Our 300 closest friends from #PaddleGA2019 will recognize one of these, where they all put in for seven days on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers last summer: Cook County Boat Ramp (GA 76), Folsom Bridge Landing (GA 122), and Troupville Boat Ramp (GA 133).
All are marked green for “Meets water quality standards” due to the zero (0) E. coli result I got at Cook County Boat Ramp Saturday, which is upstream on the Little River from the other two, combined with the zero result Suzy Hall got downstream on the Withlacoochee River at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, and very low results a few days earlier from Valdosta and from Madison Health, upstream and downstream on the Withlacoochee River.
Tifton, GA, got an inch of rain yesterday, and scattered rain is falling in south Georgia and north Florida today, so we’re watching to see what that does to water quality. If it continues to be mostly a gentle rain, it may dilute anything being washed into the rivers. If it falls heavily, we may see more cow and horse and deer manure washed into the river. Or at least that’s my speculation: we need an actual study to determine the likelihood. Meanwhile, WWALS continues to test water quality and to correlate results with those from several governmental bodies. You can help.
All three “beaches” are on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail.
People ask: why beaches? Do people swim there? Why yes, people do.
But “beaches” is what Swim Guide calls all the locations it shows, because Swim Guide started out being about lake and ocean beaches. Yet it also works for rivers, and Suwannee Riverkeeper of WWALS Watershed Coalition is the most recent organization to use Swim Guide for river landings.
We will keep adding “beaches” as we have more data to enable water quality status for each.
The picture for Troupville Boat Ramp is of #PaddleGA2019 putting in on June 16, 2010, just west of Valdosta, to paddle down by the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, where we are working on building a Troupville River Camp, and onwards past the outflow of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Upstream from Troupville Boat Ramp it’s 25 miles to Folsom Bridge Landing on GA 122, west of Hahira. Both are in Lowndes County, Georgia, just across the river from Brooks County.
Saturday we put in at Cook County Boat Ramp on GA 76, in Cook County, GA, with Brooks County on the other side of the Little River. We paddled upstream about a mile to Stone Bridge. Downstream it’s only six river miles to Folsom Bridge Landing. WWALS Outings Committee Chair Bobby McKenzie did that downstream paddle earlier after scouting upstream to Stone Bridge.
After the Saturday paddle, I drew a water sample, which after 24 hours incubating showed zero E. coli, which is as good as it gets. Conn and Trudy Cole also sample at Cook County Boat Ramp.
We already put eight Withlacoochee River “beaches” on Swim Guide. Those are all still green, too. We’ll see with the rain happening now.
In Florida, Madison Health is the only organization currently sampling weekly, and it only goes downstream as far as FL 6, just above Madison Blue Spring. We can probably add one more Withlacoochee River beach downstream derived from Madison Health data and one more upstream from Valdosta data.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) does sample monthly a few stations on the Suwannee River, so we can maybe use that data for at least historic quality ratings.
We also have a few datapoints for the Alapaha River, from WWALS and from FDEP.
Thanks again to Or Denemark and Gabrielle Parent-Doliner of Swim Guide’s parent organization, Swim Drink Fish, for all their assistance.
Oh, and you can help WWALS test water quality and analyze results from all the various sources by donating to the WWALS water quality testing program.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!