Alapahoochee River paddle, GA 135 to Sasser Landing, 2021-06-05

Leisurely paddle on the rarely visited Alapahoochee River from Georgia into the Alapaha River in Florida.

This is a short paddle but may have deadfalls to navigate depending on water levels. We’ve been trying to plan an outing on this river, also called Little River, Little Alapaha, or Grand Bay Canal, since 2014, so come on along! Bring ropes for the front and back of your boat.

Down this secluded winding blackwater river, we will cross the GA-FL line, see an antique road bridge, some Class II (moderate) rapids under the power line, and the very pretty Turket Creek waterfall, on the way to the Alapahoochee Confluence and our takeout on the Alapaha River.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:30 AM, end 11:30 AM, Saturday, June 5, 2021

Put In: GA 135 Bridge, 2.3 miles north of Jennings, Florida, 20 miles southeast of Lake Park, Georgia, by way of Jennings, and 12.5 miles south of Statenville, Georgia.
We’re hoping local musician Bird Chamberlain can direct us to the best side of the bridge and river to put in.
Be warned: “A take out can be done but it’s a steep 25 foot 45 degree slippery climb over sand covered rocks. Putting in would be less difficult but still not easy.” South Georgia Kayak Fishing, 2011-09-03.

GPS: 30.628652, -83.088283

Take Out: Sasser Landing

Bring: ropes on front and back of your boat, 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.

Come early or late and you can also help clean up trash at GA 376, where Elizabeth Reynolds reported a big mess more than a year ago.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net//donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

[Alapahoochee River, GA 135 Bridge, Swilley Road Bridge, Turket Creek waterfall]
Alapahoochee River, GA 135 Bridge, Swilley Road Bridge, Turket Creek waterfall

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Suwannee River Basin is bigger than several states, less populous than any

Suwannee Riverkeeper and WWALS work for fishable, swimmable, drinkable water in all 10,000 square miles of the Suwannee River Basin and Estuary.

But how big is that, compared to what? Other river systems, states, cities, territories?

[Rivers and Districts]
Rivers and Districts

Land Area

The Basin covers 9,950 square miles, plus some harder-to-estimate land and water area for the Estuary. See How big are WWALS Watersheds?

RiverGeorgiaFloridaTotal
Withlacoochee2,0902702,360
Alapaha1,7261141,840
Upper Suwannee River1,9048162,720
Lower Suwannee River01,590 1,590
Santa Fe River01,4001,400

Suwannee River Basin5,7204,2309,950

So 10,000 square miles is a good guess for the total land area.

Rivers Area

The Suwannee River Basin is one of the larger ones hereabouts, but far from the largest. Continue reading

More contamination after big rains, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-04

As usual, the big rains washed more contamination into the Withlacoochee River, most likely mostly down Okapilco Creek from cattle in Brooks County, Georgia.

However, since the rains were Monday and Tuesday, by the time Madison Health and WWALS tested Thursday, much of it had already started washing downstream. By Thursday it appears to have already been flushed down to the state line and beyond by more rainwater. By now it’s probably down into the Suwannee River, where it may well have been diluted by even more rainwater coming down the Alapaha and Suwannee Rivers.

So above the state line the Withlacoochee is probably OK to boat, swim, and fish this weekend. It may even be safe below the state line by Saturday morning, although we have no data on that.

[Last week, Swim Guide, this week]
Last week, Swim Guide, this week

So on Swim Guide I’ve set red from the state line down into Florida, yet green at Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramps, as well as green for Valdosta’s readings upstream Monday before the rains.

[Map: Swim Guide]
Map: Swim Guide

The 3,784 cfu/100 mL E. coli Madison Health got at Florida 6 Thursday is far higher than the 1,000 alert limit. But a year ago on Thursday, March 5, 2020, Madison Health got TNTC (Too Numerous To Count) at all three of State Line, Sullivan Launch, and Florida 6. Plus that Friday Valdosta got 4,600 at the state line and 25,000 at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp. So there is still ample room for improvement, but it’s possible that the Best Management Practices (BMPs) the Brooks County dairies have been implementing are starting to work. Continue reading

Big Shoals, Suwannee River, Florida, 2021-05-19

Paddle to and portage past the biggest rapids in Florida: Big Shoals and Little Shoals on the Suwannee River, on this short weekday trip.

[Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map]
Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 2 PM, Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Put In: Big Shoals Tract Launch.
From White Springs, travel north on CR 135 to SE 94 Street (Godwin Bridge Road); turn right and follow road to Big Shoals, in Hamilton County.

GPS: 30.353167, -82.687333

Portage: The portage is 400 feet long.
Participants must be able to carry everything they bring from the beginning of the portage to the re-launch. Also must have fairly good physical conditioning and balance to climb up and down banks to re-launch.

Shirley Kokidko, experienced with this section of the Suwannee, says, “I’m 65 and I can do it, but it’s not easy, and takes a good bit of teamwork to get everybody re-launched. No children. Let’s keep this group to a safe number. On a weekday that probably won’t be a problem.”

Everyone must have a bowline, rope of any sort, very much needed to help lower boats back into the water after the portage. Continue reading

Banks Lake Full Worm Moon Paddle, 2021-03-28

The bats should be flying again, as we amble by boat around our watery living room, Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge, to watch the sun set and the moon rise.

First, we will use the WWALS infrared thermometer to check temperatures. If you’re ill in any way, please stay home. Once you get there, there is plenty of room on the boat ramp to distance, and on the water everybody is usually pretty far apart anyway. Wear a mask on land, and we will have some available. No shuttle is needed.

When: Gather 7 PM, launch 7:15 PM, end 9:30 PM, Sunday, March 28, 2021

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

GPS: 31.034824, -83.096725

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.

Lights: You must have a light for your boat or some type of light to have on yourself (glow sticks work well, or head lamp, flashlight, etc.) so other boaters can see you in the dark. It will be totally dark after sunset. You must wear a PFD. A whistle is not required, but it’s a good idea in the dark. Mosquitoes can be bad at dusk so come prepared.

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. Thanks to Banks Lake Outdoors for free boat rental for these WWALS Full Moon Paddles.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net//donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

[Many]
Many boats, sunset, moonrise, 2020-02-27.

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WWALS booth at Azalea Festival, Valdosta, GA 2021-03-13-14

Come back to Drexel Park to help WWALS celebrate spring with 30,000 of our south Georgia and north Florida friends, at the Azalea Festival in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia. We will have information about our outings and advocacy (yes, including Valdosta wastewater), the new Water Trail brochures, and pictures for sale Gretchen took of our rivers, plus a kayak raffle.

Things will be a little different this year: “The Azalea Festival is a 100% all outdoor event. Patrons are encouraged to socially distance and wear masks.”

When: 10AM-6PM Saturday 13 March 2021
10AM-3:30PM Sunday 14 March 2021

Volunteer: If you are a WWALS member and you have had both vaccinations against COVID-19, we could use some help at the WWALS booth.

Where: Drexel Park, 1401 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA, 31601
30.846771, -83.285066
That’s east across Patterson from VSU and north of Brookwood Drive.
It is on One Mile Branch, which flows into Sugar Creek, then the Withlacoochee River, the Suwannee River, to the Gulf of Mexico.
Drexel Park is upstream of Wainwright Drive, where WWALS did a cleanup in November 2017, and Valdosta spilled 218,075 gallons of raw sewage in 2019, as well as other years. You can help with cleanups or water quality testing.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Booth, children, kayak]
Booth, children, kayak
Photos: John S. Quarterman, of WWALS at Azalea Festival 2019.

Schedule: Continue reading

Year in review: water quality testing, February 2020-2021

Suzy Hall, WWALS Testing Committee Chair, pointed out that bacterial water quality results a year ago were generally worse than recently.

Results were awful for Monday, February 17, 2020 on the Withlacoochee.

[Awful KF, Nankin, SL 2020-02-17]
Awful KF, Nankin, SL, 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.

But that was plenty bad enough.

Also, Valdosta later reported an even higher result for Knights Ferry for that same Feb 17, 2020, and Madison Health got horrible for the next day at State Line, Sullivan Launch, and FL 6.

For Wednesday, FDOH found a hot spot Continue reading

Public Hearing: Biomass wastewater permit, Madison County, Georgia 2021-03-02

This public hearing for a wastewater permit far away from the Suwannee River Basin is of interest because apparently the instigator of this biomass plant is also the president of Twin Pines Minerals, which wants to strip mine for titanium far too near the Okefenokee Swamp.

