Monthly Archives: January 2022

Another trash boom across Sugar Creek 2022-01-30

If one boom is good, two should be better.

[Booms, Trash, Bridge, Banners]
Booms, Trash, Bridge, Banners

We’re experimenting with what works best.

For why we are doing this, see Continue reading

Books: Suwannee River Basin 2022-01-31

What books do you know about rivers, swamps, creeks, spings, sinks, or ponds in the Suwannee River Basin? Or movies, TV shows, etc.? Send them in and we’ll add them to the list.

Below is a sampler to start.

[Some books]
Some books

Update 2022-07-01: Book: Canoeing and Kayaking Georgia, Third Edition 2022-06-30

[Cover and inside]
Cover and inside

Okefenokee Swamp

There are probably more books about the Okefenokee Swamp than about any of the rivers in the Suwannee River Basin, but let’s start with this one.

Suwannee River: Strange Green Land (The Rivers of America), by Cecile Hulse Matschat

Continue reading

Banks Lake Full Snow Moon Paddle, 2022-02-16

Update 2022-02-18: Pictures.

Leisurely Sunset and Full Moon Paddle on our mini-Okefenokee, Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Maybe it will be warm enough for the bats to be back out.

When: Gather 5:30 PM, launch 6 PM, moonrise 6:28 PM, sunset 6:21 PM, end 8 PM, Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Put In: Banks Lake Boat Ramp, in front of Banks Lake Outdoors, 307 Georgia 122, Lakeland, GA 31635, in Lanier County, on the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT).

GPS: 31.034824, -83.096725

Take Out: Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup. Mosquitoes can be bad at dusk so come prepared.

Safety: Each person in a boat, no matter how young or old, must wear a PFD. You must have a light for your boat or some type of light to have on yourself (glow sticks work well, or head lamp, flashlight, etc.) so other boaters can see you in the dark. It will be totally dark after sunset. A whistle is not required, but it’s a good idea in the dark.

Boats: Bring your own if you have it.
Thanks to Banks Lake Outdoors for free boat rental for these WWALS Full Moon Paddles.
Please ask for boats at least 2 days prior to the event: on the web form on, or on the facebook event, the meetup, or call 850-290-2350.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: facebook, meetup

[Moonrise --Shirley Kokidko]
Moonrise –Shirley Kokidko, 2021-12-18.

Continue reading

Training for Water Quality Testing 2022-02-12

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:

If you’ve already been trained, remember you have to get retrained every year.

Georgia Adopt-A-Stream has worked out methods, mostly online, that work in this pandemic situation. With last year’s second 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

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

When: 9 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, February 12, 2022

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:

Continue reading

Clean Rivers 2022-01-27

Update 2022-02-04: Clean Rivers 2022-02-03.

Good news! All tests pretty clear for the Little, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers for Wednesday and Thursday. So if you want to boat, fish, or swim in that cold snap tomorrow, or Sunday, the water quality is good so far as we know, with little E. coli. No rain is predicted until mid-week, so nothing else should wash into the rivers.

Oh, and Ashburn had another sewage spill on January 16th, but it does not seem to have affected Alapaha River water quality.

[Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide]
Chart, Rivers, Swim Guide

Gus Cleary’s Wednesday test downstream from Allen Ramp at Cleary Bluff was as clean as Valdosta’s upstream tests at US 41, GA 133, and US 84. Thanks to Scott Fowler of Valdosta Utilities for that upstream Wednesday data.

Elizabeth Brunner’s GA 122 tests of Thursday samples at Folsom Bridge on the Little River, Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River, were also all good. Continue reading

Rescheduled: Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2022-02-19

Update 2022-02-15: We’re go for this Saturday, February 19, 2022, for the Third Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle. Saturday is going to be the coolest day of the week, but that’s low 39, high 64, much warmer than last month, and the water temperature at US 84 is currently 51F, much higher than the mid-40s last time. Dress warmly in layers and bring a dry change of clothes in a waterproof bag just in case. And come on down to Troupville Boat Ramp this Saturday!

Valdosta, Georgia, January 26, 2021 — An unusual cold snap is expected this Saturday, too cold for novice paddlers. So we’re rescheduling three weeks later, for Saturday, February 19, 2022. Everything else is the same; only the date has changed.

Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter summed it up, “Safety should be considered above all and hypothermia is a huge issue if someone was to go in the water!”

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman added, “Water temperature was already down to 47 degrees Monday at US 84 on the Withlacoochee River, and air temperatures for this Saturday are predicted to be low of 22 and high of 42. So hypothermia is indeed a risk, however seldom seen in south Georgia. Also not many people would turn out in such cold.”

