Tag Archives: PaddleGA2019

Water quality permitting, paddle with Mayor of Valdosta this Saturday 2020-01-18

Update 2020-01-17: Mostly clean in Georgia, not in Florida, Withlacoochee River 2020-01-15

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, January 13, 2020 — Water quality tests since last Wednesday are looking good for the Withlacoochee River in Georgia, and if those continue this Monday and Wednesday, it will be all clear to paddle with the new Mayor of Valdosta, Scott James, this Saturday, January 18, 2020. “We’ll paddle by the site of the projected Troupville River Camp, supported by Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia, and Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We’ll also pass the outflow from Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), which did not spill, although it is in a stretch of the river that was contaminated by Valdosta’s December 2019 record raw sewage spill.”

[Movie: WWTP Outfall, 11:23:17, 30.83622, -83.35924 (15M)]
WWTP Outfall, 2019-06-15 30.8362200, -83.3592400

Mayor Scott James was quoted in Valdosta Today:

“The paddle was requested by me and John was gracious enough to organize it and call it the ‘Mayor’s Paddle.’ It is to show my commitment to zero tolerance for future spills and to show my love for our natural resources.”

“The only way to dispell the stigma of sewage spills that affects the entire Suwannee River Basin, is frequent, regular, water quality sampling with published results,” added Quarterman. “The dozen-county Florida Rivers Task Force to deal with Valdosta sewage wants to promote cross-state-line eco-tourism. We should all be marketing our rivers. We are, with this paddle, and with Troupville River Camp. But we need a solid foundation of testing so we can say when the rivers are clean, and the few (we hope) times when they are not.”

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc., parent organization of Suwannee Riverkeeper, will be collecting water quality samples this Wednesday at numerous points on the Withlacoochee River to have current results before the paddle. Lowndes County (which has its own sewer system, that did not spill) is sampling weekly. The Florida Department of Enviromental Protection (FDEP) and the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) are sampling downstream, and SRWMD has even sampled some sites well into Georgia. WWALS is publishing all this data, along with what data Valdosta has supplied in response to open records requests, online:
http://wwals.net/issues/vww/valdosta-spills/#vldrecord2019

On the paddle, WWALS will be sampling above and below the WWTP outfall and at other locations along the route.

Meanwhile, the recent rains have provided plenty of water in the river, several feet more than when we paddled the same route with 300 people in Paddle Georgia in June 2019, so we should have smooth sailing!

How To Paddle with the Mayor

Continue reading

Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River paddle 2020-01-18

Update 2020-01-17: Mostly clean in Georgia, not in Florida, Withlacoochee River 2020-01-15

Update 2020-01-14: Recent water quality test results, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-01-11

Update 2020-01-13: Press release: Water quality permitting, paddle with Mayor of Valdosta this Saturday 2020-01-18 .

A leisurely paddle on the WIthlacoochee River after it tests clean from the recent Valdosta sewage spill. It may help resolve the problem of such spills causing stigma all the way down the rivers to the Gulf, by showing rains do eventually clean the rivers.

[Street map]
Street map: Troupville Boat Ramp upper right; Spook Brige lower left.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, Saturday, January 18, 2020

Put In: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18. in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536

Take Out: Spook Bridge. Thanks to The Langdale Company for access through their private property to Spook Bridge for this outing and for water quality testing.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We will waive the fee for elected officials. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

This paddle was requested by Continue reading

Cindy Leighton with Paddle Georgia on the Withlacoochee River –Herald-Leader 2019-08-28

The story begins, “When Cindy Leighton set out on the 2019 Paddle Georgia trip on June 15, putting her kayak into the waters of the Little River, she was taking part in something Paddle Georgia hasn’t done before — heading to Florida.”

WWALS member Cindy Leighton sent us images of this story by Sherri Butler, Herald-Leader, Fitzgerald, Ben Hill County, Georgia, Section B Feature Front, August 28, 2019, Paddle Georgia crosses the line for a river journey spotlighting lue springs of Florida, which goes beyond Paddle Georgia into Water Trails and River Camps.

[Front page]
Front page

On the feature front page, Continue reading

Nestle water supply @ SRWMD 2019-08-13

Update 2019-08-27: Nestlé’s permit is incomplete, says SRWMD, but go ahead and comment anyway so the objections keep piling up.

Nestlé’s permit request to with draw even more massive amounts of water from Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River does not explicitly appear in next Tuesday’s SRWMD board packet.

Nonetheless, you can go ahead and ask SRWMD not to approve that permit: OSFR explains how.

Nestlé has long sucked up water next to Madison Blue Spring on the Suwannee Withlacoochee River, paying nothing per gallon, and now Nestlé has bought the bottler at Ginnie Springs on the Santa Fe River, Seven Springs Water Co., which is applying for a new permit to pay nothing to withdraw even more water for nothing; see Cindy Swirko, Gainesville Sun, 1 August 2019, Permit sought for bottled water from Ginnie Springs. Gilchrist County already approved the permit, but the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) has not yet.

[Location Map]
Location Map
PDF

This is in Tuesday’s SRWMD packet: Continue reading

Dowling Park River Camp, Suwannee River, Lafayette County, FL 2019-06-20

Some features were surprising at Dowling Park River Camp, during #PaddleGA2019.

