Kyra Purvis, WFXL, November 15, 2021, The city of Valdosta is working together to protect Okefenokee Swamp,
The city of Valdosta is working together to protect the Okefenokee Swamp from a proposed strip mine being placed near the area.
The Okefenokee Swamp is a 438,000 acre wetland that straddles the Georgia-Florida line and is a place [where] many local residents go for nature-filled fun.
The plans for the mine is being [led] by Twin Pines Minerals LLC.
At the Valdosta city council meeting, leaders came to a unanimous agreement and decided that they wanted to oppose the mine.
Valdosta Mayor Scott Matheson recalls just a few of the outdoor activities currently available for residents at the swamp.
He says he has no support for the mining project.
“It’s a natural resource. It’s only 50 miles to our east and it’s been enjoyed by Valdosta residents for hundreds of years. It’s [pristine] and untouched and I think it should remain that way,” said Matheson.
Strip mining is known to destroy landscapes and habitats.
According to the local Suwannee [Riverkeeper], if built, the mine could have negative effects to the marsh and areas around it.
“This mine could [a]ffect the water level of the swamp and could put contaminants into the swamp,” said John Quarterman, Suwannee [Riverkeeper] for WWALS Watershed Coalition.
Quarterman saying the swamp is economically too important to allow to be touched.
“It bring[s] in about 60 million dollars a year [and] it supports about 700 jobs. In terms of national wildlife refugees it has the most economic benefits to both Georgia and Florida,” said Quarterman.
Although the Valdosta council did vote to oppose the mine, they say the work is still not done.
They encourage residents to continue to speak up to protect their unique ecosystem.
WFXL reporter at Troupville Boat Ramp on the Little River just west of Valdosta. Photo: John S. Quarterman
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!