Tag Archives: Valdosta

Clean Waterways Act won’t fix water quality –Waterkeepers Florida 2020-07-01

Plus FL SB 712 still doesn’t fund or implement regular, frequent, water quality monitoring from the state line to the Gulf, like Valdosta, GA, is doing three times weekly on 40 miles of the Withlacoochee River to the state line.

Jen Lomberk, Orlando Sentinel, 1 July 2020, Clean Waterways Act won’t fix water quality,

[Orlando Sentinel screenshot]
Orlando Sentinel screenshot

Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed into law SB 712 — the self-proclaimed “Clean Waterways Act” — an ambitious misnomer for a bill that claims to be the solution to our mounting water quality issues, but falls far short of that mark.

This bill has been praised by its supporters (”Sen. Mayfield: Clean Waterways Act would be major step forward,” June 30 online) as one of the most environmentally progressive pieces of legislation in over a decade. But looking back at the cuts and rollbacks that our environmental regulations were subjected to under the last state administration, that really isn’t saying much. Jen Lomberk Jen Lomberk (Courtesy photo)

At 111 pages, the bill largely pays lip service to most of Florida’s major sources of pollution, but lacks the specificity and enforceability to actually solve any of the problems.

Proponents of the bill claim that it implements recommendations of the Blue Green Algae Task Force, but even those common sense, albeit vague recommendations will not be nearly achieved through the implementation of SB 712. For example, the Task Force recommended that projected changes in demographics, land use, and hydrology should be incorporated into the BMAP process.

Think about it. We have 1,000 people moving to our state every day. That means that over the 20-year life of a BMAP, millions of people will have Continue reading

Clean weekend water quality, Withlacoochee River 2020-06-28

More good news: the Little River at Troupville Boat Ramp tested good Saturday, and the Withlacoochee River tested good last week and Sunday.

[Troupville and State Line Boat Ramps (left)]
Photo: Suzy Hall, Troupville and State Line Boat Ramps

Thanks to Suzy Hall for the weekend testing. You can help by donating to the WWALS water quality testing program.

[Troupville Boat Ramp with foam]
Photo: Suzy Hall, Troupville Boat Ramp with foam 2020-06-27

Suzy Hall took samples both in the foam and in the main flow of the Little River at Troupville Boat Ramp Saturday, June 27, 2020. She got 33 cfu/100 mL in the flow and 66 in the foam, both well below the 126 long-term average limit for E. coli.

[State Line Boat Ramp (left)]
Photo: Suzy Hall, State Line Boat Ramp 2020-06-28

Results were even better at State Line Boat Ramp Sunday: Continue reading

Video: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols Radio 2020-06-23

On the Steve Nichols radio show we talked about how song submissions are open until July 8, 2020, for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. We also talked about fishing, bacterial contamination and mercury in the rivers, coal plants, solar power, and upcoming WWALS outings on Banks Lake and the Suwannee River.

[Flyer]
Flyer

Tickets to listen to the finalists play 7-9PM Saturday, August, 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park in Valdosta, GA, are $10 online (children under 12 free) or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

The Steve Nichols show was the first to reveal the judges are selected. Continue reading

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

Video: Dear Ol’ Suwannee –Dick Grillo; send your song for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020-08-22

Last year, Dick Grillo sang his song “Dear Ol’ Suwannee,” and got written up in the Suwannee Democrat for that song, Live Oak’s Grillo wins at Songwriting Contest. He won Best Song from Inside the Suwannee River Basin with a $50 prize, and a plaque for Best Folk/Country song.

This year, you can send in your song until July 8, for the 2020 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, on August 22, 2020.

[Dick Grillo Singing 'Dear Ol' Suwannee' in Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2019]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, Dick Grillo Singing ‘Dear Ol’ Suwannee’ in Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2019.

The three judges are ready to hear your songs, 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601. Headliners will play, food truck and cash bar, finalists will play, silent auction and kayak raffle, judges will judge, prizes will be awarded, winners will play M.C.: Scott James of Talk 92.1 FM Radio.

Tickets to listen are on sale now, $10 online (children under 12 free), or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

Songs can be about the Suwannee River, or the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Alapahoochee, Little, New, Dead, or Gopher Rivers, Okapilco, Piscola, etc. Creeks, the Okefenokee Swamp, Grand Bay, or springs, sinks, swamps, or ponds. (But not the Santa Fe River; which has its own contest.)

Here’s Dick Grillo last year with Dear Ol’ Suwannee: Continue reading

Next outings: Full Moon Banks Lake and Suwannee River Camping

Tired of being cooped up inside? Want to get out on the water? WWALS has two outings coming up with plenty of room for physical distancing.

First is an easy evening lake paddle out and back, then overnight camping with a brief upstream paddle.

[Moonrise and River Camp]
Moonrise and River Camp

Banks Lake Buck Moon Paddle 2020-07-05

Come see the sun set, the bats come out, and the moon rise over Banks Lake, just west of Lakeland, Georgia, on Sunday evening, July 5, in the Banks Lake Buck Moon Paddle, If you don’t have a boat, let us know, and we can supply you one. Please be there by 7:30 PM. See previous post for more details.

Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp 2020-07-18

Experience one of the fabled River Camps on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, in Intro to Kayak and Canoe Camping at Dowling Park River Camp. Five screened sleeping platforms! (Bring a tent if you don’t get one reserved.) Air-conditioned bathrooms with hot and cold running water and showers!

