Monthly Archives: August 2021

Denied: Deannexation of Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank @ VCC 2021-08-05

WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman heard it on Valdosta’s facebook livestream. The result was surprising only in that it was unanimous.

Bryce Ethridge, Valdosta Daily Times, Aug 24, 2021, City denies de-annexation request, approves park projects,

VALDOSTA — After tabling it at the last meeting, Valdosta City Council denied the de-annexation of 310 acres from the city.

This was a request made by the Uvalde Land Company for the city’s portion of the Cherry Creek Wetlands Mitigation Bank property located between the Withlacoochee River and Cherry Creek residential neighborhoods.

The company wanted the change for “wildlife management and recreational use” for a hunting ground.

The request, even before being brought up in the council meeting, was opposed by nearby residents, some of whom were concerned about being in the path of stray bullets because of their homes’ proximity to the area.

Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Carroll said the applicants can seek permits to hunt on the land while it remains within the city.

“None of the reasons given warrant the de-annexation of the property, especially when you consider there are a host of homeowners that have homes above this property,” he said. “They are citizens of Valdosta and they deserve to have their voices heard by their representatives.”

Carroll motioned to deny the request, followed by a unanimous vote in favor of the action.

[Aerial of proposed de-annexation]
Aerial of proposed de-annexation in 2021-08-05 Regular Session, Valdosta City Council

The picture is from the preceding City Council meeting, when they held the Public Hearing, before tabling at the landowner’s request.

Tim Carroll is visible behind the small monitor at the speaker’s podium. The de-annexation would have been from his City Council district, so, as is usual in such cases, the other Council members followed his lead, although some of them also had other reasons to deny.

See also: Continue reading

Kayakers needed to accompany swimmers –TCT7 2021-09-12

Kayakers wanted to volunteer to pace swimmers for the annual TCT7.

[Banner]
Banner

Kayakers will need to be there by 6:45 AM on Sunday, September 12, 2021.

There is the Lake Park 4-H Camp, 5000 4-H Club Road, Lake Park, GA US 31636, on the banks of Long Pond.

Anyone interested in volunteering to kayak can contact Andy Woods at (614) 312-9897.

They are expecting a huge turn out of swimmers since the event is going to be a qualifying event for local swim teams. Please see the following information from John Eunice, whose son the event memorializes.

Thank you for your support of the TCT7 Swim and the James Eunice Charity Fund. This year’s event is Continue reading

WWALS Boomerang paddle race, Withlacoochee River, Georgia, Florida 2021-10-23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, August 30, 2021 — For the fourth year, people will paddle down the Withlacoochee River from Georgia three miles into Florida, and back upstream, in the WWALS Boomerang! Canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards are welcome to register starting at 9 AM, Saturday, October 23, 2021, to be on the water by 10:45 AM. There will be prizes, and food, and drink.

“This is a great way to bring the outdoors community together and showcase the recreational opportunities we have to offer locally,” said Boomerang mastermind Bobby McKenzie. “This event caters to all ages and skill levels, you can either blaze ahead and take first place overall, or push yourself for a personal achievement on the main course or one of the modified routes. You can even just come do a leisurely paddle with like minded outdoor enthusiasts. Just remember to make your way back before the time expires, at most will be 2.5 hours.”

[Flyer]
Flyer
PDF

Tickets are on sale now, $20 online until October 15, then $30 online or at the event.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wwals-boomerang-paddle-race-2021-tickets-168646372841

State Line Boat Ramp is at 6461 Madison Highway, Valdosta, GA 31601. Heading south down I-75, take Exit 11, turn west, and keep going until you see the boat ramp sign, then turn right. From Madison, Florida, head up CR 150 until you cross the river, make a U-turn, and head down to the ramp.

Or use this GPS: 30.637844, -83.311149

From either direction, you’ll see a WWALS road sign for State Line Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. And down by the boat ramp we have two informational signs: what to see downstream and up, safety, etiquette, etc.

“Elected officials from Florida or Georgia are invited to come say a few words,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. The course starts in Lowndes County, Georgia, and goes through Brooks County, GA, and Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida.

