Sen. Ossoff tries new Valdosta public transit; answers questions about Okefenokee Swamp –Valdosta Daily Times 2021-05-09

Georgia U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s positive answer to Suwannee Riverkeeper’s question about the Okefenokee Swamp was covered by the local newspaper of record.

[VDT, Ossoff, Warnock]
VDT, Ossoff, Warnock

You can use the Waterkeeper Alliance Action Alert to send a message to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) asking it to reject the permit applications for that site; such messages will be forwarded to Georgia elected officials, including U.S. Senators Ossoff and Warnock.
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

Bryce Ethridge, Valdosta Daily Times, 6 May 2021, Ossoff: Millions for S.Ga. schools,

During Ossoff’s visit, Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman asked about the proposed heavy mineral sands mine near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

This refuge is the largest east of the Mississippi and carries a hefty amount of wildlife biodiversity. The mine could potentially impact the refuge’s native species, basin hydrology and overall integrity.

Continue reading

Water Trail signs planted at Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2021-05-06

In time for the Salty Snapper Pop Up Paddle and Lunch this coming Saturday, April May 15, 2021, Bobby McKenzie planted the WWALS water trail signs next to the put in, Langdale Boat Ramp.

[Signs, Camera]
Signs, Camera

Thanks to Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA) for re-opening Langdale Park after the recent high water.

These WWALS signs are for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT), and here they are next to the boat ramp, which is on the Withlacoochee River. Thanks to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR) for the grant that funded making these signs. Continue reading

Clean upstream and downstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-05-06

We have mixed results for this week. Madison Health got a too-high single sample at the GA-FL line for Tuesday, May 4, but the other results by Valdosta and WWALS testers are all good. So we don’t have enough recent data to say very confidently, but especially given almost no rain since Tuesday, most likely the Withlacoochee River is good for boating, swimming, and fishing.

[GA 122, Cleary Bluff, Chart, Swim Guide]
GA 122, Cleary Bluff, Chart, Swim Guide

This Thursday, Elizabeth Brunner got zero (0) at Folsom Bridge on the Little River, 166 at Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and 100 cfu/100 mL E. coli at Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, all on GA 122. Continue reading

Banks Lake Full Flower Super Moon Paddle 2021-05-26

Leisurely Sunset paddle to see the last Super Moon for the year!

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 8 PM, launch 8:15 PM, sunset 8:28 PM, moonrise 8:40 PM, end 9:30 PM, Wednesday, May 26, 2021

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.

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

[Sunset, Moonrise, by Bobby McKenzie, Banks Lake, 2021-04-26]
Sunset, Moonrise, by Bobby McKenzie, Banks Lake, 2021-04-26

Continue reading

Senator Jon Ossoff: Okefenokee is a sacred natural resource 2021-05-06

Update 2021-05-09: Coverage in the local newspaper of record, Sen. Ossoff tries new Valdosta public transit; answers questions about Okefenokee Swamp –Valdosta Daily Times 2021-05-09.

“The Okefenokee is a sacred natural resource. It is a wildlife refuge that must be protected,” said U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff, responding to a question by Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, today, in Valdosta, Georgia.

You can use the Waterkeeper Alliance Action Alert, to send a message to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) asking it to reject the permit applications for that site; such messages will be forwarded to Georgia elected officials, including U.S. Senators Ossoff and Warnock.
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

[Valdosta on demand, City Hall, Senator Jon Ossoff on Okefenokee, Valdosta Mayor, Council, Staff, Sen. Ossoff]
Valdosta on demand, City Hall, Senator Jon Ossoff on Okefenokee, Valdosta Mayor, Council, Staff, Sen. Ossoff

Here is the WWALS video: Continue reading

Salty Snapper Pop Up Paddle and Lunch, Withlacoochee River, Langdale Park 2021-05-15

Update 2021-05-08: Water Trail signs planted at Langdale Park Boat Ramp 2021-05-06.

Leisurely paddle promoting ecotourism as we sieze the rare optimal water levels to paddle from Langdale Park to Troupville Boat Ramp as we stop in halfway for lunch at the Salty Snapper. Each participant will be responsible for purchasing their own lunch. This is a pop-up paddle meaning that we have a rare window to paddle this section of the river in favorable conditions for a group. This also means that conditions can rapidly change. We will keep regular posts on this event to ensure optimal water levels for this paddle. We will gather at Langdale Park at 9am and perform a team shuttle at 9:30 returning to Langdale and launching at 10:00 am. We will arrive at the Salty Snapper (3 miles) for lunch/beverages around 11:30 shortly after they open. Lunch should wrap up around 12:30 and paddle on down to Troupville Boat Ramp (4 miles) arriving and finishing up around 2:30pm.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 3 PM, Saturday, May 15, 2021

Put In: Langdale Park Boat Ramp, 3781 N. Valdosta Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602, in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.88747, -83.32395

High Water Put In: If Langdale Park is closed due to high water, we will put in at US 41 Landing, 3966 N Valdosta Rd, Valdosta, GA 31602. This landing is tricky, so we will post further directions if we have to use it.

Take Out: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18.

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: As a one-time experiement, we are waiving the outing fee for this one pop-up outing. The fee has never seemed to be a deterrent to anybody paddling, but we’ll see if anybody says they came because this one was free. Everyone will still have to sign in so everyone will be covered by WWALS insurance.