[From below]
From below

The bathrooms are on wheels! Continue reading

Spooks of the Bridge, Water Trail Signs, and Porta-Potties: #PaddleGA2019 Day 2 2019-06-16

Spooks! Daredevil dry-land kayaker! Bridge climber! Gnarly jerky and the golf cart! Also the Withlacoochee River at Spook Bridge, Knight’s Ferry Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, each with road and kiosk signs for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail, plus briefly Port-A-Potties at all those places and halfway back up towards Troupville Boat Ramp, and a gopher tortoise, all during Day 2 of #PaddleGA2019.

[Joe Cook and Harold Harbert]
Joe Cook and Harold Harbert

There were boats. Continue reading

Videos: Valdosta and Florida Counties about sewage 2019-07-10

Congenial yet sometimes testy, the Florida counties meeting Valdosta about sewage again last night.

The Valdosta catch basin many Floridians thought would be finished by now? Probably by December.

That report the Utilities Manager last time said explained why 8 or 10 million gallons was big enough for a catch basin? No, it doesn’t explain that. Fortunately, Georgia EPD wants to know how many gallons will be needed for how much rain, and apparently won’t issue a permit for the catch basin until there are answers, so maybe we’ll finally find out.

GA-EPD also wanted to know what if the catch basin fills up? Valdosta’s answer: tanker trucks to ship the sewage from the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Or the other direction, if needed. That sounds like a fine idea. Although it doesn’t address the question of what if the heavy rains fall directly on Valdosta and both WTPs fill up.

Meanwhile, the catch basin is just one of a combination of fixes, mostly intended to alleviate infiltration of stormwater into the sewer system, and about 25% of those are done, says Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber.

Will all these projects be finished this year? No.

Floridians offer to get national elected officials to help.

Floridians also emphasized Ecotourism, and asked me to talk about the 350 people who just came through on Paddle Georgia (#PaddleGA2019), the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Florida to Georgia and back, and the proposed River Camp at the Little River Confluence west of Valdosta, like the ones on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. Valdosta Mayor John Gayle wrote down the date of the WWALS Boomerang (October 26th), and afterwards both Hamilton and Madison Counties promised to help.

Tom Mirti of SRWMD described Florida water quality testing, but didn’t mention that FDEP’s monthly testing isn’t made public until four months later. He did mention that FDEP is now testing for sucralose. Merrillee Malwwitz-Jipson, who requested that, was sitting right there. Thanks to her and Jim Tatum for coming from Florida to this meeting.

Valdosta City Manager Mark Barber said Valdosta was still testing at the state line, which caused me to ask why I didn’t get any results for those locations this year in response to open records requests, then? Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse said that was because they haven’t actually tested at the state line this year. He also complained that he had staff working 100 hours a week. Which makes me wonder whether the city of Valdosta is really giving him what he needs, or whether he hasn’t asked for everything he needs.

Anyway, people were rightly impressed with how much Valdosta has done and with their current plans. However, there is still room for improvement.

Below are Continue reading

SRWMD explains itself to #PaddleGA2019 2019-06-19

Thanks to Lindsey Garland and Ben Glass for explaining SRWMD springs, rivers, and water withdrawals to 300 new people from all over the world on #PaddleGA2019, at Camp Suwannee, Dowling Park, Suwannee County, Florida.

[About SRWMD]
About SRWMD

The Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) is the largest Continue reading

Troupville, Little River Confluence, shoals, creeks, and Spook Bridge 2019-06-15

Update 2019-07-05:: Some WWALS videos on YouTube.

The first day of #PaddleGA2019 was a fun day, with a confluence, greetings by VIPs, creeks, small rapids, a limpkin, Valdosta’s notorious Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Outfall, one bad water quality reading (not there), swimming, an even more notorious fracked methane pipeline, and Spook Bridge, with a pet deer across the river. Thanks to The Langdale Company for that takeout and the Port-A-Potty location, and thanks to the Battery Source for the loan of the golf cart to WWALS.

Here’s Gwyneth Moody, Georgia River Network Water Trail coordinator, getting her orange kayak in the water.

[Load 'em up, 07:51:54, 30.8515032, -83.3476099]
Load ’em up, 07:51:54, 30.8515032, -83.3476099

Somebody was flying a drone. Continue reading

2009 Withlacoochee River flooding of caterer location for Paddle Georgia Final Feast 2009-04-09

The Withlacoochee River hasn’t risen like this since The Salty Snapper moved in, which is good, since they’re catering the Final Feast tonight on the Suwannee River in Suwannee County, Florida for the last day of #PaddleGA2019, after we paddle in at the Hal W. Adams Bridge Boat Ramp in Lafayette County.

[Canoe to the door]
Canoe to the door

Donald O. Davis of the Lowndes County Historical Society writes:

The caterer’s building and the 2009 Withlacoochee flood. The original long-running restaurant in the location was JP Muldoons. The Salty Snapper opened in 2015.

[WLRWT]
Map: WWALS google map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).
The Salty Snapper is just east of Continue reading