Clean Rivers 2022-06-02

Update 2022-06-11: Five Rivers Clean 2022-06-09.

Seventh week: all rivers clean! Happy swimming, fishing, and boating in the Little, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers.

For example, tomorrow morning, Florida Campsites to Allen Ramp, Withlacoochee River 2022-06-04.

Of course, there can be undetected local water quality problems (see below). But all the WWALS sites tested Thursday got clean results. While there is a prediction of rain today and tomorrow, if it’s like what we’ve been seeing, it will be light and won’t wash much contamination into the river. No sewage spills have been reported in Georgia or Florida in the past week. So have a good weekend.

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

But earlier contamination was detected in Valdosta results.

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

Valdosta got too much E. coli at GA 133 on the Withlacoochee River for last Friday. Strictly speaking, that 400 cfu/100 mL was still below the 410 alert limit, but I marked it red anyway, because of the way too high 2,600 Fecal coliform result. Plus notice even higher Fecal coliform upstream that day at US 41. And high Fecal coliform at both locations on Wednesday May 25th, as well as at US 41 on Monday, May 23rd.

[Clean Rivers, Charts 2022-06-02]
Clean Rivers, Charts 2022-06-02
For context and the entire WWALS composite spreadsheet of water quality results, rainfall, and sewage spills, see:

Those results are hard to account for by weather. The usual gauges shown in the chart did not report much upstream rain. However, if we look at rain reports for Valdosta through Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), two locations in the northwest of Valdosta reported an inch of rain on Friday, May 27, 2022. The northmost of those is in the Cherry Creek watershed, and the other in the watershed of Stillhouse Branch, which drains through Valdosta Country Club into the Withlacoochee River, downstream of Cherry Creek, but upstream of US 41. So that rain could have washed something down those creeks. What is not clear, since there are no cattle or hog farms inside Valdosta.

As another example of odd localized rain, at my place 14 miles due north of the Lowndes County Courthouse and 15 river miles north of US 41, we got 2.75 inches of rain on Monday, May 30, 2022.

[CoCoRaHS rain over Valdosta]
CoCoRaHS rain over Valdosta

Whatever the contamination was, it apparently got diluted or washed downstream by Wednesday.

And where-ever it rained, it wasn’t enough to raise any river levels much.

I’ve set all the recently-tested sites to green on Swim Guide.

Thanks to Elizabeth Brunner for her three GA 122 sites: Folsom Bridge on the Little River, Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee River, and Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River.

Thanks to Jacob and Michael Bachrach for their three Withlacoochee River sites: Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Nankin Boat Ramp, and State Line Boat Ramp. With no rain, no cattle manure washed down Okapilco Creek into the river.

Thanks to Gus Cleary for Cleary Bluff, downstream of Allen Ramp, near the Withlacoochee River Confluence.

[Map: Clean Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-06-02]
Map: Clean Rivers, Swim Guide 2022-06-02

Pam Thomas, Linda Dicker, and the rest of the TREPO crew report every other week, so not this week, on their three sites: Hodor Park and Point Park on the Ichetucknee River, and TREPO Columbia County Park on the Santa Fe River. Those are all private parks for Three Rivers Property Owners (TREPO) and their guests. They are not yet on Swim Guide, but we will probably add them as testing stabilizes for them. You’d hope the Ichetucknee River, spring-fed as it is, would always be clean, but there are septic tanks next to it, and it’s good to test it and see.

Thanks to Suzy Hall for herding the testing cats.

Thanks to Gretchen Quarterman for training all the testers.

There are more pictures on the WWALS website.

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:

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!