Daily Archives: March 5, 2021

More contamination after big rains, Withlacoochee River 2021-03-04

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.

[Last week, Swim Guide, this week]
Last week, Swim Guide, this week

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.

[Map: Swim Guide]
Map: Swim Guide

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

Big Shoals, Suwannee River, Florida, 2021-05-19

Update 2021-05-18: It’s a half mile portage, so bring boat wheels and be prepared to haul over some rough spots down to the beach of the two gators.

Paddle to and portage past the biggest rapids in Florida: Big Shoals and Little Shoals on the Suwannee River, on this short weekday trip.

[Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map]
Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 2 PM, Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Put In: Big Shoals Tract Launch.
From White Springs, travel north on CR 135 to SE 94 Street (Godwin Bridge Road); turn right and follow road to Big Shoals, in Hamilton County.

GPS: 30.353167, -82.687333

Portage: The portage is 400 feet long.
Participants must be able to carry everything they bring from the beginning of the portage to the re-launch. Also must have fairly good physical conditioning and balance to climb up and down banks to re-launch.

Shirley Kokidko, experienced with this section of the Suwannee, says, “I’m 65 and I can do it, but it’s not easy, and takes a good bit of teamwork to get everybody re-launched. No children. Let’s keep this group to a safe number. On a weekday that probably won’t be a problem.”

Everyone must have a bowline, rope of any sort, very much needed to help lower boats back into the water after the portage. Continue reading