Tag Archives: watershed

Better: Valdosta and Quitman, Withlacoochee River, Suwanneee River past Santa Fe River 2020-02-22

Something is still getting into Okapilco Creek, and even more into its tributary Crooked Creek. For last week, we could follow it downstream way into Florida, using data from WWALS, Valdosta, and Florida Departments of Health. Fortunately, Friday the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers were within health limits from US 41 above Valdosta down past Branford. You can help.

[State Line Boat Ramp]
State Line Boat Ramp
Photo: Suzy Hall. Somebody stole all our signs from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, but we will reprint and replant. If you want a sign to hang on your wall, you can just buy it from WWALS; prices are reasonable.

Possible sources of contamination getting into Okapilco Creek and then into the Withlacoochee River from Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on down include (but are not limited to) the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), a sewage settling pond and another sewage pond, and lots of cows. We continue testing to find out.

[Quitman Land Application Site]
Quitman Land Application Site
in WWALS map of Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Whatever it was, it went way down the Suwannee mid-week last week, maybe even as far as Rock Bluff Ramp at CR 340 below Branford. Yet what I detected on Crooked Creek Friday didn’t even make much of a mark on Continue reading

Suwannee Riverkeeper at Florida Springsfest 2020-03-07-08

Per popular request, Suwannee Riverkeeper will have a booth at Florida SpringsFest.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper at Florida SpringsFest 2020]
Suwannee Riverkeeper at Florida SpringsFest 2020

When: 10 AM to 4 PM, Saturday and Sunday, March 7-8, 2020

Where: Silver Springs State Park, 1425 NE 58th Ave., Ocala, FL 34470

What: “Join us 10am to 4pm at Silver Springs State Park to learn about Florida Springs! History, science, sustainability, fun, music, MERMAIDS, food and friends, all for $2 park admission! Plus HALF PRICE Glass Bottom Boat rides all weekend (not included with park entry fee).”
And Suwannee Riverkeeper will have materials about advocacy and outings throughout the Suwannee River Basin.

Event: facebook

Many thanks to Continue reading

BIG Little River Paddle Race in Lake City Reporter 2020-02-22

Thanks to Jim Tatum for sending us this very nice article by Monty Stephens, Lake City Reporter, February 22-23, 2020, Paddling for Great Cause — Clean Water in Our Rivers:

[Page0009-0001]
Page0009-0001
PDF

The “Eighth Annual BIG Little River Paddle Race” is scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2020. Everyone that drinks or uses water needs to support this worthwhile “Cause.” The “Cause” is clean water in our rivers. This is a [3] mile canoe, kayak, [but not paddleboard] race. It can be a leisurely float down the [Little] River to [Reed Bingham State Park Lake] or an “All out fierce race,” your choice. The [WWALS] Watershed Coalition is a non-profit organization that supports the Suwannee [Riverkeeper].

[Below the bridge (BW)]
Photo: Bret Wagenhorst, of the 2019 race start.

The [Suwannee Riverkeeper] works to protect the Suwannee River and its tributaries, the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, [Little, and Santa Fe Rivers]. These rivers join together and become the Suwannee River as they flow through North Florida and out into the Gulf.

Here is the problem, civilization in general, tends to create pollution. The traditional method of dealing with pollution is to dump it somewhere, let the wind will blow it away, or dump it in a river. In other words, “Just get rid of it.” None of these methods deal with the real problem. Dumping pollution in the river just creates issues for people downstream. Since we’re in Florida, we’re “Downstream.” This is why we need a Riverkeeper.

Our Riverkeeper is Continue reading

Dirty Crooked Creek Wednesday & Friday; Withlacoochee River better in GA Wednesday 2020-02-21

Two of these rows are not like the first, and the middle ones are worst.

[Three sets]
Three sets

The really ugly plates in the middle were made from water collected at the Devane Road bridge over Crooked Creek, just off of US 84, in Brooks County, Georgia, a bit east of Okapilco Creek, upstream of Knights Ferry Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River.

