Tag Archives: USGS

Sturgeons Catching Air –Ken Sulak, USGS, retired 2012-10-01

Why do those prehistoric hundred-pound fish jump so far out of the water? Many reasons, explained in Catching Air—Those Magnificent Jumping Suwannee Sturgeons, by Ken Sulak.

[Page 1 of 3]
Page 1 of 3

Source: Continue reading

Vickers Branch and Hahira LAS 2020-05-11

How is the mysterious Vickers Branch south of Hahira related to the Hahira Land Application Site? What is that creek the rest of that LAS is on? And what does all this have to do with Lowndes County’s new IMPAIRED WATERS MONITORING AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN? Why do we care about all this for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail?

About six weeks ago, the bridge on Old US 41 North just south of Hahira broke and Lowndes County fixed it. Revealing that nobody knew a name for it. Except Phillip Williams, who says, “Some maps show it as Vickers Branch. The Vickers family were the ones who owned most of the land in the area back in the 1800s.”

[Map: Vickers Branch, Hahira LAS]
Map: Vickers Branch, Hahira LAS
in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

The Vickers Branch Bridge marker south of Hahira looks slightly too far south, but it’s where google street view and aerials show the bridge. It seems that the USGS stream trace I used in this map is not quite right.

[Photo: Lowndes EMA, of broken Vickers Branch Bridge]
Photo: Lowndes EMA, of broken Vickers Branch Bridge

Upstream of that Vickers Branch US 41 bridge, several branches or runs that drain quite an area. I have named them after Continue reading

Withlacoochee River good despite dirty creek 2020-05-01

Update 2020-05-04: Clean Withlacoochee River, less bad Crooked Creek 2020-05-02.

Update 2020-05-03: WWALS tester Suzy Hall says she got zero (no) E. coli at the GA 31 bridge (State Line Boat Ramp) for yesterday, Saturday, May 2, 2020.

Good news, boaters, fishers, swimmers: apparently the Withlacoochee River is clean this weekend. This is because of much river and Okapilco Creek water coming downstream; flow matters.

WWALS continues sampling, and you can help us afford testing supplies.

[WWALS Water Trail signs]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, WWALS Water Trail signs at Nankin Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River 2020-05-01

You may have some difficulty getting a boat into the water, but if you do, it appears that the small rain in Brooks County, Georgia, Thursday, April 30, was not big enough Continue reading

Not good: Withlacoochee River & Okapilco Creek 2020-02-11

Update 2020-02-18: Withlacoochee still not clean Thursday but not alarming in Florida results 2020-02-13.

Update 2020-02-14: Fixed typo; apparently FDOH tests were collected Monday, February 10, 2020.

Lowndes County’s upstream results for Tuesday, February 11, 2020, are as bad at US 84 as FDOH’s result at CR 150 (Sullivan Launch) the previous day.

Yes, Okapilco Creek downstream of US 84 is especially bad. But Okapilco Creek has more E. coli than anyone would like upstream at GA 76, too. And no, Valdosta is still not off the hook.

We still need to find out where all this contamination is coming from. You can help.

[Not Good Results 2020-02-11]
Not Good Results 2020-02-11
Thanks to Lowndes County Chairman Bill SLaughter for these Tuesday results, which are on the WWALS website, along with the full WWALS composite result table going back to December 10, 2019.

These results are much different from Lowndes County’s tests of Wednesday, February 5. There’s been no rain to speak of since last Thursday, February 6, five days before these recent Tuesday tests, so what’s going on?

[Quitman Gauge (US 84)]
Quitman Gauge (US 84)

Rain upstream is washing something downstream.

[Rain the week before]
Rain the week before

Much of that rain fell upstream and is still coming downstream. More than an inch fell that Thursday at the Continue reading

Clean Withlacoochee River; dubious Okapilco Creek; and rain 2020-02-05

Update 2020-02-12: Madison Co., FL Withlacoochee River Bacterial Advisory 2020-02-11.

Good another Wednesday: Lowndes County water quality results for the Withlacoochee River. Meanwhile, about an inch of rain registered upstream Thursday. We will have more WWALS results in a day or so. The only way to tell what is in our waterways is regular, frequent, closely-spaced testing. You can help.

