Not the answer I was looking for, but GA-EPD is still by far the most responsive agency regarding Sabal Trail.
Lisa Myler of GA-DNR called back Friday about 7PM saying Tom Fowler had been to the Okapilco Creek Sabal Trail sinkhole site I reported.
I called her back Monday, and after DNR’s web server came back up she forwarded Tom Fowler’s report today:
From: Fowler, Tom
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2017 5:23 PM
To: Myler, Lisa
Cc: Bundrick, Ethan
Subject: RE: Sabal trail response
I haven’t had a chance to call him yet. The “sinkhole” he is referencing appears to be a shallow depression in the wetland adjacent to Okapilco Creek which is ponding water. According to the rainfall records for a construction project several miles east of this site, the area received between 4-5 inches of rain during Irma. We observed this area during active construction while investigating one of Mr. Quarterman’s other complaints, and this is one of the areas where Joe misidentified the stream buffer during his initial investigation. This area was a depressed wetland adjacent to the creek channel. I did not see any clear evidence of subsidence in this area (visible soil, etc., and the area was very well stabilized with grass in this area as well. No evidence of erosion or sedimentation was observed at this site.
There are likely many areas along the right of way ponding water right now. Some subsidence is to be expected, and Sabal has been actively looking for subsidence and repairing these areas as necessary. Mr. Quarterman may need to check with Terry Kobs (US Army Corps of Eng.) for concerns about placement of fill material in the wetlands, but Sabal acquired the necessary 404 permits for this prior to construction.
In short, no violations were observed and no evidence of erosion or sedimentation into state waters was found.
Tommy W. Fowler
SW District EPD
These pictures are from Sunday, September 24, 2017 when a WWALS member and I took a gander around Brooks County, Georgia.
I did get email from Terry Kobs Friday, but all he said was:
I wanted to let you know we have received and will review the information you provided concerning the possible sinkholes within the SABAL Trails Right of Way in Brooks County, GA.
I will call Terry Kobs back and ask.
My previous complaint Tom Fowler refers to is Sabal Trail at Okapilco Creek 2016-12-06. I complained about lack of silt fences, but Joe Freeman of DNR thought he had found a violation of Sabal Trail outside its easement. It turns out according to Georgia’s peculiar “wrested vegetation” stream boundary law. Here is the report Tom Fowler forwarded me back in December:
From: Winsness, Shannon
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 2:59 PM
To: Fowler, Tom
In response to your request, I conducted a site visit to the Sabal Trail Project MP 219.6 Stream and Wetland Crossing. Based upon this site visit, the EPD has determined the following:
1: On the East side of the Stream crossing (S3TRC042) the project is in compliance with the Stream Buffer Exemption in Permit No. GAR100002 Part IV(i)(4). The Crossing occurs at an angle within 25 degrees of perpendicular to the stream and causes a width of disturbance of not more than 50 feet within the buffer.
Stream crossing S3TRC042 is across Okapilco Creek, visible on this map, as is the wetland W3TRC048 on the west side of the creek that she mentions. The sinkhole I reported last week is in wetland W3TRC047, which is just west of the thing marked “DRIVEWAY” on this map.
2: On the West side of the Stream crossing (S3TRC042) the project is also in compliance with the Stream Buffer Exemption as state above. The wetland (W3TRC048) is not buffered and therefore there is no width limit requirement.
3: Additionally on today’s site visit, the West Side of Stream crossing (S3TRC042), a clear demarcation between the “State Waters” and vegetative growth caused by water movement was not observed. There was not an identifiable point from which to measure the buffer. Therefore, for the West Side of Stream crossing (S3TRC042) a stream buffer would not be required by EPD.
The project is in compliance with the Permit and the approved ESPCP.
Please do not hesitate to contact me @ 912-554-3492 should you have any questions.
Shannon K. Winsness
Watershed Protection Branch
Coastal District Office
400 Commerce Center Drive
Brunswick, GA 31523-8251
Phone: (912) 554-3492
Meanwhile, Lisa Myler says Joe Freeman has left DNR and started his own private consulting firm. She says Joe’s replacement at DNR is named Wendell Howell.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!a google map.
Beer can,, Coffee Road, near Okapilco Creek 30.9185740, -83.5903870
Sabal Trail Marker, Coffee Road, near Okapilco Creek 30.9185340, -83.5903270
Plastic bottle,, Coffee Road, near Okapilco Creek 30.9184910, -83.5903540
Trees piled up in a berm, Coffee Road, near Okapilco Creek 30.9183180, -83.5904140
Looking southeast, GA 333, Moultrie Road 30.9135220, -83.5808330
Looking northwest back towards Okapilco Creek, GA 333, Moultrie Road 30.9135141, -83.5809706
Looking north up Sabal Trail, 181554, CR 10, Pauline Church Road 30.8938971, -83.5619058
SONAT valve station, CR 10, Pauline Church Road 30.8939542, -83.5617714
SONAT old concrete marker, CR 10, Pauline Church Road 30.8938560, -83.5616520
Closeup, SONAT concrete marker, CR 10, Pauline Church Road 30.8938260, -83.5616500
E to canopy road, CR 10, Pauline Church Road 30.8939180, -83.5611930
Tree tunnel, CR 10, Pauline Church Road 30.8939180, -83.5608330
The light in the tree tunnel, CR 10, Pauline Church Road 30.8940942, -83.5587025
SE under power line, Jackson Road 30.8850832, -83.5522682
N to road bank with rain gage, CR 3, Spain Road 30.8617800, -83.5281730
S to Sabal Trail, pokeberry, CR 3, Spain Road 30.8617180, -83.5281380
N to SONAT marker, CR 3, Spain Road 30.8616670, -83.5281250
S to SONAT marker with culvert, CR 3, Spain Road 30.8615530, -83.5279040
Dirt and paved, Spain Road @ Morven Road 30.8605509, -83.5162990
Tree tunnel, Spain Road @ Morven Road 30.8605509, -83.5162990
E to Sabal Trail 226, GA 76, Adel Highway, Morven Road 30.8507100, -83.5183670
W to Sabal Trail marker, GA 76, Adel Highway, Morven Road 30.8510173, -83.5183758
Gate open, Martin Lane, Lowndes County 30.7873910, -83.4457870
Trucks parked on pipeline, Martin Lane, Lowndes County 30.7870220, -83.4471410
Follow this link for the interactive google map, or it’s also embedded below.