[Crooked Creek Bridge]
Crooked Creek Bridge

You can see these Friday results are even worse than what the Coles saw Wednesday. In this table of results for this week, focusing on Brooks County and downstream, my Friday Devane Road result is up in the range of what Valdosta saw for Monday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River. My Monday result for Devane Road was actually taken at US 84, and it would appear I was sampling ditch water, not the main creek. We will be using the Devane Road bridge location for sampling Crooked Creek. And if anyone knows a better name for this creek, let us know.

[Crooked Creek quite bad]
Crooked Creek quite bad
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from three Florida agencies, WWALS, and Valdosta is on the WWALS website.

I even stopped by Valdosta City Hall Friday to compliment them on something. But there is more Valdosta and the state of Florida need to do.

WWALS will keep testing. You can help.

The first row of plates is Continue reading

Banks Lake Full Worm Moon Paddle, 2020-03-07

Leisurely sunset paddle and watch the full moon over the lake. The moon will be up early this time, at 4:25 PM, before we gather to paddle, because the March full moon is actually on Monday, but we’re going early on Saturday. You can come in even earlier for Gear Swap and stay for the Full Worm Moon Paddle!

This is a rare full moon name that comes from southeastern U.S. native Americans: Full Worm Moon, because earthworms are crawling about already. It’s also called Crow Moon, (Snow) Crust Moon, Sap Moon, or Lenten Moon. More about those names at FarmersAlmanac.com.

Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge is in the Grand Bay–Banks Lake ecosystem. We usually see birds, bats and alligators. Sunsets are usually spectacular, and the full moon over the tree tops reflected in the lake is a sight to see.

When: Gather 5:30 PM, launch 5:45 PM, Saturday, March 7, 2020

Moon and sun: Moonrise 4:25 PM, Sunset 6:35 PM

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County.

GPS: 31.035097, -83.097045

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

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.

Boats: Kayaks are available to borrow but please let us know at least 2 days prior to the event. Bring your own if you have it.

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

Event: facebook, meetup

[Contrasting moon color (NWX)]
Photo: Bret Miller, Contrasting moon color, 2020-02-09.

Continue reading

Very high E. coli on Okapilco feeder creek 2020-02-19

2020-02-23: Dirty Crooked Creek Wednesday & Friday; Withlacoochee River better in GA Wednesday 2020-02-21.

This very high E. coli count of 5,933 cfu/100 mL can’t possibly be because of Valdosta. And it can’t be because of the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS). What could it be? Well, there are many cows upstream on Crooked Creek. But also a Quitman sewage settling pond. You can help find out what it is.

[Crooked-creek]
Crooked Creek in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Conn and Trudy Cole took this sample Wednesday, February 19, 2020, for WWALS, at the bridge on Devane Road over what we’re calling Crooked Creek. If anybody knows Continue reading

Bad: Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River, to Dowling Park, Suwannee River 2020-02-19

Update 2020-02-21: Very high E. coli on Okapilco feeder creek 2020-02-19.

Florida testing shows the contamination Suzy Hall detected Monday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee River appears to have reached the state line and into Florida the next day, at least as far as Florida 6, which is just upstream from Madison Blue Spring.

The day after, Wednesday, February 18, 2020, levels were above normal but not alarming that far down (other than at the state line), and there was a hot spot at CR 250 (Dowling Park Ramp).

[Downstream into Florida]
Downstream into Florida
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of data from three Florida agencies, WWALS, and Valdosta is on the WWALS website.

As usual, you can help.

Once again, upstream on the Withlacoochee, US 84 and above, Valdosta and WWALS testing Monday showed nothing remotely as high as these downstream results. And my spot check on the feeder creek at US 84 that runs into Okapilco Creek showed nothing out of the ordinary. Which leaves the prime suspect still the Quitman Land Application Site (LAS), which is near Okapilco Creek, south of US 84. And Okapilco Creek runs into the Withlacoochee River between US 84 and Knights Ferry. I have scheduled an appointment to go investigate the Quitman LAS.

