Video: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols Radio 2020-06-23

On the Steve Nichols radio show we talked about how song submissions are open until July 8, 2020, for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. We also talked about fishing, bacterial contamination and mercury in the rivers, coal plants, solar power, and upcoming WWALS outings on Banks Lake and the Suwannee River.


Tickets to listen to the finalists play 7-9PM Saturday, August, 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park in Valdosta, GA, are $10 online (children under 12 free) or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to

The Steve Nichols show was the first to reveal the judges are selected.

[First to reveal judges]
First to reveal judges

Songs can be about any river, creek, swamp, sink, or spring in the Suwannee River Basin. Including the Okefenokee Swamp, and we have already got one sone about that. You can send one in, too.

[Any river, creek, swamp, sink, or spring]
Any river, creek, swamp, sink, or spring

Of course we talked about E. coli in the rivers. I complimented Valdosta on testing three times a week on forty Withlacoochee River miles from North Valdosta Road to the state line. I emphasized that Valdosta has not had a spill since the big one last December. Other than small Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) spills that have not gotten into waterways, such as the one it turns out happened that same day.

And I complimented Lowndes County (which has its own sewer system, which has not spilled in many months) on its new water quality sampling program throughout the county, although that would be a lot more useful if we could see the results. Also on continued county sewer system improvements.


Steve asked about fishing. I said that the the waters were clean at the moment, and I’ve been told that thoroughly cooking fish gets rid of E. coli anyway.

[Caution bacterial contamination]
Caution bacterial contamination

I mentioned that mercury is still a problem, limiting how many fish are safe to eat in the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers. Mercury that comes through the air from the country’s biggest and dirtiest coal plant, Plant Scherer, north of Macon. And that I looked forward to it closing.

JEA: Plant Scherer
Photo: JEA. Plant Scherer, located near Macon, Georgia, is operated by the Georgia Power Company. Unit 4, one of the four steam units located at the site, is partially owned by JEA. Unit 4 uses coal to produce JEA’s 200 MW portion of electricity output, which is delivered to Jacksonville over large, high-voltage electric transmission lines.

Turns out partial closing is happening faster than I expected, with FPL and JEA exiting Plant Scherer Unit 4.

Steve said there’s a solar farm near Cecil, GA, where he lives. And it turns out JEA expects soon to have more electricity from solar power than it’s currently getting from Plant Scherer. Of course, we still have to watch to see where all that coal ash is going to go: not in local landfills, please.

Finally, I mentioned the Banks Lake Full Buck Moon paddle on July 5, and the Suwannee River Camping on July 18.

[Moonrise and River Camp]
Moonrise and River Camp

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.

Steve Nichols was very complimentary about WWALS and Suwannee Riverkeeper, so I tipped my hat. He also invited me back every third Tuesday.

[Suwannee Riverkeeper Hat]
Suwannee Riverkeeper Hat

The radio show did facebook live video. The livestream starts at about 2:33:00, as in two hours and 33 minutes.

Unfortunately, facebook doesn’t permit linking directly to a timestamp, and there’s also no way to embed or download a facebook video. That’ll larn me: next time I take a video camera anyway.

For much more about the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, see:–songwriting/

[Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020]
Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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