Monthly Archives: May 2021

No rain, clean Withlacoochee River 2021-05-27

Update 2021-06-04: Clean Rivers 2021-06-03.

No rain has produced a quite low but clean Withlacoochee River. It’s fortunate WWALS testers sampled Wednesday and Thursday, so it looks like the Withlacoochee River remains about as clean as we’ve ever seen it. Happy boating, fishing, and swimming!

[Bridges, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide]
Bridges, Withlacoochee River, Swim Guide

The last results we have from Valdosta are for upstream on Wednesday. They got slightly higher results at US 41 than did WWALS tester Bobby McKenzie, yet lower at GA 133. Continue reading

OSFR kayaktivism at Ginnie Springs, Santa Fe River 2021-05-29

Not a WWALS outing, but we recommend it: Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) is doing kayaktivism tomorrow, Saturday, May 29, 2021, on a mile and a half of Santa Fe River frontage next to Ginnie Springs.

This is to protest the recent ridiculous award of a water withdrawal permit by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) to Seven Springs Water Company (SSWC) and Nestlé or Nestle Water North America (NWNA) or BlueTriton as NWNA is called after being bought by One Rock and Metropoulos. It’s so ridiculous SRWMD is appealing its own decision, in addition to three or more other lawsuits.

Paddle if you can, with signs.

Group of paddlers at Ginnie Springs

For all details about outing, see this OSFR blog post: KAYAKTIVISM Sat. May 29, 11am-2pm On The River By Ginnie Springs Campground.

WWALS has contributed financially to the lawsuit OSFR has brought against SRWMD.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Water Trail signs planted 2021-05-21

Bobby McKenzie has been busy planting water trail signs, both road signs and at-water signs. All these signs were paid for by a grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR). There was a cash match, so if you want to help with that, you can:
https://www.gagives.org/story/Wwalswatertrailsigns

[Kinard Bridge Road, Adel-Moultrie, andAntioch Road Landings, Cook County Boat Ramp, Folsom Bridge, Hagan Bridge, and Pafford's Landings]
Kinard Bridge Road, Adel-Moultrie, andAntioch Road Landings, Cook County Boat Ramp, Folsom Bridge, Hagan Bridge, and Pafford’s Landings

Little River

Kinard Bridge Road Landing

We bought road signs from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). GDOT is planting road signs on state and federal highways, but WWALS has to put them on county roads, like Kinard Bridge Road. There are two sets of road signs for each location, for each direction. In this case, for Kinard Bridge Road Landig, the most upstream landing on the Little River in the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT). Continue reading

Calling for pictures of swimming, diving, rapids, tubing, water skiing, or surfing, Suwannee River Basin, Georgia

Update 2021-06-21: The real deadline is June 30, 2021.

Calling for pictures, personal experience, or other evidence of swimming or diving in lakes and rivers in the Suwannee River Basin, and evidence of investments in recreation.

[Candidate Recreational waterways, Georgia, legend, Suwannee River Basin]
Candidate Recreational waterways, Georgia, legend, Suwannee River Basin

For a waterway to be redesignated Recreational instead of Fishing, as we requested back in 2019, GA-EPD requires evidence of “Primary Contact Recreation,” which it says is “full immersion contact with water where there is significant risk of ingestion that includes, but is not limited to, swimming, diving, white water boating (class 3+), tubing, water skiing, and surfing.”

Recreational designation would mean tighter restrictions on contamination limits. That should be good for fish, fishing, people who swim, fish, and boat, and for eco-tourism.

Could everyone who has pictures, news reports, or other solid evidence of such activities in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia please send them in. That’s in the Okefenokee Swamp, Suwannee River, Alapaha River, Banks Lake, Grand Bay, Withlacoochee River, or Little River.

Please use this form:
https://forms.gle/DipPgU2TP5atc2Rf9
If you have difficulties with that, please email them to wwalswatershed@gmail.com.

Also, please send any evidence of investments in recreation along any of these waterways, with dollar amounts, if you have them.

No rush. We thought we had until the end of June, but recently GA-EPD truncated the deadline to May 28th. That’s Friday of this week. GA-EPD has indicated that the end-of-week deadline may be flexible, but please send what you’ve got as fast as you can.

They also applied a bunch of criteria, some of which we were previously unaware of, and tossed out many stretches of the rivers. We asked for an appeal process, but they have not provided one. So feel free to send in pictures and other evidence about all stretches, and we’ll see what we can do with them.

The good news is that still on the candidate list for Recreational redesignation is all of the Okefenokee Swamp, the Suwannee River in Georgia, Banks Lake, and Grand Bay Creek and Trail within the Grand Bay WMA. Also included is most of the Alapaha River within the Alapaha River Water Trail, but not upstream from the Willacoochee River, and not for ten miles downstream from Lakeland.

But almost all of the Withlacoochee River is eliminated, except for Tiger Creek (at Spook Bridge) to the state line, and all of the Little River is eliminated. Also gone is Lake Irma, because Continue reading

All clear, Withlacoochee River 2021-05-20

Update 2021-05-28: No rain, clean Withlacoochee River 2021-05-27 .

Good news: all clear on the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers for this weekend! That’s as far as E. coli in numerous water quality samples. And the Alapaha River, too, from the one datapoint we have.

[All clear, many samples, three rivers, Swim Guide]
All clear, many samples, three rivers, Swim Guide

Thanks to WWALS tester Elizabeth Brunner for the GA 122 sites Tuesday: Folsom Bridge on the Little River, Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River. For Thursday, thanks to Bobby McKenzie for testing Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River and the pictures of the too-low Withlacoochee River at Langdale Park and GA 133. Thanks to Michael Bachrach and Jacob Bachrach in the bug suit for Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps Thursday. Thanks to Gus Cleary for Cleary Bluff Monday and Thursday. Thanks to WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall for wrangling review of results.

