Tag Archives: north Florida

Cancelled: Florida Counties Task Force meeting with Valdosta City Council 2020-04-08

The meeting of the Valdosta City Council with the Florida Rivers Task Force scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled, according to Task Force Chair Rick Davis just now via telephone.

January announcment of April Task Force meeting

This meeting never actually appeared on Continue reading

Rain and dirty Withlacoochee River again 2020-04-02

I was afraid this would happen: an inch of rain, and suddenly the Withlacoochee River was dirty again. Unfortunately, the most recent results we have are for last Thursday, April 2, 2020.

[An inch of rain and bad water quality]
An inch of rain and bad water quality
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida data, see wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Those Valdosta results at US 41, GA 133, and US 84 for Wednesday, April 1, 2020, cannot be Quitman nor the usual agricultural suspects in Brooks County, although Okapilco Creek was also plenty bad.

No, nobody reported any sewage spills in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia, and also not in Florida. So most likely this contamination is mostly from livestock. Yes, there are horses, cows, and hogs upstream from Valdosta.

The contamination apparently had not really reached Knights Ferry or Nankin yet that day, and not State Line at all.

But the next day Madison Health saw a red 431 cfu/100 mL E. coli at CR 145 (aka GA 31, Madison Highway, State Line Boat Ramp, and Mozell Spells). See also what do these numbers mean?

So it’s not hard to guess that contamination probably reached Florida by Continue reading

WWALS Motion to Intervene in Sabal Trail request for Phase II extension 2020-03-30

Does this look anywhere near completion to you?

[Facing north (bare dirt)]
Facing north (bare dirt)

Yet on March 26, 2020, Sabal Trail asked FERC to extend the May 1st deadline for its Phase II construction of the Dunnellon and Albany Compressor Stations because of the virus pandemic, after FERC already extended way past the original February 2, 2018, deadline for completion of all phases.

FERC surprisingly did not immediately rubberstamp that request, instead opening a comment period until April 13, 2020. WWALS today filed a Motion to Intervene in that comment process on that request.

Your organization, if it was a party to the underlying Sabal Trail proceeding in FERC Docket CP15-17, can also move to intervene.
https://ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp

Anyone can comment, without needing to intervene:
https://ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp

WWALS Motion to Intervene

See also the PDF filed with FERC as Accession Number 20200406-5070 today, April 6, 2020. Continue reading

Within these WWALS Contest 2020-04-06

The first in a series of contests, Within these WWALS, opens today, Monday, April 6, 2020, and ends Saturday, April 11, 2020 at midnight.

Please identify (by scientific or common name) each of the items highlighted in a set of photos and then come up with the name of the WWALS waterway where all the photos were taken.

[Contest pictures]
Contest pictures

Please resist the urge to post answers here. We want everybody to have the same chance to answer.

The first person to submit the correct answers wins a packet of WWALS photo cards from that watershed.

Winners will be listed in the Tannin Times Newsletter that goes to WWALS members each month, as well as in a followup WWALS blog post shared on facebook, Instagram, and twitter. We will not publish your contact information; just your name.

WWALS charter board member emeritus Bret Wagenhorst, who writes the monthly Biota column in the newsletter, and who designed the notecards, will select the winner and send him or her the packet of notecards.

If this contest goes well, we will have more contests frequently.

Follow this link to the contest form.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Source of the Little River 2020-02-27

The source of the Little River (of the Withlacoochee) is in those trees.

[From Warwick Hwy @ CR 16, 31.749923, -83.767258]
From Warwick Hwy @ CR 16, 31.7499230, -83.7672580

I took this picture from Warwick Highway (CR 249) where CR 16 (Charlie Lamb Road) joins it, in Turner County, Georgia. Perhaps another time I will have time to Continue reading

Repurpose toll road funds for virus relief

Here’s an idea from WWALS member Janet Mikulski Messcher.

To: Governor Ron DeSantis
GovernorRon.Desantis@eog.myflorida.com
800-342-3557

Dear Governor DeSantis,

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, please seek ways to shift funding from unnecessary and destructive projects to those that support our current public and community health needs. In particular, the M-CORES legislation, passed in the 2019 session, includes money for the task force process and for construction of three destructive tollroads. There is significant public opposition to these roads which have not been proven to be necessary nor economically viable. Attention should be focused on supporting our public health, including additional testing and research to support development of a vaccine.

