Clean Little and Withlacoochee Rivers to GA-FL line 2020-07-03

Update 2020-07-10: Data behind Florida bacterial advisory for Withlacoochee River 2020-07-09.

Update 2020-07-09: Possible bacterial contamination, Withlacoochee River, Hamilton, Madison Co. FL 2020-07-09.

Thanks to new WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach assisting Suzy Hall, results for samples taken Friday, July 3, 2020, are all green for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps on the Withlacoochee River. The samples I took upstream were also good: zero for Hagan Bridge Landing at GA 122 on the Withlacoochee River, and 333 for Folsom Bridge Landing at GA 122 on the Little River.

Suzy did remark, “The mosquitoes got a little annoying at Nankin!”

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[Michael and Jacob Bachrach testing]
Michael and Jacob Bachrach testing

There was quite a bit of rain Friday, but almost all upstream on the Little River and upstream of Okapilco Creek at Moultrie (or Okapilco River, as Colquitt County calls it). While there was heavy rain at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River at the east side of Brooks County, meanwhile on the west side of Brooks at Dixie there was not much rain. So if we’re lucky, not much manure washed into the waterways Friday.

[Clean now]
Clean now
For the entire WWALS Composite spreadsheet of Georgia and Florida results, see

Here are pictures of Suzy’s test water.

[Control, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line Boat Ramps]
Control, Knights Ferry, Nankin, State Line Boat Ramps

As you can see, the WWALS signs for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) are still up at Nankin Boat Ramp. But our yellow diamond WWALS Caution signs remain down.

[Signs and Nankin Boat Ramp]
Signs and Nankin Boat Ramp

Here are Suzy’s PetriFilms after incubating for 24 hours. They read 33 cfu/100 mL E. coli for Knights Ferry, 100 for Nankin, and 33 for State Line Boat Ramp.

[Control, State Line, Knights Ferry, Nankin Boat Ramps]
Control, State Line, Knights Ferry, Nankin Boat Ramps

That Knights Ferry result is the first we’ve got since the previous Friday, when Valdosta’s result there was above the 410 one-time limit. See What do these numbers mean?

[Clean after previous Friday]
Clean after previous Friday

Here are my PetriFilms for my upstream samples.

[Hagan Bridge and Folsom Bridge]
Hagan Bridge and Folsom Bridge

The Hagan Bridge plates are another example of quite a few red colonies with bubbles, but no blue ones. Blue with bubbles are what we count for E. coli, so that’s a zero E. coli for Hagan Bridge Landing Friday.

[Withlacoochee River @ Hagan Bridge Landing]
Withlacoochee River @ Hagan Bridge Landing

There were blue colonies with bubbles on the Folsom Bridge Landing plates: 3 + 5 + 2 = 10. Time 100 then divided by 3 = 333. That’s higher than the longterm average limit of 126, but lower than the one-time limit of 410, so we count it as OK.

[Little River @ Folsom Bridge Landing]
Little River @ Folsom Bridge Landing

So all our “beaches” in Swim Guide are green again.

[Green map in Swim Guide]
Green map in Swim Guide

For sure, Cook County Boat Ramp on the Little River is just historic green, because we haven’t tested there in a while. However, given that Folsom Bridge Friday result, we have no reason to believe upstream would not still be green. We did test at Troupville Boat Ramp last Saturday, so until tomorrow that one will still show as current green on Swim Guide.

We don’t have anything for US 84 on the Withlacoochee River since Valdosta’s Monday result, although Valdosta actually collected samples Wednesday and Friday. It would be great if they would go ahead and post those before the weekend, or at least their Wednesday results.

Similarly, we don’t have anything for Florida since Madison Health’s Tuesday results. But those are pretty recent, and given Suzy’s results in Georgia to the State Line. We have no reason to believe water quality should continue to be good downstream into Florida. More frequent Florida testing would be good to be sure, though.

Of course, conditions can change rapidly, especially after heavy rain, so all these results are merely advisory.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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