Update 2022-03-26: Bad downstream Withlacoochee River 2022-03-24.
Surprisingly, after the recent rains, the rivers show mostly clear again. Apparently the efforts of the cattle owners in Brooks County, Georgia, to be part of the solution are working.
I would not hesitate to boat, swim, or fish in the Withlacoochee River today. After checking water levels: they may still be high. And the Alapaha and Little Rivers showed even better results. All could change with more rain, but for now it’s a go, so far as we know.
Meanwhile, could people stop stealing our water trail signs? Looks like somebody even stole the signposts at Nankin.
The most recent results we have from Valdosta are from Monday, both upstream and downstream. Their Friday and Monday downstream results for Okapilco Creek @ US 84 confirm what our WWALS results for last Thursday at Knights Ferry on the Withlacoochee indicated: contamination coming down Okapilco Creek from Brooks County. However, that contamination apparently was diluted by high Withlacoochee River levels, and E. coli on the river did not exceed limits for Friday or Monday.
Valdosta did get higher Fecal coliform than E. coli for Friday for all three of Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line, corroborating the high background Fecal coliform seen in the WWALS plates for Thursday. Looks like what the Bachrachs saw for Knights Ferry for Thursday had already washed down to State Line the next day, getting diluted as it went.
Thanks to WWALS tester Elizabeth Brunner for her three GA 122 sites: Little River at Folsom Bridge Landing, Withlacoochee River at Hagan Bridge Landing, and Alapaha River at Lakeland Boat Ramp.
Thanks to WWALS testers Michael and Jacob Bachrach for testing at the three downstream Georgia Withlacoochee sites at Knights Ferry, Nankin, and State Line Boat Ramps. All three of those locations for Thursday showed high background Fecal coliform colonies, although the E. coli counts were within limits.
Really, people, please stop stealing the signs and signposts.
Thanks to WWALS tester Gus Cleary for his Wednesday sample of his site at Cleary Bluff on the Withlacoochee River in Florida, downstream of Allen Ramp.
And thanks to WWALS testing trainer Gretchen Quarterman for delivering supplies to all of the above, and to WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall for herding the testy cats.
Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power for a generous grant for water quality testing equipment and materials.
You or your organization could also donate to the WWALS volunteer water quality testing program.
Or maybe you’d like to become a WWALS water quality tester; please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/DzWvJuXqTQi12N6v7
There are a few more pictures on the WWALS website.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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