Add Santa Fe River to Suwannee Riverkeeper territory 2019-07-17

Back in 2019, after one final calibration with Our Santa Fe River, WWALS asked WATERKEEPR® Alliance to add the Santa Fe River Basin to the territory of Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®. They approved that request on September 26, 2019. Since then, Suwannee Riverkeeper territory has included the entire Suwannee River Basin and Estuary.

[Request letter and expanded territory approved 2019-09-26]
Request letter and expanded territory approved 2019-09-26

Apparently we never published this addition, and lately we’ve needed to refer to it. So here is the request that WKA approved. Plus a current map of the entire Basin and Estuary.

The Request Letter (PDF)

July 17, 2019

Julia Widmann
Gulf and South Atlantic Organizer
Waterkeeper Alliance

Re: Please add Santa Fe River HUC 03110206 to Suwannee Riverkeeper territory

Dear Julia,

When WWALS Watershed Coalition applied in 2016 for the license for Suwannee Riverkeeper, we deliberately excluded the Santa Fe River sub-basin from the territory we requested. We did this because there is an organization in that sub-basin whom we thought might want to become a Waterkeeper. After extensive discussions with three successive presidents of that organization, and several of their board, it is clear they do not intend to do that.

Meanwhile, Suwannee Riverkeeper has already been acting as the Waterkeeper for the Santa Fe River for years, for example in opposing a proposed phosphate mine there,, and now in opposing a titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia that wants to send ore for processing into the Santa Fe Basin in Florida.

For these reasons, the Board of Directors of WWALS Watershed Coalition voted unanimously at its Quarterly Board Meeting on July 14, 2019, to ask Waterkeeper Alliance to add the Santa Fe River watershed, HUC 03110206, to the formal territory of Suwannee Riverkeeper.

I will be happy to answer any questions you or anyone else with Waterkeeper Alliance may have about this request.

For the rivers and the aquifer,
John S. Quarterman,

Appendices: Current territory, requested total territory, and adjoining territories

Requested total Suwannee Riverkeeper Territory

  • HUC 03110203: Withlacoochee River
  • HUC 03110204: Little River
  • HUC 03110202: Alapaha River, including Willacoochee River
  • HUC 03110201: Upper Suwannee River
  • HUC 03110205: Lower Suwannee River
  • Suwannee River Estuary
  • Add HUC 03110206 Santa Fe River (the purple-shaded area to the southeast)

This map also includes all the public boat ramps and landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

[Suwannee River Basin and Estuary]
Suwannee River Basin and Estuary in WWALS Map of the Suwannee River Basin as of 2022-09-11.

Adjoining Waterkeeper Territories:

I have spoken to each of Flint, Altamaha, Satilla, St. Mary’s, and St. John’s Riverkeepers, all of whom tell me they are in favor of this addition of the Santa Fe River sub-basin to Suwannee Riverkeeper territory.

There is no Waterkeeper for the Ochlockonee River to the west of us. Since it goes through Tallahassee, the capital and seventh largest city of Florida, in addition to Thomasville in Georgia, that river would be a great candidate for a new Waterkeeper organization.

Within HUC 0311, and thus within Florida’s Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), there are no Waterkeepers for the Aucilla, Wacissa, Econfina, Fenholloway, or Steinhatchee River to the northwest, nor for the Wacasassa to the southeast. Because they are in SRWMD, and because their Florida counties have joined the Task Force to deal with Valdosta sewage, we deal with those counties frequently.

There is also no Waterkeeper for the Withlacoochee (south) River outside SRWMD to the south, although we have some quite active members from that last watershed.

[Neighboring Waterkeepers]
Neighboring Waterkeepers

So there’s a bit of history.

We also updated the WWALS logo and mission to suit:

[WWALS Logo]

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, founded in June 2012.

WWALS Vision: A healthy watershed with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable water.

WWALS Mission: WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the surface waters and groundwater of the Suwannee River Basin and Estuary, in south Georgia and north Florida, among them the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds, through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities.

Notice the latest revision of the mission emphasizes underground water, including the Floridan Aquifer.

See also the WWALS Frequently Asked Questions for the fifteen or more rivers, and the 35 counties and many cities.

You can help us keep the waters fishable, drinkable, and swimmable in the entire 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin, bigger than six states and with less population than any.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

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