Monthly Archives: May 2022

When are we going to see a real effect on climate change? –Suwannee Riverkeeper to Southern Company 2022-05-25

Apparently I asked some interesting questions to the corporate parent of Georgia Power. I got Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning to admit he had already given a partial answer, even though SO is still reluctant to deploy renewable energy and storage at scale.

Surprisingly, when I asked him afterwards, Fanning said he had never heard of Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson and his work on powering the world on wind, water, solar, and storage power and nothing else. Jacobson’s group has produced plans more than 100 countries and each U.S. state, including Georgia.

Maria Saporta, Saporta Report, May 30, 2022 6:17 pm, Southern Co.’s annual meeting a model for corporate America,

[Tom Fanning responds to John S. Quarterman]
Tom Fanning responds to John S. Quarterman

…About 200 people attended the annual meeting,which lasted two hours and forty-five minutes. After the official part of the meeting was over, there was a question-and-answer period, which Fanning said was his favorite part. He engaged with shareholders — 17 of whom asked questions or made comments, several of them critical of various Southern Co.’s practices — be it unlined coal ash ponds across the system, its investment in the Plant Vogtle nuclear plant or a need to be more aggressive in expanding its renewable energy portfolio.

[John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper]
John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper

“Tom Fanning is really, really good at his job as you have observed — he’s unflappable and always hospitable,” said John Quarterman of Lowndes County (an environmentalist and shareholder) as he addressed the meeting.

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Chainsaw cleanup pictures, Withlacoochee River 2022-05-29

Update 2022-06-01: Chainsaw cleanup again, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-05.

Some chainsawed, others cleaned up, on the chainsaw cleanup at the Withlacoochee River.

We met at the Salty Snapper parking lot, but we did not actually go to Sugar Creek. We headed straight for the biggest Withlacoochee River impediment, the infamous NSRR Deadfall, a stack of deadfalls (downed trees) across the river downstream of the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge.

That took the allotted time of nine to noon. We’ll probably do it again next Sunday; stay tuned.

[Logjam, Sawing, Cleanup, Banners]
Logjam, Sawing, Cleanup, Banners

Thanks to Phil Hubbard for sawing and Jan Krysa for helping in the boat and in the water. Thanks to Elizabeth Brunner and family for cleaning up.

Also, we did not see much trash actually in the big deadfall, presumably because Continue reading

Ideas for short paddles

Update 2022-05-30: Three more short paddle ideas (on the Withlacoochee River and the Alapahoochee River), along with safety information and links to the WWALS water trails with more information.

We often get questions like this: “The wife and I just got our kayaks and we’re looking for some ideas for short trips.”

Here are some suggestions on lakes, swamps, and rivers in the Suwannee River Basin.

Safety first! Always wear your personal flotation device (PFD). You’d be surprised how hard it is to find your PDF after you fall in. And especially if you’re new to paddling, don’t go alone. You may want to join some of the many WWALS outings. See: https://wwals.net/outings/

Lakes:

Easy paddles with no current, no worries about water levels, and no need for a shuttle: put in and take out at the same spot.

But no matter how easy lakes are to paddle, wear your PFD.

Banks Lake Boat Ramp

Banks Lake Boat Ramp. Photo: John S. Quarterman 2022-10-31

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Clean All Rivers 2022-05-26

Update 2022-06-03: Clean Rivers 2022-06-02.

All tested sites Thursday were clean on five rivers: Little, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, Ichetucknee, and Santa Fe Rivers. No sewage spills have been reported in Georgia or Florida in the Suwannee River Basin for the last week. It hasn’t rained much, and no rain is predicted for the weekend.

So happy boating, swimming, and fishing this weekend!

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

The most recent results we have from Valdosta are for Monday upstream and Wednesday of last week downstream. Those were all clean, too. Continue reading

Chainsaw cleanup, Withlacoochee River @ Sugar Creek 2022-05-29

Let’s clear some more of the deadfalls blocking the Withlacoochee River between Langdale Park Boat Ramp and Troupville Boat Ramp. We will probably float around right near Sugar Creek, although if we get everything there, we might paddle down towards the Little River.

This is a cleanup, so there’s plenty for everyone to do. You do not have to use a chainsaw, and we recommend you do not unless you have experience with them. Everyone near a chainsaw please wear safety eyeglasses.

Yes, Valdosta has ordered a trash boom for Sugar Creek, but we do not yet know when it will arrive and get installed. We want to go ahead with the deadfall clearing while volunteers are enthusiastic, so once the trash is more contained there can be more paddling on the Withlacoochee River.

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 9:30 AM, end 12 PM, Sunday, May 29, 2022

Put In: Salty Snapper parking lot, 1405 Gornto Road, Valdosta, GA 31602.

GPS: 30.8625, -83.31875

Bring: Chainsaw or sawzall if you are experienced with using them. Everyone bring the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, snacks, drinking water, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags. If you do not have a boat, there will probably be plenty to pick up along the shore, and we may have extra spots in boats.

