Roads next to Mud Swamp, which drains to Alapahoochee, Alapaha Rivers @ LCC 2021-08-24

The Lowndes County Commission started the process of taking over two flooded private roads, they adopted a fire department millage rate for all real and personal property in the unincorporated parts of the county, and they discussed how that millage was to aid population growth in the unincorporated areas, apparently including building closer to and perhaps in wetlands that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had recently decided were not Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). All these actions at their August 24, 2021, Regular Session, at least taken together, would seem to support sprawl.

[Mud Swamp Road and Swamp Edge Drive adopted by Lowndes County, GA]
Mud Swamp Road and Swamp Edge Drive adopted by Lowndes County, GA, in the lower left corner of this map, between two arms of Mud Swamp Creek, in the WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

Better would be to build only close in to existing services, instead of sprawling farther out, where no taxes will ever pay enough for sending school buses, Sheriff, and Fire. See this report the County commissioned: The Local Government Fiscal Impacts of Land Use in Lowndes County: Revenue and Expenditure Streams by Land Use Category, Jeffrey H. Dorfman, Ph.D., Dorfman Consulting, December 2007. As Dr. Dorfman summarized in a different presentation,

Local governments must ensure balanced growth, as
sprawling residential growth is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin*
* Or at least big tax increases.

sprawl Trees and crops don’t call the Sheriff or the Fire Department much and don’t need school buses, but subdivisions do, so forestry and agriculture are far more cost-effective in tax collection vs. services.

The recently-flooded private dirt roads the county has started the process to adopt, Mud Swamp Road and Swamp Edge Drive, are off I-75 Exit 11, west of Old Clyattville Road, right on Indian Ford Road, left on Mud Swamp Road.

[Valdosta and Mud Swamp]
Valdosta and Mud Swamp

USGS claims I-75 north of Exit 11 past Mud Swamp is the divide between the Withlacoochee and Alapaha River watersheds, which would put Mud Swamp and its tributaries in the Withlacoochee River watershed. But as near as I can tell, that part of Mud Swamp drains east under I-75, on past Valdosta Regional Airport, eventually joined by Knights Creek from down the east side of Valdosta.

Eventually, Mud Swamp Creek joins Grand Bay Creek and forms the Alapahoochee River, which flows into Florida, where it joins the Alapaha River.

[Mud Swamp into Alapahoochee and Alapaha Rivers]
Mud Swamp into Alapahoochee and Alapaha Rivers

Whichever river basin, let’s hope Lowndes County adoptiong Mud Swamp Road and Swamp Edge Drive does not result in those roads being paved and subdivisions sprouting up on them. We have quite enough sprawl already, with impervious roads and parking lots, and trash and other contaminants washing into our waterways.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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