Please be at the Dowling Park Boat Ramp by Continue reading

Good water quality, Withlacoochee and Alapaha, but recent rains may change that 2020-06-22

The most recent water quality data we have looks good, for both the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers, in Georgia and Florida.

But it’s from Monday, June 22, 2020, and there was significant rain on Okapilco Creek Tuesday and Wednesday in Brooks County, and more upstream at Skipper Bridge in Lowndes County, Georgia, on the Withlacoochee River. So conditions may change.

[Looks good, but...]
Looks good, but…
For context and links to the WWALS composite spreadsheet and all its sources, see http://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

Here are the recent rain records. Continue reading

Judges selected, so send in your song: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Hahira, GA, June 23, 2020 — From Nashville, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Florida, and Valdosta, Georgia, the WWALS Songwriting Contest Committee has selected judges for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

“We have two returning judges and a judge from a younger generation,” said Contest Committee Chair Tom H. Johnson, Jr. “Submissions are due by July 8. We’d like songs from every age group and every genre.”
https://forms.gle/Ztxm8xmwwoAjPLj86

[Judges and banner]
Judges and banner

The new judge this year is Emmy Law, who made a name for herself in Atlanta, and has moved on up to Nashville, Tennessee. She has several songs published.

In his third year as judge, J. J. Rolle plays around Valdosta, Georgia, and has forged as far afield as some years in Ireland. He has a background in musical theater as well as his career as a solo musician.

Back from the first year, Cindy Bear is well known as a solo act around Jacksonville, Florida, and also as half of Bear and Robert (pronounced “Row-bear”), a Blues, Folk and Americana duo with her husband, Franc Robert.

This is the Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, this year at 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, in the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601. That’s across from the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, GA, with plenty of room for physical distance.

Submissions can be songs about any river, stream, spring, sink, swamp, lake, or pond in the Suwannee River Basin or Estuary (except not the Santa Fe Basin; that has its own contest). Judging of finalists will take into account integrity and value of the waters, historical value, originality of lyrics and music and musical consistency between them, performance, and clarity of message. Extra credit for naming the most rivers (springs, etc.). Even listing them counts; tying them together in a way that shows their value is better.

After songwriters send in songs, the Contest Committee selects seven finalists.

Meanwhile, tickets are available, $10 online (children under 12 free), or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

“The Master of Ceremonies will be Continue reading

Grease buildup leads to manhole blockage –City of Valdosta 2020-06-23

Good idea, Valdosta: telling people about these things, so nobody will stumble over them. And good news that Valdosta Utilities vacuumed up all the spill before it got into any waterway. Thanks to Valdosta PIO Ashlyn Johnson for sending the press release below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2020
Release # 06-23-89

Grease Buildup Leads to Manhole Blockage

On June 23, at approximately 7:50 a.m., City of Valdosta crews responded to a report from a city utility worker in the area of North Ashley Street and Barfield Road. Upon arrival, the city crews noticed a blockage in the manhole. Utility crews used a vacuum truck to unblock the manhole and prevent the discharge from entering any ditch, creek, stream or river.

[Barfield Drive, between Twomile and Threemile Branches]
Barfield Drive, between Twomile and Threemile Branches in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

The cause of the blockage was due to a buildup of excessive fats, oils, and grease from a restaurant in the Five Points area discharging into a City of Valdosta sewer main. This is the second instance in the last six months in which a manhole blockage was caused by the improper maintenance of this internal private sewer system. As a result, the City of Valdosta Utilities Department will issue the property owner(s) a formal Notice of Violation (NOV).

The city crews cleaned and disinfected the area. This area is on a routine cleaning schedule and crews will also take a look at the surrounding area sewer mains to ensure no additional blockages exists.

The City’s FOG Prevention Division continues to urge all customers to refrain from dumping waste cooking fats, oils and grease (FOG) down their home or business drains for the protection of their personal property, as well as the public sanitary sewer collection system. City staff will continue distributing educational door hangers to homes and businesses in the general area to inform citizens on how to properly dispose of cooking fats, oils and grease and how they can prevent this occurrence in the future.

We need your help to prevent Fats, Oils and Grease from causing blockages in the sewer system

Fats, oils and grease do not mix well with water and easily adhere Continue reading

Steve Nichols Radio: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020-06-23

Update 2020-06-30: Stills, writeup, and links to the facebook live video.

Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM, I’ll be on the radio with Steve Nichols, talking about the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest: songs, judges, food, drink, prizes, and advocacy.

Steve Nichols radio 105.9FM WVGA

Song submissions are open until midnight July 8, 2020.

Tickets are available, $10 online (children under 12 free), or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

WVGA FM says:

The top rated morning talk show in south Georgia, Steve Nichols offers both sides of every story from Berrien County to the Beltway, and everywhere in between.

You can listen at 105.9 FM, on the WVGA Live apps, through ValdostaToday.com (link on front page), on Alexa devices, or you can stream in-studio video at the official Morning Drive Facebook page.

Suwannee Riverkeeper on Steve Nichols radio 105.9FM WVGA, Stills

When: 8:30 AM, Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Where: 105.9 FM WVGA (see above for how to listen)

Event: facebook

Much more here, about the Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, at 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.
http://wwals.net/pictures/2020-08-22–songwriting/ Continue reading