Despite leaving messages at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) the past two days, I’ve gotten no response from them. Ironically, the Florida agencies communicate with WWALS Continue reading

Waterkeepers Florida for home rule, against state pre-emption of environmental ordinances 2020-02-14

On Friday, February 14, 2020, Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) passed this valentine in support of local environmental measures and in opposition to statewide pre-emption:

WKFL to take a position in opposition to state preemption of local governments’ ability to regulate local environmental protections, including, but not limited to, those related to Rights of Nature, single-use plastics or polystyrene, fertilizers, and sunscreens.

[Announce]
Announce

This motion was partly provoked by two bills in the Florida legislature right now that would pre-empt the rapidly growing Florida Rights of Nature movement. You can help stop the bad parts of those bills; follow the link.

But the motion goes beyond that, to other topics, and any pre-emption part of any bill.

Waterkeepers Florida represents all the Waterkeepers of Florida. Continue reading

Awful: Knights Ferry, Nankin, Withlacoochee River 2020-02-17

Update 2020-02-20: Bad: Knights Ferry, Withlacoochee River, to Dowling Park, Suwannee River 2020-02-19.

These Nankin plates are not what anyone wants to see:

[Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line 2020-02-17]
Photo: Suzy Hall, of WWALS E. coli test results for Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line 2020-02-17.

Suzy Hall filed Nankin Boat Ramp for Monday, February 17, 2020, as TNTC: Too Many To Count. Yes, that is a technical term, and you can see why: how many blue colonies with bubbles would you count?

Knights Ferry Boat Ramp wasn’t much better, at 8,933 cfu/100 mL. The Georgia Adopt-A-Stream high alert level is 1,000; see What do these numbers mean?. We have seen worse, namely the 39,000 Valdosta result at GA 133 on December 10, 2019.

You can help find out what’s in our waterways. And, finally, indirectly, there is some help from Valdosta.

[Awful 2020-02-17]
Awful 2020-02-17
The entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of test results from three Florida agencies, WWALS, Lowndes County, and Valdosta, is on the WWALS website.

I finally got a test result for that feeder creek that crosses US 84 east of Okapilco Creek and then joins with it downstream. At 66 cfu/100 mL, it’s very unlikely the dairy farm upstream can have caused these downstream numbers on the Withlacoochee River.

The Monday Valdosta results at US 84, GA 133, and US 41 are a bit messy, but nothing comparable to Knights Ferry or Nankin. Note my US 41 result is very similar to Valdosta’s. And my Hagan Bridge zero (0) is the level of E. coli we want to see: none.

These Monday WWALS results at Nankin and Knights Ferry are far worse than Continue reading

Eighth Annual BIG Little River Paddle Race 2020-04-25

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Race or paddle, fun for the whole family: the Eighth Annual BIG Little River Paddle Race

Adel, Georgia, February 18, 2020 — You could win in any of a dozen categories. But you are not required to race: it’s a nice spring paddle anyway! On Saturday, April 25, 2020, in Reed Bingham State Park, between Adel and Moultrie, Georgia, it’s the eighth annual BIG Little River Paddle Race. There will be lunch, a kayak raffle, and a silent auction afterwards. You can just paddle along this scenic stretch of tea-colored river on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail among cypress, turtles, birds, and yes, alligators. (Don’t pet them and they won’t bother you.) This three-mile race also has fierce competitors, with last year’s winner finishing in barely more than half an hour.

BLRPR mastermind Bret Wagenhorst, an eye doctor in Tifton, GA, and a charter board member of WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), said, “You can win in any of a dozen categories: one- or two-person canoe or kayak, male or female or mixed, as well as oldest, youngest, and from farthest away.”

[Tandem female canoe, orange (BW)]
Photo: Bret Wagenhorst, of 2019 First female tandem kayak:

Dianne Walters, president of Friends of Reed Bingham State Park (FORB), said, “This is a great community event, with volunteers from all around helping paddlers from everywhere.”

Wagenhorst added, “Last year, the first woman across the finish in a solo kayak was Nikki York, of Adel, GA. And for the first time, a canoe finished first to win the $100 cash prize. It was a two-person canoe of gentlemen from Gray, GA: Continue reading