[Good Withlacoochee]
Good Withlacoochee
Thanks to Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter for these Lowndes County results.
Along with the WWALS composite results spreadsheet, they are on the WWALS website.
There are no new Florida results; the Florida agencies stopped testing after Continue reading

Raining now, sending Valdosta sewage downstream; Florida warns; Valdosta does what? 2019-12-22

Update 2019-12-23: E. coli at Little River Confluence, Spook Bridge, and Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River 2019-12-21

The National Weather Service predicts rain coming down now will raise the Withlacoochee River from Low to Action stages above Valdosta starting today. This is after WWALS already apparently detected Valdosta sewage passing GA 133 on Tuesday, continuing Thursday, so Valdosta’s record-largest sewage spill is likely headed downstream. Florida has put out alerts, allocated funds for testing, and at least one county has declared a state of emergency. When will Valdosta even post signs downstream to the state line? When will Valdosta reimburse the downstream Florida Counties and health departments for their expenses?

[Skipper Bridge Gauge, Withlacoochee, above Valdosta, 2019-12-22, 7:30 AM]
Skipper Bridge Gauge, Withlacoochee, above Valdosta, 2019-12-22, 7:30 AM
water.weather.gov, with predicted water levels.

There’s a lot of concern downstream in Florida. Hamilton County put warning signs at all its boat ramps and Florida Parks put one at Madison Blue Spring. Those signs were still in place when I looked Monday afternoon, December 16, 2019.

[Florida Health Advisory on kiosk]
Florida Health Advisory on kiosk at Florida Campsites, upstream from Madison Blue Spring, 2019-12-16.

But Valdosta has only posted warning signs at a few places within its own city limits and at Troupville Boat Ramp, with no signs at US 84, Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, or State Line Boat Ramp. Continue reading

Video: River Gauges @ Lowndes County Commission 2019-10-21

Flood Inundation Maps (FIM) are related to Lowndes County taking over funding from Valdosta of the Skipper Bridge Withlacoochee River gauge, said EMA Director Ashley Tye.

[19.7feet]
19.7feet

Joint funding of $135,000 from Valdosta and Lowndes County started work on FIM for Skipper Bridge in 2016, with completion announced 22 May 2018.

The item about joint funding with USGS and SRWMD to fund the Skipper Bridge Withlacoochee River Gauge, in addition to the Folsom Bridge Little River Gauge, was the longest item at five minutes yesterday morning. Continue reading

Fecal coliform worse than E. coli, Valdosta testing 2019-05-07

While the numbers were way down at US 84 on May 7, bacterial counts were up upstream on the Withlacoochee River, and on Mud Swamp Creek; up more in Fecal coliform than E. coli. These readings seem to indicate nonpoint sources.

Withlacoochee

[Fecal coliform Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin]
Fecal coliform Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin

The high readings are all from stations upstream of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the low reading at US 84 is downstream of the WWTP. Continue reading

Better bacterial levels in Valdosta WQ data 2019-04-02

All of Valdosta’s water quality sampling stations were below the Georgia state limit for E. coli for the first week of April. Valdosta no longer samples weekly, only once a month. It also no longer samples at the state line.

Graph, Withlacoochee River Basin, Withlacoochee

We got this monthly Valdosta WQ data via open records request, as usual. As I said at the April 10, 2019 meeting between Valdosta and the dozen Florida counties, I also filed the next day open records requests for Valdosta’s permit-required spill-followup test data, and for the engineering study they said they had related to how big the new catch basin needs to be. Yesterday I got the latest monthly data a day late, but only a “working on it” about the other two requests. I will now Continue reading

Excluding groundwater makes no sense above the Florida Aquifer –WWALS to EPA 2019-04-15

Approved at the Sunday WWALS board meeting and filed last night via regulations.gov as PDF.


April 15, 2019

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Docket Center
Office of Water Docket
Mail Code 28221T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Re: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149,
       Revised Definition of Waters of United States

To Whom it May Concern:

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), also known as Suwannee Riverkeeper, submits the following comments on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) proposed rule entitled “Revised Definition of Waters of United States,” 84 Federal Register 4154-01 (February 14, 2019) (hereinafter “Proposed Rule”).

In addition to supporting the comments of Waterkeeper Alliance and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), WWALS adds these comments on groundwater.

The Proposed Rule’s categorical exclusion of groundwater makes no sense here above the Floridan Aquifer where surface water and groundwater constantly interchange, and pollutants travelling through groundwater are a frequent source of health, environmental, and economic problems.

[2019-04-15--WWALS-to-EPA-0001]
2019-04-15–WWALS-to-EPA-0001

This proposed exclusion of groundwater is called out repeatedly in the Proposed Rule, starting with this:

Continue reading