Free: This outing is free because it is a cleanup.

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations

Event: facebook

[Movie: Phil Hubbard sawing a log in a kayak, 09:36:09, 30.8632605, -83.3193490 (71M)]
Phil Hubbard sawing a log in a kayak, 2022-05-07 30.8632605, -83.3193490

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Georgia U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff advocates for protection of the Okefenokee Swamp 2022-05-25

Like Sen. Ossoff, you can help stop a strip mine proposed far too near the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St Marys Rivers, and the mine sits on top of the Floridan Aquifer from which we all drink.

Senator Jon Ossoff is advocating for the protection of the Okefenokee swamp, Kyra Purvis, WFXL, Wednesday, May 25th 2022,

[Sen. Ossoff at the Okefenokee Swamp 2021-05-14]
Sen. Ossoff at the Okefenokee Swamp 2021-05-14

Senator Jon Ossoff is advocating for the protection of the Okefenokee swamp and its national wildlife refuge.

The swamp is currently being looked at by Twin Pines Minerals LLC as a place for titanium mining.

Ossoff is asking for a joint effort between both parties and is calling on all environmental agencies to protect one of Georgia’s most precious natural resources.

“Our state may lose the Okefenokee swamp, this precious natural resource, unless EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the Army Corps and Georgia’s environmental protection division take action to stop it,” said Ossoff in his call to action, “Overwhelmingly the people of Georgia and of the local community treasure the Okefenokee swamp. But I’m sounding the alarm because we need an all hands-on deck effort now to bring the pressure to bear necessary to save the Okefenokee swamp from destruction.”

Ossoff says he has Continue reading

A new sponsor benefit at Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2022-08-20

Hahira, Georgia, May 26, 2022 — Sponsors of the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest get an additional perq, as well as entry tickets, and other benefits. Georgia Beer Company has donated a Vibe Yellowfin 120 kayak, worth more than a thousand dollars retail. WWALS draw raffle tickets for that kayak at the Contest, August 20, 2022, at the Turner Center Art Park in Valdosta, GA. Each $100 cash sponsor donation gets one of those raffle tickets.

“Sponsoring the Contest is a great way to support the work of WWALS, from paddle outings, water trails, and water quality testing, to opposing trash, mines, and toll roads.” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman, “But there’s a cap of 30 tickets, so get your sponsorships in early.”

[Banner and raffle kayak]
Banner and raffle kayak

Follow this link for sponsorships and much more about the Contest, including song submission form, contest Rules, and, soon, entry tickets:
wwals.net/pictures/2022-08-20–songwriting

“We already have one $500 sponsor,” said Continue reading

Pictures: Five Holes Cleanup 2018-02-10

That was a fun cleanup, down at Five Holes, a chain of linked swallets on the Suwannee River. We walked up from Suwannee River Campsites.

[Swallets, Suwannee River]
Swallets, Suwannee River

Five Holes is in Suwannee River State Park. Back then we needed permission and got it (thanks, Craig Liney). We hear it’s now public access. Update 2022-05-28: Actually, Five Holes is closed for renovation. However, we have permission from the Park Manager for an outing there in August; stay tuned. Continue reading

Agenda: Rescheduled WWALS Board Meeting 2022-05-22

Here is the agenda for the the rescheduled WWALS Quarterly Board Meeting. The public is invited.

We will discuss the BIG Little River Paddle Race, the numerous other outings and cleanups, the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, water quality testing, opposition to trash, mines, water withdrawals, coal ash, and pellet plants, promotion of solar power, water trails, and Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, and of course budget and fundraising.

That’s for the entire 10,000 square mile Suwannee River Basin, in Georgia and Florida, including many rivers: four (Alapaha, Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers), six (plus New and Little Rivers flowing into the Withlacoochee), ten (plus Willacoochee, Alapahoochee, and Little Alapaha Rivers flowing into the Alapaha, and Dead River flowing out of it), thirteen (Black River, Little River, and Gopher River flowing into the Suwannee River), or fifteen (Ichetucknee and New River flowing into the Santa Fe River). Plus many creeks, lakes, ponds, and swamps, such as Grand Bay, Banks Lake and the Okefenokee Swamp.

We will be meeting online by zoom, so you don’t even have to go anywhere.

When: 10:00 – 11:30 AM, Sunday, May 22, 2022

Where: by zoom Continue reading

QUARTERMAN in VDT: Sewage situation better, trash needs work 2022-05-21

John S. Quarterman, Valdosta Daily Times, May 21, 2022, QUARTERMAN: Sewage situation better, trash needs work,

Thanks to Valdosta for no sewage disasters since December 2019. Some manholes still need fixing, such as at Wainwright Drive on One Mile Branch.

But Valdosta’s mayor, council and staff seem to be staying ahead of the sewage situation, for example by buying 37 emergency generators, one for each lift station.

[John S. Quarterman]
John S. Quarterman

Now Valdosta needs to get a grip on its trash problem.

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