Bobby McKenzie added, “”We will have VSU CORE Outdoors and new Outfitter Madison Outpost Adventures once again offering canoe and kayaks for free. So your registration includes free boat rental if you don’t have anything to paddle. Just let us know what you need so we can match you up. We will also have food available for purchase from B’s Backporch BBQ in Clyattville!”

“Special thanks to Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA), whose park this is,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “We always welcome additional sponsors!”

Bobby McKenzie said, “Also thanks to Olympia Bend Plantation for supporting us again this year. That shooting range neighbors Continue reading

A lot of titanium, but only one Okefenokee Swamp –U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock 2021-08-28

“We have a lot of titanium, but we only have one Okefenokee Swamp,” said U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, very early Saturday morning in Valdosta, Georgia.

[U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, Gretchen Quarterman]
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, Gretchen Quarterman

That’s WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman with the Senator.

You can ask the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to reject the five permit applications they got from the miners, or at least to thoroughly examine them, with independent third-party review.
https://wwals.net/?p=55092

The Senator left with contact information for the Charlton County Commission. If you know any of them, you could talk to them, too.

Later that same morning, Continue reading

J.J. Rolle, singer, actor, Judge at Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest –VDT 2021-08-29

Amanda M. Usher, The Valdosta Daily Times, 29 August 2021, Soul Man: Rolle makes his mark singing, acting,

John Jeffery ‘J.J.’ Rolle is a performer and judge at the recent Fourth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. Rolle has been a musician for decades.

VALDOSTA — “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages … put your hands together for Valdosta’s very own, J.J. Rolle,” emcee Wes James called out at the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

[J.J. Rolle: judge and performer; Photo: Angela Duncan]
J.J. Rolle: judge and performer; Photo: Angela Duncan

John Jeffery “J.J.” Rolle, longtime entertainer and one of three judges at the contest held last week, strummed an upbeat tempo to the tune of “Blackwater” by the Doobie Brothers.

Though the guitar was Rolle’s choice of instrument, he doesn’t consider himself a guitarist.

“I play enough to write songs and accompany myself while singing,” he said. “I do consider myself a singer. I guess my voice would be my instrument.”

There’s more about J.J.’s background in the article, singing and acting.

The article continues: Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2021-08-26

Update 2021-09-02: Bad at GA-FL Line: Health Alert, Withlacoochee River 2021-08-31.

In a lull between rains, the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers showed clean for all our WWALS Wednesday and Thursday test sites.

You could also become a WWALS water quality tester. There’s a testing training coming up September 11, 2021.

[Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Green Swim Guide]
Chart, Little, Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers, Green Swim Guide

This is even though Valdosta found results for Wednesday at US 41 too high. We don’t know where that contamination came from. That’s upstream from Sugar Creek, so not from there.

Valdosta also got way too high for Monday at Knights Ferry Boat Ramp. Curiously, Valdosta’s Monday result for Okapilco Creek was within range, so if that contamination came out of Okapilco Creek, it had already washed downstream into the Withlacoochee River. Notice Nankin Boat Ramp not as high but still too high on E. coli for that Monday, as the contamination was reaching it. Continue reading

Clean water amendment worth backing –Citrus County Chronicle 2021-08-24

Yes, Floridians, please sign the petition at FL5.org to get the Right to Clean Water constitutional amendment on the ballot, for our rivers, springs, and drinking water from the Floridian Aquifer.

This editorial is quite surprising from the Citrus County Chronicle, which has been all for the Duke Energy fracked methane power plant in Crystal River and has not opposed Strom Inc.’s Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) proposed facility there. Maybe education and persuasion have some effects.

[Clean water amendment worth backing]
Clean water amendment worth backing


Page A9 – TUESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2021

OPINION

CITRUS COUNTY CHRONICLE

EDITORIAL BOARD

The opinions expressed in Chronicle editorials
are the opinions of the newspaper’s editorial board.


CLEAN WATER A MUST


Clean water amendment worth backing

Clean water is imperative to our ecosystem both in Florida and throughout the world.

Continue reading

Training: Water Quality Testing 2021-09-11

Chemical and Bacterial training by Georgia Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) methods. Yes, you can also use these methods in Florida to report via AAS.

