Troupville to Spook Bridge, Withlacoochee River paddle 2020-01-18

Update 2020-01-17: Mostly clean in Georgia, not in Florida, Withlacoochee River 2020-01-15

Update 2020-01-14: Recent water quality test results, Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers 2020-01-11

Update 2020-01-13: Press release: Water quality permitting, paddle with Mayor of Valdosta this Saturday 2020-01-18 .

A leisurely paddle on the WIthlacoochee River after it tests clean from the recent Valdosta sewage spill. It may help resolve the problem of such spills causing stigma all the way down the rivers to the Gulf, by showing rains do eventually clean the rivers.

[Street map]
Street map: Troupville Boat Ramp upper right; Spook Brige lower left.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, Saturday, January 18, 2020

Put In: Troupville Boat Ramp, 19664 Valdosta Hwy, Valdosta, GA 31602: on GA 133 off I-75 exit 18. in Lowndes County.

GPS: 30.851842, -83.346536

Take Out: Spook Bridge. Thanks to The Langdale Company for access through their private property to Spook Bridge for this outing and for water quality testing.

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

Event: facebook, meetup

This paddle was requested by incoming Valdosta Mayor Scott James. Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter hopes to attend. All elected officials, especially in Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia, and Hamilton and Madison Counties, Florida, are invited to paddle with us, and of course upstream in Cook, Colquitt, Berrien, and Tift Counties, and downstream in Suwannee County and everywhere else.

If you can’t paddle, you can come to the put-in and say a few words. You don’t even have to wear tie-dye.

[Dignitaries at Confluence]
Dignitaries at Confluence

After putting in at the same location as Paddle Georgia last summer, Troupville Boat Ramp, we will paddle along the Land Between the Rivers to the site of the proposed Troupville River Camp at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, in the center of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.

Other attractions along the way include Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant Outfall, also known as Valdosta’s $100 million waterfall, where the cleaned-up effluent goes into the river. We will collect some samples upstream and down.

[Movie: WWTP Outfall, 11:23:17, 30.83622, -83.35924 (15M)]
Movie: WWTP Outfall, 11:23:17, (15M) 30.8362200, -83.3592400

The WWTP was not the source of Valdosta’s December 2019 record-largest raw sewage spill; that came from upstream on Sugar Creek, marked on this map about halfway between Troupville Boat Ramp and downtown Valdosta.

[Aerial map]
Aerial map

We hope this paddle will demonstrate the Withlacoochee River is clean again. If there’s rain before the paddle, that could be the case.

We’ll probably also sample water in, above, and below Spring Branch, which comes down from the WWTP, a landfill, and a golf course.

[Sampling fish, 12:16:46, 30.82827, -83.38513]
Sampling fish, 12:16:46, 30.8282700, -83.3851300

Duration: 6 hours

Shuttle distance: 24 miles

Shuttle duration: 30 minutes
This outing includes the traditional WWALS shuttle. Everybody takes their boats to the put-in, most people drive to the take-out, and the drivers pile into one or two vehicles and go back to the put-in.

[Right was not optimal, 15:44:10, 30.7939232, -83.4536950]
Rapids just above U.S. 84; Right was not optimal, 15:44:10, 30.7939232, -83.4536950

Paddle distance: 11 miles

Gauge: USGS 02318500 Quitman, US 84

Quitman USGS Gauge
Quitman US 84 Gauge.

Paddle duration: 6 hours

[Zoom, 15:51:46, 30.7908289, -83.4518955]
Spook Bridge landing Zoom, 15:51:46, 30.7908289, -83.4518955
Thanks again to The Langdale Company for permission to take out just below Spook Bridge.

Host: Bobby McKenzie

Contact: Bobby McKenzie

Backup: in case of high or low water or still-dirty water is: reschedule to mid-February, probably Saturday, February 22.

More: For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!