Valdosta Mayor Scott James said, “So we’re all agreed: Saturday, February 19, 2022. Come as early as 8AM to get on the shuttle!”

[Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout]
Troupville Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee River, WWTP clean outfall, Spook Bridge, Takeout

We hope there will still be plenty of water for this annual eleven-mile river paddle, past the future site of Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, past Valdosta’s clean outfall of its Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, with many creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, turtles, and maybe an alligator, down to Spook Bridge, so scary it has its own movie.

Valdosta Mayor Scott James said, “I am excited to partner once again with WWALS, plus this time with Lowndes County, to show people our fabulous blackwater rivers, Continue reading

Videos: Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Trash, Swamp: Suwannee Riverkeeper on Scott James Radio 2020-01-20 2022-01-20

The Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle has been rescheduled to Saturday, February 19, 2022. Everything else is as Valdosta Mayor Scott James and I discussed on his radio show last Thursday. We’ll be talking about it again this Friday, January 28, 2022, at 8AM, Talk 92.1 FM.

Thanks to The Langdale Company for access to take out at Spook Bridge, and for a mid-point lunch spot. Thanks to Georgia Power for water quality testing grants to WWALS.

Gather 9AM for the Chairman and Mayor’s Paddle, at the rescheduled Saturday, February 19, 2022.

[Mayor and Chairman's Paddle (since rescheduled to February 19, 2022)]
Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle (since rescheduled to February 19, 2022)

We hope everybody’s favorite on-water painter, Julie Bowland, will join us.

WWALS is talking to Valdosta State University Deans and Faculty about Education and research at Troupville River River Camp and River Park. The paddle will go right by there.

On the radio, Scott James and I discussed the trash problem, coming mostly from parking lots with fast food outlets, down Sugar Creek, into the Withlacoochee River.

Arrow the talking puppy helped.

Don’t forget to tell GA-EPD no mine near the Okefenokee Swamp.

WWALS has a paddle on the last stretch of the Alapaha River, US 41 to Suwannee River, Saturday, February 5, 2022.

And a paddle from Langdale Park on the Withlacoochee River, to Sugar Creek, and on to Troupville Boat Ramp, May 7, 2022: the announcement will be up soon.

The Sugar Creek trash problem was described in the 2010 Valdosta Stormwater Master Plan, which said it should be fixed immediately. Continue reading

Lowering the boom at Sugar Creek 2022-01-23

Update 2022-01-31: Another trash boom across Sugar Creek 2022-01-30.

Maybe this will catch some trash before it floats down Sugar Creek to the Withlacoochee River.

[Boom and preparations]
Boom and preparations

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman and WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter brought some 3/4-inch sissel rope and 4-inch flexible drain pipe down to Sugar Creek at the bottom of the Salty Snapper property off Gornto Road, and turned it into a boom across the creek.

For why we did this, see Sugar Creek Trash 2022-01-15. Continue reading

Sullivan Slough and Blue Sink by Amanda Davis 2022-01-18

Thanks, Amanda Davis, for these pictures of Sullivan Slough and Sullivan Blue Sink.

Is it a sink or a spring? Probably a bit of each: a karst window, where the aquifer is exposed. So at high river water levels, the Withlacoochee River probably runs into it. At low river levels, water probably flows into the river.

[Sullivan Blue Sink and Slough, Withlacoochee River]
Sullivan Blue Sink and Slough, Withlacoochee River

Here’s where it ends up. Continue reading

Bad Withlacoochee River water quality 2022-01-20

Update 2022-01-28: Clean Rivers 2022-01-27.

I’d avoid the Withlacoochee River this weekend.

Bad E. coli levels upstream seen by Valdosta earlier in the week were still seen by WWALS upstream and down in Thursday samples. A too-high result at Hagan Bridge is heading downstream through Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia. A too-high result at Knights Ferry is heading downstream to Florida.

The good news is no sewage spills have been reported this week. But it’s been raining yesterday and today, most likely washing more cattle and other manure into the river, down Okapilco Creek and from elsewhere.

If you want to paddle this weekend, I’d recommend the Alapaha River or upstream on the Suwannee River.

[Chart, River, Plates, Swim Guide]
Chart, River, Plates, Swim Guide

Valdosta’s downstream results for Monday and upstream for Wednesday were even worse than what WWALS got for Thursday. We don’t know about upstream Monday because Valdosta took a vacation. We don’t know about downstream Wednesday because Valdosta’s downstream contractor apparently hasn’t phoned home yet. Continue reading