Lowndes County takes over Skipper Bridge Withlacoochee River Gauges with help from SRWMD 2019-10-21

Funding is shifting from Valdosta to Lowndes County for the Skipper Bridge Road Withlacoochee River gauge, adding to the county’s traditional since 2009 funding of the Folsom Bridge GA 122 Little River gauge. That’s $8,300 and $14,200, respectively, with another $5,900 for the Skipper Bridge Gauge from the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD). The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) puts in $900 towards each gauge, or $1800 total. SRWMD and USGS previously assisted Valdosta in funding the Skipper Bridge Road gauge.

Skipper Bridge Road Withlacoochee River Gauge NWS graph

This change will be discussed this morning at 8:30 AM and voted on at 5:30 PM Tuesday, October 22, 2019, by the Lowndes County Commission. The reason for this change is:

As of FY2020 the City of Valdosta is no longer able to fund their portion of the Skipper Bridge Rd gauge as it lies outside the city limits. Without the data from this gauge the other gauge currently funded on the Little River would provide little benefit as it relates to providing forecast further downstream, especially at Hwy 84. Gauges on both rivers are needed to provide any type of accurate forecast. This gauge also is important in providing warning to those downstream of the Skipper Bridge Rd gauge that flooded during the 2009 event.

Valdosta still funds the North Valdosta Road US 41 Withlacoochee River Valdosta gauge, and USGS completely funds the US 84 Quitman Withlacoochee River gauge.

There are currently a total of four (4) operational stream gauges on rivers in Lowndes County. One gauge is located on the Withlacoochee River on the bridge on Skipper Bridge Road. This location has served as an official forecast point and been jointly funded by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the City of Valdosta for at least the last twenty (20) years. Following the 2009 flooding event, Lowndes County requested a gauge be installed on the Little River at the Hwy 122 bridge and this location has been funded by Lowndes County since that time. At the same time, the City of Valdosta began funding a second gauge located on the N Valdosta Rd Bridge over the Withlacoochee River. The USGS has also totally funded the fourth gauge which is located on the Withlacoochee River on the US Hwy 84 Bridge at the Brooks/Lowndes County line. This location is just past where the Little River and Withlacoochee Rivers combine into one and has recently been designated a forecast point as well. These stream gauges are valuable tools to alert local officials to potential flooding and allow for adequate time to prepare and plan for any potential impacts. It also allows the National Weather Service (NWS) hydrologist to provide both emergency management officials as well as the general public with warning information well in advance of a potential flooding event thereby allowing both local responders and citizens to adequately prepare to save life and property.

Details are in the Board Packet now on the LAKE website, received Friday, October 18, 2019, in response to an open records request from Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).

[OPTIONS: 1. Approve the FY 2020 Funding Agreement]
OPTIONS: 1. Approve the FY 2020 Funding Agreement

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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