If the Legislature returns to Tallahassee for a special session to address the budget in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend that the House and Senate budget leaders consider diverting the $135 million (FY 2019/20 and FY 2020/21) earmarked from the M-CORES tollroads to go to pandemic response efforts and other community health priorities.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Please share this post and send in your letters. Feel free to copy your M-CORES Task Force members.

Photo: Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate, Twitter, 17 May 2019.
Photo: Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate, Twitter, 17 May 2019.

Here are more videos from the Madison County meeting of February 11, 2020, continuing the series that I started yesterday. I do not know whether these speakers support repurposing the funds as above, but Florida Conservation Voters was among the 90 organizations that asked Gov. DeSantis to veto the toll roads bill, as part of the No Toll Roads to Ruin coalition.

Lindsay Cross of Florida Conservation Voters asked the M-CORES Task Force to consider community vision instead of the toll road vision foisted on all of us by a few people in Tallahassee.

The Mayor of Monticello, Troy Avera, had been trying to sit on the fence, but he really doesn’t like a bypass, which would starve his city.

Video: Drift in your song, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

You can send in your song by the deadline of July 8, 2020, for the Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia:
wwals.net/pictures/2020-08-22–songwriting/

Photo: Sara and Scotti Jay for WWALS, of Norene Olsen singing Driftin Down the Suwannee at the 2019 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.
Photo: Sara and Scotti Jay for WWALS, of Norene Olsen singing Driftin Down the Suwannee
at the 2019 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Any genre of music is fine. Any lineup of musicians is good, from full bands to single musicians, to a capella, to even spoken word if you’re really brave.

See the 2020 Official Rules.

And here’s the 2020 Entry Form.

[Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest]
Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Yes, we do have a plan in case stay-at-home for the novel coronavirus pandemic is not over by August. We will take the contest virtual, with finalists playing from their places, judges judging from home, and you watching it all from where you are! But so far we’re planning on being all in one place.

Here’s a video from last year: Continue reading

No Build: Speakers at M-CORES toll road meeting, Madison, FL 2020-02-11

Update 2019-04-03: More speakers, and ask the governor to repurpose toll road money to virus relief.

Many people traveled hours to speak for three minutes in Madison County, Florida, against the toll road boondoggle, on February 11, 2020. I videoed them for WWALS. Here are the first few speakers.

I will add more in coming days, to encourage you all to tell your elected and appointed officials we don’t want resources wasted, farms torn apart, and our rivers and springs polluted by these unnecessary toll roads.

Naylor Boat Ramp & Alapaha River Water Trail signs 2020-04-02

Update 2020-04-04: Improved maps on both signs and better text on Naylor Boat Ramp sign.

The WWALS Trails Committee has drafted these two metal signs to go near the water at the new Naylor Boat Ramp that Lowndes County has built at US 84 with SPLOST VI penny sales tax funds. You can help by commenting on these designs, or by contributing to the cost of the signs.

[Naylor Boat Ramp]
Naylor Boat Ramp
PDF

What do you think should be added, deleted, or edited on the sign above, about this particular boat ramp? Yes, we know the type looks squinchy. That’s because the metal signs will be printed about twice this size.

What do you think of the sign below, about the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT)? Continue reading

Request EPA to ask Florida for comment on Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554 2020-03-30

WWALS requests the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “EPA regarding permit application SAS-2018-0054 to determine that the mining activities of the subject Application may affect the quality of the waters of the state of Florida and to notify the state of Florida, the district engineer, and the applicant that Florida ‘has 60 days from receipt of EPA’s notice to determine if the proposed discharge will affect the quality of its waters so as to violate any water quality requirement in such state, to notify EPA and the district engineer in writing of its objection to permit issuance, and to request a public hearing.’

[2020-03-30--WWALS-EPA-TPM-FDEP-comment-hearing-0001]
2020-03-30–WWALS-EPA-TPM-FDEP-comment-hearing-0001

We quoted from the Rule the Army Corps says it is using in its comment period for the re-application by an Alabama company to strip mine for titanium near the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, and interchanges water with the Floridan Aquifer, all of which affects Florida.

You can also send a letter like this to the EPA, asking for comment from the state of Florida and a public hearing in Florida.

Or you can send a comment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting a 120-day extension of their ridiculously brief comment deadline of April 14, 2020, and public hearings, like WWALS did.

Why not both?

WWALS Letter to EPA

Continue reading