate mines and related facitlities, which include at least

Continue reading

Valdosta WWTP manned 24/7 with backup generators before Hurricane Irma 2017-09-09

Don’t spill, Valdosta. Don’t leak, Sabal Trail. Hurricane Irma is bad enough already.

Valdosta announced its WWTP would be “manned around the clock”, so I called down there before 8AM this Saturday morning, and somebody did answer immediately. I told him as Suwannee Riverkeeper I was concerned for people downstream who don’t want any spills during the upcoming rains, so I was glad to see it was true they were there. I asked him if they had backup generators. He said yes. Of course, that doesn’t handle every manhole cover. We shall see. Don’t spill, Valdosta! (Or Lowndes County, or Tifton, or anybody else.)

NOAA NHC Rain Prediction, Hurricane Irma, 9 Sep 2017
Currently expecting somewhere between 4 and 10 inches of rain on Valdosta. Map from National Hurricane Center, 2017-09-09 8AM.

City of Valdosta, PR, 8 September 2017, Valdosta-Lowndes County Hurricane Irma Update, Continue reading

Videos: Suwannee Riverkeeper at Sparkleberry Florida Native Plant Society in Branford 2017-05-09

Here’s WWALS video of the WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper presentation at the Sparkleberry Chapter of Florida Native Plant Society in Branford, Florida, May 9, 2017. Acting Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman explained WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman led an animated discussion about recent advocacy with the several dozen attendees, many of whom had not heard about one or more of humic substances at the Suwannee River Sill, NFRWSP, BMAPs, Pilgrim’s Pride, coal ash, or Bill Gates’ and other recent corporate agricultural land purchases. While they all had heard of Sabal Trail, we had some updates on that, too.

Here’s the video:

Continue reading

Where nobody lives in the Suwannee River Basin

Obviously nobody lives in most of the Okefenokee Swamp or the Osceola National Forest, but also most of Clinch County is unpopulated west of the Swamp, as is much of the Gulf coast along the Suwannee River Estuary, from Cedar Key north to Horsehoe Bay, plus large parts of Dixie and Lafayette Counties west of the Suwannee River.

Screenshot 2017-05-12 13-15-46
Nobody Lives Here: Unpopulated U.S. Census Blocks, screenshot by jsq from interactive map by mapsbynik.

Update 2017-06-20: As someone pointed out, rangers do live in the Okefenokee Swamp, presumably in the white area along the access road.

Cedar Key is the island at the bottom of the map, and from a bit north on the Gulf Coast you can follow Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper at Sparkleberry Florida Native Plant Society in Branford 2017-05-09

Water, Agriculture, Forestry, and WWALS, by WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman, and recent advocacy (BMAPs, Bill Gates, Pilgrim’s Pride, phosphate mines, Wanee, Sabal Trail, and solar power) by Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, at the Florida Native Plant Society Sparkleberry Chapter in Branford, Suwannee County, Florida, on the Suwannee River.

When: 6:30 PM 9 May 2017: 30-45 minutes plus Q & A

Where: Hatch Park, 403 SE Craven St., Branford, FL 32008

Host: Sparkleberry Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society
“Serving Suwannee, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette and Taylor Counties.”

Event: facebook

Vaccinium arboreum
Vaccineum Arboreum, tree huckleberry, sparkleberry

Hatch Park is easy walking distance from Continue reading

Valdosta attempts to come clean about sewage, and how you can help

People keep asking me what can be done to prevent this from happening again? Valdosta has already built an entirely new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) uphill out of the flood plain, and a force main to reroute sewage around most of the manholes that previously were leaking: see their extensive writeups on those and other improvements. This recent event was due to equipment failure at the new WWTP, and they have the contractors out there redoing that under warranty.

What can you do? Continue reading

SRWMD says FDEP has confirmed river contamination possibly from Valdosta sewage 2017-01-26

Enteric bacteria have been confirmed in the Withlacoochee River, and in the Suwannee River downstream of the confluence, USGS Streamer say SRWMD and FDEP, while there’s still no update on the City of Valdosta website about the 2.2 million gallons of sewage Valdosta leaked into the Withlacoochee River and didn’t tell the public about for two days.

Valdosta wasn’t the only city to spill into the Withlacoochee during the recent storms. Tifton did, too, but Valdosta’s spill was more than 230 times bigger than Tifton’s. And city sewage is not the only source of contamination in the rivers: wildlife, agricultural animals, and septic tanks add to it. Baseline monitoring would help disentangle which is which. But nobody is going to believe this contamination this time came from any place but Valdosta.

SRWMD, News Flash, 2017-01-26 (no time given), Health Officials Confirm Wastewater Contamination In The Withlacoochee And Suwannee Rivers,

Madison, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton, Madison and Suwannee today issued a joint health advisory extending the previous advisory for the Withlacoochee River to include a portion of the Suwannee River. The health advisory is now in effect for residents and visitors on the Withlachoochee River and on a portion of the Suwannee River from the point where the two rivers meet, downstream along the border of Madison and Suwannee County to the Lafayette County line just above Dowling Park. The river waters are not safe for contact during recreational use at this time.

Test results from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection water sampling in the area have confirmed high levels of enteric bacteria possibly due to a large spill of untreated sewage reported by the City of Valdosta, Georgia.

People are urged to avoid contact with water in the Withlacoochee River and the impacted areas of the Suwannee River. Water contaminated with wastewater overflow presents several health risks to humans. Untreated human sewage with microbes can cause gastrointestinal issues, disease, infections or rashes.

Anyone who comes in contact with the river water should wash thoroughly, especially hands, and before eating and drinking. Children and older adults, as well as people with weakened immune systems, are particularly vulnerable to disease so every precaution should be taken to avoid contact with river water.

Additional sampling will take place to determine when the river water is safe for recreational use.

Individuals with questions about the spillage should contact Valdosta Environmental Manager Scott Fowler at 229-259-3592 or by email at sfowler@valdostacity.com.

Individual with questions for Florida DEP should contact wastewater coordinator Jim Mayer at the NE District office in Jacksonville at 904-256-1700.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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