If you’d like to get trained and do testing for WWALS, please fill out this form:
https://forms.gle/DzWvJuXqTQi12N6v7

Yes, training is difficult in this pandemic situation, but Georgia Adopt-A-Stream has worked out methods, mostly online. With last year’s generous grant from Georgia Power WWALS has purchased enough testing kits so that trainees can have one to use during the training.

[Table of testers]
Table of testers
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman 2021-02-13.

In the form, remember to say where you can test. We need testers pretty much everywhere:

  • In Georgia on the Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers, especially upstream in Lanier, Berrien, and Atkinson Counties. Plus on Okapilco and Crooked and Piscola Creeks in Brooks County, on Onemile Branch, Twomile Branch, and Sugar Creek in and near Valdosta. And upstream on the Little River in Brooks, Cook, Colquitt, and Tift Counties.
  • In Florida on the Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Suwannee, and Santa Fe Rivers, and on creeks that run into them, especially in Madison, Hamilton, Suwannee, and Lafayette Counties.
  • We need testers even where we already have testers, because everybody needs time off.

For the testing story so far, and more context, see
https://wwals.net/issues/testing/.

We look forward to you getting trained and joining our testing team!

When: 9 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, September 11, 2021

Where: Zoom then physically distanced practical training in very small groups, for example at Onemile Branch in Drexel Park in Valdosta.

Free: to everyone. But if you want to test for WWALS, you need to become a WWALS member.
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Continue reading

Parts of Alapaha, Withlacoochee Rivers to be Recreational –GA-EPD 2021-08-11

Update 2021-09-01: More Recreational redesignation of waterbodies still possible –GA-EPD 2021-09-01.

GA-EPD picked a subset of the river stretches they previously said they would consider for Recreational designation: in the Georgia Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards: parts of the Alapaha River, and a smaller part of the Withlacoochee River.

There’s an online Update Meeting next month.

[Header, Suwannee River Basin]
Header, Suwannee River Basin

So that’s the Alapaha River from the Willacoochee River to Dampier Branch, and from Cherry Creek to the state line. I guess you can still paddle from Willacoochee Landing @ GA 135 to Berrien Beach Boat Ramp @ GA 168 without getting into any non-Recreational stretches. But Lakeland Boat Ramp and Pafford’s and Burnt Church Landings are right out. But you can paddle from Hotchkiss Road Landing to Naylor Boat Ramp, Mayday Landing, Statenville Boat Ramp, and on to Florida.

Redesignated Recreational is the Withlacoochee River from Tiger Creek (at Spook Bridge, just below US 84) to the state line. So Knights Creek, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps can all be Recreational, even though they’re all downstream of Okapilco Creek and all those cattle in Brooks County, but Langdale Park Boat Ramp and Troupville Boat Ramp are not designated Recreational, despite the Valdosta Mayor’s letter of support.

However, the big win is that anything at all got redesignated. In previous cycles, GA-EPD declined to consider such a thing. And we can reapply next time.

Completely missing from this list are: Continue reading

O’Brien man places in songwriting contest –Lake City Reporter 2021-08-24

Staff Report, Lake City Reporter, August 24, 2021, “O’Brien man places in songwriting contest: Wingate one of nine finalists from across the southeast.” [See also Valdosta Today.]

VALDOSTA — Chosen from a record number of finalists, an O’Brien man was one of three winners named Saturday night at the fourth annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Out of the nine finalists that competed at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts’ Art Park, O’Brien’s KJ Wingate won for the best song from inside the Suwannee River basin. Wingate won a $50 prize from the WWALS Watershed Coalition for his folk/country song, “The Hymn of Convict Spring.”

[Lake City Reporter, KJ Wingate, Rachel Grubb]
Lake City Reporter, KJ Wingate, Rachel Grubb
Finalists that competed in the fourth annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting contest included O’Brien’s KJ Wingate (from left), Katherine Ball, David Rodock, Sweet William Billy Ennis, Jimi Davies and his brother, Kathy Lou Gilman and Rachel Hillman. Not pictured are Brandon Fox and Lake City’s Rachel Grubb, who could not attend. Angela Duncan Courtesy of WWALS.

Other winners Saturday included Continue reading