Tag Archives: PaddleGA2019

Watching over the Waters: WWALS paddles, songwriting contest –VDT 2020-06-27

Amanda M. Usher, Valdosta Daily Times, 27 June 2020, Watching over the Waters: WWALS sponsors paddles, songwriting contest,

[Paddle Georgia from Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Paddle Georgia from Spook Bridge, between Quitman and Valdosta, GA, Withlacoochee River, June 15, 2019.

VALDOSTA — John Quarterman has been around the Suwannee River Basin since his childhood.

Living on land his [grand-]father purchased near rivers and swamps in 1921, he has always felt attracted to rivers and works to keep them clean.

Quarterman is the Suwannee [R]iverkeeper with WWALS Watershed Coalition. WWALS is an acronym for Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little[, Santa Fe,] and Suwannee.

The coalition was established in June 2012 to eliminate issues with rivers and creeks such as sewage spills, he said. Quarterman became the Suwannee [R]iverkeeper in 201[6].

WWALS Watershed Coalition serves a significant purpose of water quality testing, he said. The City of Valdosta tests waters three times a week from U.S. 41 North to the southern state line, he said.

Through the years, the group has hosted cleanups at the Troupville boat ramp and holds two or three paddles monthly.

[Lakeland cleanup, Alapaha River]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Rivers Alive Cleanup, Pafford’s Landing near Lakeland, GA, Alapaha River, October 12, 2019.

“We’re not just a paddling organization,” Quarterman said. “… We do paddles, but we’re also an advocacy organization. We want to do conservation of stewardship.”

Quarterman is about awareness. He strives to bring attention to the rivers’ existence and informing people they can make use of the recreational rivers by boating or fishing.

“Getting people out there on the rivers to see what it is they are trying to conserve and protect is really important because until you see it for yourself, you’re not really appreciating the beauty of these rivers,” he said.

The rest of the article is about the upcoming paddle outings at Banks Lake at 7:30 PM Sunday, July 5, and at Dowling Park River Camp; for that one please be at Dowling Park Boat Ramp a 11:30 AM, Saturday, July 18, with camping gear.

The article concludes with the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at Turner Center Art Park, 605 N. Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA.

Come on down!

Thanks Amanda M. Usher, for Continue reading

Winner: Butterfly, bridge, pointy, flower, what river? Within These WWALS #5 2020-05-09

The winner of Within These WWALS #5 is…

Sara Jones.

She gets a packet of Withlacoochee and Little River picture notecards from the WWALS photo notecards, sent via postal mail from WWALS charter board member Bret Wagenhorst.

WWALS Withlacoochee and Little River picture notecards

Lots people who were on #PaddleGA2019 knew Spook Bridge, but apparently the plant spooked them. Continue reading

Three Little River Landings in Swim Guide 2020-05-21

WWALS has added three more “beaches” on Swim Guide, this time on the Little River.

Our 300 closest friends from #PaddleGA2019 will recognize one of these, where they all put in for seven days on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers last summer: Cook County Boat Ramp (GA 76), Folsom Bridge Landing (GA 122), and Troupville Boat Ramp (GA 133).

[Laptop]
Laptop
In the app, these beaches will appear if you are near.
In the web interface, search for: georgia little river withlacoochee.

All are marked green for “Meets water quality standards” due to the zero (0) E. coli result I got at Cook County Boat Ramp Saturday, which is upstream on the Little River from the other two, combined with the zero result Suzy Hall got downstream on the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, and very low results a few days earlier from Continue reading

Butterfly, bridge, pointy, flower, what river? Within These WWALS #5 2020-05-05

Update 2020-05-27: The winner.

Anybody who was on #PaddleGA2019 should be able to identify at least two of these items, and the river.

Please answer by midnight at the end of Saturday, May 9, 2020, using this google quiz form:
https://forms.gle/Nidt7HnxS91fCPWQ6

[Butterfly, Bridge, Flower, Pointy objects]
Butterfly, Bridge, Flower, Pointy objects

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. The first correct set of answers wins a packet of WWALS photo notecards from that watershed, sent via postal mail from WWALS charter board member Bret Wagenhorst.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

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