All WWALS outings are free to WWALS members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Event: facebook, meetup

[Langdale Park Boat Ramp sign, map]
Langdale Park Boat Ramp sign, map

Continue reading

Chemours: new Florida mine, what about next to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia? 2021-04-23

On the same day the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) filed a notice of intent to issue a permit for a new titanium mine on Trail Ridge in Bradford County, Florida, the Sierra Club posted an action alert for people to ask what does Chemours intend to do about the Twin Pines Minerals mining application within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp in Charlton County, Georgia?

You can use the Sierra Club Action to ask Chemours to disavow any interest in that Twin Pines Minerals mine or site.
https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/Georgia?actionId=AR0326624

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp welcomed yet another Chemours mine to Georgia just last fall, yet the day before these two events he refused to state an opinion on the proposed mine next to the Okefenokee Swamp. You can ask him to speak up against it, by using the Waterkeeper Alliance Action Alert, which will send a message to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD) and Georgia elected officials asking them to reject the permit applications for that site.
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

[Map of mines on Trail Ridge, Twin Pines Minerals, Chemours]
Map of mines on Trail Ridge, Twin Pines Minerals, Chemours

The Twin Pines Minerals proposed mine site is in the middle right of this map, barely southeast of the Swamp, south of Chemours Mission Mine North and Mission Mine South in Georgia, and north of a string of Chemours mines in north Florida, with the new Chemours Trail Ridge South Mine indicated at the bottom end of that row.

Why would Chemours not be interested in a mine in the middle of Trail Ridge, where Twin Pines Minerals has said the mining is the most convenient? Continue reading

Still clean Friday: Withlacoochee River 2021-04-30

Update 2021-05-08: Clean upstream and downstream, Withlacoochee River 2021-05-06.

Clean Withlacoochee River Friday downstream, according to WWALS tester Gus Cleary, and upstream, according to Valdosta. There’s been no rain since then (except far upstream on the Suwannee River), so most likely the Withlacoochee River and probably all the other rivers in the Suwannee River Basin are good for boating, fishing, and swimming.

We don’t actually know about the Suwannee or the Alapaha or Santa Fe Rivers, because the state of Florida is not testing those. If Valdosta can test three times a week on forty river miles to the state line, Florida should be able to do the rest to the Gulf. Floridians, maybe you’d like to ask your statehouse delegation to make that happen.

As previously mentioned, Madison and Hamilton Counties probably won’t lift their health advisory until they see a second clean report from testing by Madison Health. They usually test on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so we probably won’t see results until Wednesday. Meanwhile, you saw clean results here first.

[Chart, River, Plates]
Chart, River, Plates

Gus Cleary says the Withlacoochee was about seven feet above normal low levels Friday. Continue reading

Water Trail Brochures available: Alapaha, Withlacoochee, and Little Rivers

WWALS has printed 10,000 z-fold brochures for each of two water trails, through a generous grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR). Plus Georgia Beer Company is a new sponsor, adding to a long list of cities, counties, tourist councils, and development authorities that have assisted with money or letters or resolutions of support. The images here are updated to what we printed. Contact us to get printed copies of these brochures: they’re free to individuals or to groups that will distribute them to the public.

[ARWT front and back, WLRWT mapside]
ARWT front and back, WLRWT mapside

This is the third edition of the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT) brochure, and the first-ever Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) brochure.

You can help defray the cash match for the grant, online, or contact us. Or maybe you’d like to contribute to our water trail signs.

WWALS is currently updating all our online water trail maps and web pages. You can help:
https://forms.gle/qXkPr7eCK51P4X4u7

There are also many other ways you can participate in the activities and advocacy of WWALS:
https://wwals.net/donations/

Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT)

See: https://wwals.net/maps/alapaha-water-trail/

The two previous ARWT brochure editions, 10,000 copies each, lasted about four years. This one has Continue reading

Four U.S. Senators ask U.S. FWS to assist GA-EPD against mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp 2021-04-28

“Georgia’s senators want the federal government to get involved in the state’s review of a mine proposed at the doorstep of the East Coast’s largest wildlife refuge.”, James Marshall, E&E News, 30 April 2021, Senators worry about mine project near Okefenokee.

And you can still use the Waterkeeper Alliance action alert to Help Suwannee Riverkeeper Save Okefenokee Swamp by sending a message to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division asking them to reject Twin Pines Minerals’ five permit applications, or at least to go through a full process to review them:
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

[Letter, Mine site, Senators, Signatures]
Letter, Mine site, Senators, Signatures

Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock also got Senators Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island and Tom Carper from Delaware to co-sign their letter of Wednesday to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s good they’re doing what many of us asked all the candidates to do in the Georgia Senate race last year.

Mary Landers, Savannahnow, 29 April 2021, U.S. Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff urge scrutiny of Okefenokee mining proposal.

The economy was on Warnock’s mind last week when he released a statement about the mining near the Okefenokee.

“I am a fierce champion for strengthening rural economies, and finding ways to ensure rural Georgians don’t just survive, but thrive,” he wrote. “At the same time, the Okefenokee is integral to the local ecology and economy, and we owe it to our planet and the communities that depend on the swamp to ensure its health and integrity for future generations. As a voice for Georgians in the Senate, I look forward to working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and engaging their expertise in these on-going conversations to make sure we protect this cherished Georgia landmark as we work to bring more good-paying jobs to our rural communities.”

Well, that’s good to hear. I look forward to the local Chambers and all the organizations concerned about the Swamp finding some businesses for Charlton County and other rural south Georgia and north Florida counties.

The Letter (PDF)

Continue reading