Thanks to Madison Health for State Line, Sullivan Launch, and FL 6 Thursday.

Valdosta was again asleep at the wheel.

Here’s the chart: Continue reading

Eulogy for Christopher Stone: Should Trees have Standing? 2021-05-19

“Nature should have its own voice…,
even though nature can’t speak.
Corporations can’t speak.
Nation states can’t speak.
They hire a counsel to speak for them.”

Christopher D. Stone said that in 2013, revisiting a legal theory he pioneered in 1972.

He died May 14, 2021, and there is a lengthy eulogy. Emily Langer, Washington Post, 2021-05-19, Christopher Stone, environmental scholar who championed fundamental rights of nature, dies at 83.

But first, hear the professor speak.

[Christopher Stone Revisits
 "Should Trees Have Standing?" -USC Gould School of Law 2021-07-30]
Christopher Stone Revisits “Should Trees Have Standing?”

Here is the video by USC Gould School of Law:

He describes a situation that seems eerily familiar:

Walt Disney Enterprises had proposed to develop Mineral King Valley. By develop meaning put in motels, restaurants, and things of that sort. The Sierra Club challenged the permit, permitting this to go on. And the case went up to the Ninth Circuit. And the Forest Service said, look, you don’t have standing, you the Sierra Club don’t have standing. Maybe this is a wrong to issue the permit, but you are not injured, you as a club are not injured.

That scenario is familiar for two reasons.

Early on, Walt Disney World was intended to be in Lowndes County, Georgia, as recounted by numerous local people here who remember when it happened. This actually makes more sense as a location than Orlando, because it would have been next to I-75 and not far from I-10, with easier road access from more of the U.S. population than Orlando. It didn’t happen because Continue reading

SRWMD disclaims responsibility for new Chemours titanium mine near Starke

Much like the SRWMD Board listened to its attorneys and approved Nestlé Ginnie Springs water withdrawal near the Santa Fe River, SRWMD says it has no authority to stop the proposed new titanium mine Chemours wants near Starke, the fifth one in Florida, plus the two or three Chemours has in Georgia, plus the proposed Twin Pines Minerals mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, all on Trail Ridge, the north-south divide between the Suwannee River and St. Johns River Basins in Florida, and the dam that holds in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.

The reporter has a good idea: SRWMD could charge Chemours for access through state property to its mine site.

Meanwhile, FDEP Mining and Mitigation has issued a Notice of Intent to Issue Environmental Resource Permit, which includes contact information for comments, and how you could file a request for a legal hearing.

You can also still ask Georgia officials to stop the other proposed mine far too near the Okefenokee Swamp:
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

[Location, Mine, SRWMD, Bradford BOCC]
Location, Mine, SRWMD, Bradford BOCC

Craig Pittman, Florida Phoenix, 20 May 2021, FL allowing mining of state-owned wetlands has a certain smell to it,

But the region also boasts a multitude of springs, lakes, creeks, and rivers, including the Santa Fe and the famous Suwannee, celebrated in our problematic state song. Overseeing these watery state assets is the Suwannee River Water Management District, which in 2015 spent $3.9 million to buy more than 2,000 acres of forest and swamp near Starke from the timber company Rayonier.

“It seemed like a good purchase,” Tom Mirti, the district’s deputy executive director, told me this week.

District officials figured they could use that land for a variety of environmentally beneficial projects, including creating a wildlife corridor for bears and other wide-ranging animals between the Ocala National Forest and the Osceola National Forest, he said.

There was just one problem: Rayonier kept the mineral rights to the property. Then the timber giant turned around and leased those mineral rights to Chemours. And there wasn’t a thing the water agency could say about it.

Continue reading

Big Shoals Scouting, Suwannee River 2021-05-14

Bring boat wheels and be ready for a half-mile portage around Big Shoals in the WWALS outing tomorrow.

[Portage Now, Big Shoals, Beach eddy, Banner at beach below shoals]
Portage Now, Big Shoals, Beach eddy, Banner at beach below shoals

That’s the conclusion from the Friday scouting organized by Park Manager Manny Perez and Randy Madison of Florida Trails, in conjunction with WWALS Intern Bobby McKenzie and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. Park Ranger Peter Shanks led Randy, Bobby, and me to three possible put-ins below BIG Shoals. The third one is best, with a nice slope to a beach.

We are all for reasonable accommodation per our WWALS nondiscrimination policy, which in this case means you’ll need to be able to climb up at the take-out before the shoals, pull your boat for a half mile, including dragging it over a couple of rough spots, and slide it back into the water at the beach put-in. We can help, but you’ll need to do most of the work, because we’ll be pulling our own boats.

Click on any of the small pictures below to see a bigger one. There’s also a google map of the locations of these pictures. Continue reading

Not-so-dry Alapaha River to Suwannee River –Bobby McKenzie 2021-05-07

WWALS members Bobby McKenzie and Russell Allen McBride took advantage of water in the usually-dry lower Alapaha River to paddle from Sasser Landing to the Suwannee River and Gibson Park Boat Ramp.

[Sasser Landing, sun tree, Jennings Bluff Landing, US 41 Alapaha River Landing, twisted tree, Gibson Park Boat Ramp]
Sasser Landing, sun tree, Jennings Bluff Landing, US 41 Alapaha River Landing, twisted tree, Gibson Park Boat Ramp

Along the way, they saw the new still-steep stairs at Jennings Bluff Launch and discovered a US 41 Alapaha River Landing.

These are all on the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT). Continue reading