As usual, the big rains washed more contamination into the Withlacoochee River, most likely mostly down Okapilco Creek from cattle in Brooks County, Georgia.
However, since the rains were Monday and Tuesday, by the time Madison Health and WWALS tested Thursday, much of it had already started washing downstream. By Thursday it appears to have already been flushed down to the state line and beyond by more rainwater. By now it’s probably down into the Suwannee River, where it may well have been diluted by even more rainwater coming down the Alapaha and Suwannee Rivers.
So above the state line the Withlacoochee is probably OK to boat, swim, and fish this weekend. It may even be safe below the state line by Saturday morning, although we have no data on that.
So on Swim Guide I’ve set red from the state line down into Florida, yet green at Knights Ferry and Nankin Boat Ramps, as well as green for Valdosta’s readings upstream Monday before the rains.
The 3,784 cfu/100 mL E. coli Madison Health got at Florida 6 Thursday is far higher than the 1,000 alert limit. But a year ago on Thursday, March 5, 2020, Madison Health got TNTC (Too Numerous To Count) at all three of State Line, Sullivan Launch, and Florida 6. Plus that Friday Valdosta got 4,600 at the state line and 25,000 at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp. So there is still ample room for improvement, but it’s possible that the Best Management Practices (BMPs) the Brooks County dairies have been implementing are starting to work. Continue reading