When: 7 PM, Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Where: https://gaepd.zoom.us/j/96881364173

[Property Location]
Property Location


PUBLIC NOTICE

Notice of Application for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit to Discharge Treated Wastewater Into Waters of the State of Georgia.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has received a new NPDES permit application for the issuance of a new NPDES permit. Having reviewed such application, the Environmental Protection Division proposes to issue for a maximum term of five years the following permit subject to specific pollutant limitations and special conditions:

GRP Madison Renewable Energy Facility, LLC, P.O. Box 909, Colbert, Georgia 30628, NPDES Permit No. GA0050283, for its steam electric facility located at 268 Office Drive, Colbert, Georgia 30628. A maximum of 3.55 MGD treated boiler blowdown, boiler feedwater, boiler area drains, reverse osmosis reject water, STG sump area drains, cooling tower blowdown, and stormwater is discharged to an unnamed tributary to Beaverdam Creek in the Savannah River Basin.

EPD will host a public hearing via Zoom software at 7:00 p.m. on March 2, 2021. Zoom is a free web conferencing platform that also allows participation by phone. In accordance with EPD’s safety precautions regarding the COVID-19 virus, EPD encourages members of the public to participate in the public hearing via Zoom. The purpose of the public hearing is to receive comments on the draft NPDES permit for GRP Madison Renewable Energy Facility, LLC.

To log into the public hearing on your computer, please click this link or copy and paste it into your browser to join the meeting: https://gaepd.zoom.us/j/96881364173

To ensure that you are ready to participate when the meeting begins, we recommend that you download Zoom in advance. Zoom can be found here: https://zoom.us/

To dial in by phone, please call this number: 1-470-381-2552

The meeting ID is 968 8136 4173

The passcode is 572750

Please note that if you choose to participate by phone, your number may be visible to other meeting attendees.

The public hearing is a formal process to Continue reading

Equinox Reschedule: Adams Tract River Camping, Suwannee River, Hardenbergh Boat Ramp, 2021-03-20

Due to high water, we have rescheduled to the Spring Equinox! Help us welcome in Spring on the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail in Florida.

We will paddle 8 miles on the Suwannee River the first day, and 10 miles on the second day, after camping at Adams Tract River Camp. There are many springs along the way.

[Adams Tract River Camp, map, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail]
Adams Tract River Camp, map, Suwannee River Wilderness Trail

We will check temperatures with an infrared thermometer, and everyone will be expected to keep their distance from people not in their party, and to wear masks when closer than six feet. Self shuttle if you can (have a close friend or relative shuttle you), or join the team shuttle from the takeout back to the put-in; see below.

River Camp platforms are available on first-come first-serve basis so, plan for primitive camping.

When:
Gather 9:30 AM, launch 11 AM, end overnight, Saturday, March 20, 2021, which is the Spring Equinox
Gather 8 AM, launch 9 AM, end 2 PM, Sunday, March 21, 2021

[Spring Equinox --TimeandDate.com]
Spring Equinox, https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/spring-equinox.html

Put In: Hardenbergh Boat Ramp. From Mayo, travel east on US 27 to NE CR 361; turn left; travel north to NE CR 354; cross over to NE Pecan Avenue; turn right on NE River Road and follow to the boat ramp, in Lafayette County.

GPS: 30.0903, -83.111903

Take Out: Ivey Memorial Park Ramp, in Branford on the south side of US 27 at the Bridge in Ivey Memorial Park, in Suwannee County.

Bring: primitive camping gear, 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. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:
https://wwals.net//donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup Continue reading

WWALS Vision for water quality and access in Lowndes County, Georgia 2021-03-01

Lowndes County, Georgia, already has much river, lake, and swamp access. More people need to know about that. Plus there is substantial room for improvement, in access and in water quality, health, and safety.

[Letter, Map]
Letter, Map

March 1, 2020

To: David Barth
Barth Associates
david@barthassoc.com

Cc: George Page, Executive Director
Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Rec. Authority
gpage@vlpra.com

Re: WWALS vision for
Lowndes County waterways

Dear Dr. Barth and Director Page,

Thank you for the invitation to provide suggestions for resource protection and recreational access for the Rivers and other waterways of Lowndes County, including access, water quality, land acquisition, etc. Please see below a list of such suggested improvements.

For the rivers and the aquifer,
John S. Quarterman
Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
/s
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.

Health and Safety

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